WOC Shopping Center Eyes Expansion

SNOW HILL – The Seaside Village shopping center in West Ocean City will gain a second building to join the Applebee’s restaurant currently on site, but no businesses have definitely committed to moving in there.

 “We don’t have any hard commitments from anyone,” said developer Todd Burbage of Blue Water Development Corp.

There has been some interest in the building from national chains, including a national retailer that has signed a notice of intent, but has not committed to leasing space.

“We’ve actually had a tremendous amount of interest,” Burbage said. “We were surprised by the amount of demand.”

The company has branched out into commercial rental properties from residential subdivisions in recent years, Burbage said.

While the site plan for the Seaside Village shopping center was approved several years ago, the approval’s conditions called for the Worcester County Planning Commission’s green light on renderings of future buildings.

“Applebee’s was somewhat contentious,” Planning Commission Vice Chair Brooke Clayville reminded his colleagues at last Thursday’s meeting.

Burbage said the design of the new building will be in keeping with the one housing Applebee’s.

“We tried to use the same materials as on Applebee’s, the same coastal flair,” said Burbage.

The new building on the pad site will be a single story, compared to the story and a half of the neighboring chain restaurant, and offer five rental spaces.

“It’ll give it some variation and have a nice aesthetic look,” said Burbage.

Worcester County Zoning Administrator Kelly Henry asked Burbage to consider making the unadorned rear wall of the building more attractive. A neighboring upscale townhouse development borders the commercial center.

“There’s always an elevation that’s not going to be as pretty as another elevation,” said Burbage.

Planning Commission member Jeannie Lynch asked Burbage to take some action on the rear wall.

“I think that this wall should be broken up, the scale and the mass,” Lynch said.

“For you, Mrs. Lynch, we’ll do it,” Burbage said.

The rear wall should be consistent with the west side elevation, Lynch felt.

“That doesn’t mean three windows. That means the ratio should be the same,” Lynch said. Otherwise, she said, the building “looks reasonably consistent with Applebee’s.”

The commission voted unanimously to approve the rendering.