By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Two old motels and an apartment building would be demolished and replaced with a luxury hotel in a redevelopment plan for prime property in the heart of downtown Ocean City.
The 35-unit hotel is proposed at 801 Atlantic Avenue in place of the existing Pavilion Motor Lodge, Fountain View Motel and Moorlyn Apartments on a site just one block from the Boardwalk and beach.
The property is on the market for $9.5 million, according to the listing on the commercial real estate website loopnet.com.
“This new construction property will be cutting-edge, upscale, modern, sophisticated, and a true ‘one-of-a-kind!’ It is centrally located in the very heart of Ocean City. Park your car and walk to everything,” the listing says in the sales pitch.
An architectural rendering included with the listing depicts a four-story hotel accented by wrap-around balconies, decorative arches, expansive windows and other design touches.
“It is an absolutely stunning building,” said real estate agent Kristina Doliszny, whose Ocean City Real Estate Group is handling the sale.
The hotel project has already received preliminary approval from the Ocean City Planning Board. The planning board still must grant final approval. The project also has been granted a Coastal Area Facility Review Act permit, a key construction approval from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Doliszny said the hope is to begin construction in four to six months following final site plan approval by the Planning Board. Construction would take about 16 to 18 months, which puts the timetable for a grand opening in 2022 or 2023.
“The interest has been tremendous,” Doliszny said.
The Pavilion motel and apartment building, meanwhile, are currently open for business. They are currently scheduled to remain open to host vacationing guests during the 2020 season and perhaps in 2021, according to Doliszny.
The property owner is Allen Dugan and his family. Dugan bought the motels and apartment building in 2017 from the former longtime owners, the Capizzi family, Doliszny said.
Dugan and his wife, Melinda, have two children and have invested in Ocean City together with Allen’s in-laws.
“Truly a real family investing in America’s Greatest Family Resort,” Doliszny said, referring to Ocean City’s tourism slogan.
Dugan is considering the option of selling the property outright or recruiting an investment partner to help him develop the hotel, Doliszny said.
“The main objective is to find an investment partner,” she said.
Doliszny explained that a luxury hotel would meet the growing demand in the Ocean City vacation market for larger, high-end accommodations.
“They just don’t want to be in small hotel rooms,” she said of the new generation of vacationers.
The project was inspired in large part by the “luxury hotel use model” by developer Eustace Mita’s upscale Icona-brand hotel properties in Avalon, Diamond Beach and Cape May, Doliszny pointed out.
When combined, the Pavilion Motor Lodge, Fountain View Motel and Moorlyn Apartments create a one-acre footprint for development at Eighth Street and Atlantic Avenue.
The overall density of the existing buildings consists of a total of 85 units with parking. The new hotel calls for 35 units and more than 70 parking spots. The 70 spots would provide more parking than what is required under the city’s building code, Doliszny pointed out.
The hotel units would each feature three bedrooms and three bathrooms. A “lock-out” feature would allow more privacy for people staying in each unit.
“So, for example, if a family of four is traveling with their grandparents, the grandparents can have their own private king suite and the rest of the family occupies the rest of the suite,” Doliszny said.
Hotel amenities would include a rooftop infinity pool and 4,000 square feet of lounge or banquet space that could also serve as a clubhouse. There would also be a combination gym, yoga and wellness facility and a sophisticated European-style café.
“This new unique luxury hospitality real estate investment product is designed to cater to owners and family vacationers of the most discriminating taste, ones who demand the comfort and convenience of 21st century living amenities married with sophisticated high quality beach & vacation living worthy of aspiration,” the listing says.
The listing also says that the hotel would occupy a landmark location at the Jersey Shore and “is destined to instantly become the #1 place to own, vacation, escape to, relax and play in Ocean City N.J.”