JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY -

Bob Beck owns the Marina Cafe near the Buddy Phillips Bridge in Onslow County.

"I am the only restaurant on the water," Beck said. "When I stand out back, on the deck, you can hardly tell you're in Jacksonville."

His restaurant used to not be the only one along the waterfront. You could find some of the best seafood in Jacksonville at the Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant next door -- until it shut down after the owner passed away.

"About nine years ago, I was supposed to take it over and continue to run it, but we never finalized the deal because he died fairly suddenly," Beck said. "It's unfortunate. It would still be running right now."

The building -- run down, rusted and in need of repair -- is too far gone.

City Manager Richard Woodruff says the property owners have agreed to tear it down.

"The property though is pretty unique for Jacksonville," Woodruff said. "It is one of the few large commercial properties that has waterfront, and because of that, I think it will be redeveloped in the next three to five years."

Beck hopes something bigger will come along that could cause some changes for his business -- but for the better.

"A hotel here would be great," Beck said. "We could have two restaurants -- a casual cafe style Marina Cafe, and we could have a little more upscale restaurant called the Fisherman's Wharf. I think that would be a great concept."

Woodruff hopes crews will knock down the building in the next couple of months -- making the gateway to Jacksonville a little more inviting.