Restaurant Project Eyes Downtown Site

Restaurant Project Eyes Downtown Site

OCEAN CITY – A large project received approval this week to fill a long-vacant property in downtown Ocean City with a request to improve traffic circulation.
Buccaneer’s Caye at Shipwreck Cove was proposed on Tuesday evening before the Planning and Zoning Commission as a 10,893-square-foot restaurant and tiki bar with two on-site employee housing units. The project will be located between Sunset Park and the Oceanic Fishing Pier.
It is a triangular piece of property that is currently vacant. However, the speed boat, Sea Rocket, operates out of this point and currently uses the property for patron parking and storage. The intention is once the new building goes up an agreement will be made where the Sea Rocket will continue to operate out of the location.
At one time, Holt’s Landing restaurant stood on the property and there have been several projects proposed to be developed at the location but nothing ever came out of them.
As proposed, the project is a three-story building with an enclosed restaurant on the first floor, an open tiki bar and assistant manager quarters on the second floor, and manager quarters on the third floor.
The building will be placed on the back of the property. The parking lot would be in front of the building meeting the street front. The proposed site plan included only one exit/entrance point for traffic and parking was compliant with 63 parking spaces.
The commission was concerned over the project only having one exit/entrance point. Members felt it would create havoc with cars coming in and out of the property into an already heavy traffic area downtown.
“This place is going to create tax dollars and jobs and we have been waiting for a project like this on that property for a long, long time,” Commission member Peck Miller said. “What we don’t want to do is approve a project that is going to be there for at least the next 50 years that will create an even worse traffic problem then we already have downtown.”
The commission voted unanimously to grant preliminary approval of the site plan based on the conditions it is altered to include a second exit/entrance point.
On Thursday, Keith Iott, president of Iott Architecture & Engineering, Inc., said the site plan will be returning to the commission on Oct. 15 with an alternative site plan that has two access points. Iott said the building may change in response to the conditions of approval and a three-story building may not be likely.
As part of the altered site plan, a phased building plan will be introduced to the commission as well. The project may only have the first floor completed by this summer but that decision has not yet been made, Iott said.