Iconic Moorlyn Theatre on Ocean City Boardwalk Sells

Iconic Moorlyn Theatre on Ocean City Boardwalk Sells

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The Moorlyn Theatre, vacant for years, no longer has the notable marquee sign.

By MADDY VITALE

The landmark Moorlyn Theatre at Moorlyn Terrace and the Boardwalk has sat vacant for about six years. Long ago, families watched movies there in the building that dates to the turn of the 20th century.

The iconic Moorlyn Theatre sign was stripped from the building in recent months. All that is left of a drab exterior is a sign and window for the box office and a marquee listing the movies showing.

And for the second time since 2019, someone has purchased the prime piece of real estate smack in the center of what is considered one of the busiest areas — if not the busiest — of the Boardwalk because of its proximity to the Music Pier.

The seller, Sey West Realty Partners LLC of Ocean City, purchased the property in 2019 for $800,000 from the Ocean City Tabernacle and sold it this week. The buyer is Charlie Edgewater Park LLC for $999,999. The 2022 listing price was near $1.3 million by Goldcoast Sotheby’s International Realty, according to real estate officials.

The Moorlyn Theatre marquee overlooks the Boardwalk in a vintage postcard.

Sam Balducci, who heads Charlie Edgewater Park LLC, owns gyms in South Jersey and Philadelphia. He could not be reached for comment about his plans for the Moorlyn Theatre building.

According to a description on a commercial real estate site, “Moorlyn Theatre started its operations in 1901 and was later replaced as a 760-seat theatre. As one of the most iconic businesses in Ocean City … this property is being sold as is.”

The Moorlyn is one of the oldest businesses in Ocean City and was one of the first attractions on the Boardwalk. It began operations in 1901 as Moore’s Bowling Casino, housing a bowling alley and later a roller-skating rink, according to the Ocean City Historical Society.

In 1921, a 200-seat theater replaced the roller rink. The following year the property was renamed the Moorlyn Theatre and was showing movies ever since aside from interruptions with ownership changes.

The vacant Box Office.

Pete Madden, broker-owner of Goldcoast Sotheby’s International Realty at 200 34th Street in Ocean City, who is also City Council president, said that he hopes the area will be improved.

“Any time you take a vacant building and someone purchases it with the intent to improve it, it is a good thing for the community, for the city and everyone,” Madden said.

When the Tabernacle owned it, the plan was to use the building to recapture the days when the ministry had a presence on the Boardwalk.

The Tabernacle had renamed the Moorlyn Theatre as the Moorlyn Family Theatre and developed a programming mix of live stage performances, first-run films and classic movies from the theatre’s glory days. Concerts, stage plays, magic and comedy shows were among the live entertainment.

After those attempts failed, they felt it was time to sell the theatre and waited for the right buyer, a Tabernacle trustee said in the 2019 article with OCNJDaily.com.

The Tabernacle, which had owned the iconic property since 2012, put it up for sale in March 2018 for an asking price of $1.1 million.

The Moorlyn marquee as it appeared in March 2018. (Photo credit Pinterest)