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Monday, July 15, 2024


Attempt Made to Save Ocean View Motel Lobby From Wrecking Ball


By Herald Staff

WILDWOOD CREST – Local organizations are teaming up to try to save an old motel lobby, which they say has historic value to the island, after the property was recently purchased by a developer.
The Ocean View Motel, in the 7200 block of Ocean Avenue, will be demolished and condos will be built in its place, if the town’s zoning board approves the submitted application, according to a joint release from Wildwood Historical Society, The Doo Wop Preservation League and Wildwood Video Archive.
The three organizations plan to present a counter proposal to the zoning board, which would have the condo units moved to an adjacent property under the same ownership and repurpose the lobby as an office, conference rooms, a spa or other possibilities.
“Our proposal will still allow the city to have their new ratables, the developer will still have the same amount of apartments and the people will still have this historic building,” the groups said in the release.
The motel, originally named The Admiral, was built in 1963 by Lou Morey and featured many mid-century doo-wop architecture elements, most prominently its lobby. The “blast off” roof was borrowed heavily from futuristic airport terminal designs, popular at the time, the release said.
Wildwood Crest has the largest collection of mid-century motels on the East Coast, but from 2004-2020, the island had lost over 90 of its mid-century motels, according to the groups working to preserve it. Local preservation groups would attempt to secure funding to work on the building, the release stated.
“Sure, the motel isn’t in great condition today, but it can fairly easily be renovated into a showplace that keeps the original spirit alive,” Jackson Betz, Wildwood Historical Society, stated.
The zoning board will discuss the developer’s application and hear the groups’ proposal Feb. 15 at 5 p.m., according to the release.
“As a whole, we need to re-evaluate the modern development of Wildwood, destroying what put the island on the map, and erasing its rich history,” Ryan Henry, Wildwood Historical Society, said. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.”

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