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Monday, May 20, 2024


Is Development in the Cards For Gorilla George’s old Haunts?

By C.M. Mattessich

Mike rosen Architects Renderings
RIO GRANDE – With major developers locking up deals for new housing developments throughout the Rio Grande area, eyes have turned to a remaining parcel, a sentimental favorite known best for its now-defunct amusement part, go-cart raceway and looming mascot known as George the Gorilla.
Located on the north side of Route 47 just before the Wildwood entrance, the 48acre tract was purchased for $2.7 million in September 2003 by D’Angelo Investment Group, LLC of Warrington, Pa., from locals Sam and Doris Cardile and their family-held corporations.
County records indicate that in April 2005, a “deposit mortgage” was filed, securing the application or return of a deposit paid to D’Angelo by Pulte Homes of New Jersey, LP.  D’Angelo entered into an agreement of sale with Pulte in November 2004 (modified in March 2005), but a September 2005 modification to the deposit mortgage suggests that the deal was never consummated.
Asked about recent local buzz that his firm may have played a hand in conceptual work for the site, architect Mike Rosen of Mike Rosen Architects, P.C., declined comment, stating that he wanted to fully defer to the project’s owner.
Rosen, who spoke with the Herald from his firm’s Bala Cynwd office, did state his understanding that plans were still “extremely conceptual.”
Plans by Rosen’s firm (pictured at right) called for 78 town-homes and 180 apartments, with a private marina framed by a lighthouse and a restaurant, a nature trail, a pool and clubhouse, and a 30,000 square foot commercial area along Route 47.
Calls to D’Angelo were not returned by pres-stime.
For now, the site sits vacant, except for the hollow concrete mounds of a former miniature golf course casting shadows on encroaching weeds and fragmites.  George the Gorilla, whose chest once bore two water slides through which visiting children happily emerged, was carted away long ago.

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