VIRGINIA BEACH -- The city of Virginia Beach celebrated the permanent conservation of Pleasure House Point Friday.
It's the largest undeveloped waterfront property on the Lynnhaven River, and until recently, private owners had it slated for a 1,100 home development.
"There's plenty of space in other areas for commercial development. To keep a pristine area like this is most essential," said Virginia Beach resident Durk Rigney.
Saving the quiet peninsula started with an outcry from local residents that eventually reached city officials, the Trust for Public Land and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Mayor Will Sessoms told 13News getting the land back last summer was critical for the city.
"This has been going on for years and years," Sessoms said. "To finally bring it to a conclusion, a successful conclusion, is a really great day for the city of Virginia Beach."
Environmental experts say development on the beach and marsh would have led to a serious stormwater pollution problem.
The eventual goal is to build a cutting-edge "green" facility on the land.
The facility would act as a research center, where environmentalists and students could examine the challenges that face the Chesapeake Bay.