By Maddy Vitale
The Forum motel, a block from the beach at Eighth Street and Atlantic Avenue has been sold to two brothers who own a dozen motels in the area from Atlantic City to Ocean City. The new owners plan to renovate the rooms and fix up the outside.
“As a family-owned hotel company, we admired how the former owners ran the resort and treated their guests,” said co-owner Raj Khatiwala, who spoke to OCNJDaily.com about the sale.
His brother, Yogi Khatiwala, is the other owner.
The brothers, who grew up in Ventnor and went to Atlantic City High School, and their family owns motels in the Ocean City and Atlantic City markets, Raj Khatiwala said.
The Forum motel, which was owned by the Morrison family, was built around the 1950s. It boasts 60 rooms and a heated pool.
It is one of just a few left in the resort. The Impala, another motel in town, was purchased by developers Chris Glancey and Bob Morris last year. They are planning to build a new boutique-hotel across the street from The Impala, which is at the corner of Ocean Avenue and 10th Street. Other similar properties are being converted into multi-unit housing.
Raj Khatiwala said the brothers have no plans to demolish the motel or use the land for anything other than what it has been used for successfully for decades.
“We have no plans to knock this down,” he said. “A lot of these hotels have so much history. The people who come back every year are generational. We look forward to having the same guests year after year.”
Khatiwala said reservations can be made at the website starting April 1. The Forum will open May 1, way ahead of Memorial Day, the official start to the summer season.
Rich Baehrle, a commercial real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox and Roach Realtors in Northfield, handled the sale.
“The property was on the market for over a year,” he noted. “It was under agreement and the deal fell through.”
When the brothers came along it was a perfect fit, Baehrle said.
“I’m proud to be an agent to such a wonderful family who has been in the hotel business all their life,” he said. “They will take the tradition of The Forum and expand it in the future with their own thoughts and ideas and renovations.”
The Khatiwalas purchased the property on March 1 for an undisclosed price.
The main renovation plan deals more with cosmetic improvements to the rooms and some upgrades.
“We will continue to operate The Forum in a similar-fashion, but also plan to make upgrades to certain areas to make the customer experience more enjoyable,” Khatiwala noted. “We are excited to be a part of the Forum legacy and we want to make the resort even more memorable for our guests.”
The outside of The Forum, comprised of a concrete and brick façade with a mural on the side of the building and a vintage-looking sign that reads, The Forum, will stay the same, at least for the near future, Khatiwala said.
The staff is also going to stay the same.
“We are keeping all of the same employees. There are about 15,” Khatiwala said. “We may hire some more people. A lot of the staff have been here for many years. Some have worked there for 20 years.”
He explained what attracted the brothers to the property.
“What drew us to the property was its presence in Ocean City,” Khatiwala explained. “It has a great curb appeal. We were really excited about it and the ownership of it by a family who built it. It is pretty cool to be a part of that.”
For more information visit The Forum website www.theforumocnj.com