Former Concrete Plant Site Set For Auction

OCEAN CITY — The George B. Cropper Concrete Company property in Ocean City goes up for auction later this month, adding a new chapter to the historic site along the bay at North 1st Street responsible for producing much of the building material for the resort’s decades-long development and redevelopment.

The iconic plant, clearly visible to residents and tourists entering the resort along the Route 50 bridge for decades, will be put up for bid by Atlantic Auctions on April 29. The old plant has not been functional for a number of years and has gone through an extensive approval process for a mixed use townhouse and condominium project.

The public auction on April 29, authorized by the estate of George B. Cropper, will likely write a new chapter in the history of the prime 3.8-acre site. Atlantic Auctions Vice President and General Manager Bill Hudson said this week the potential sale of the property has already generated considerable buzz from potential buyers.

“We have had a large number of inquiries from interested parties from a multi-state area,” he said. “Based on the uniqueness of this highly visible waterfront site and the early responses, we expect that the auction will attract many potential bidders.”

Hudson said based on his company’s recent success with auctions in the resort area, despite the sagging economy and real estate market, he expects the potential sale of the Cropper Concrete property to attract many potential suitors.

“Atlantic has conducted quite a few successful auction sales recently in Ocean City and the surrounding area,” he said. “With its prime location, the North 1st Street property offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity for many uses including redevelopment possibilities for qualified buyers.”

While there are essentially no limitations on the future of the property, given its broad zoning, the Cropper Concrete site has been approved for the development of 54 townhouses and 40 condominiums and those approvals are current. Hudson said the site plan approvals for the property have been extended to November 2012 and the company has a letter from the Ocean City Planning and Zoning Commission confirming the extension. However, the property’s potential is clearly not limited to the parameters of the approved site plans and the sky is practically the limit for its future development.

“That said, the current M/DMX zoning, as we understand, combined with the unique waterfront site location, provides a buyer with many opportunities,” said Hudson. “We have been told the property is the only one in Ocean City that a special industrial zoning, which reinforces the unique nature of this valuable property.”

According to Hudson, potential bidders must register prior to the actual auction on April 29 and post the required deposit or an approved bank letter with Atlantic Auctions. However, it remains uncertain just how high the bidding will go.

“As for what the property will bring at auction, I have my opinion as to what the property is worth, but we won’t know what the market will produce until the bidders at auction compete and the auction ends,” Hudson said. “The seller reserves the right to accept or reject the high bid on the day of the auction sale, and there is a process which has been established for gaining the appropriate approvals involved.”