OCEAN CITY – The Riviera Motel on the ocean block of 25th Street in downtown Ocean City will be demolished to make way for an addition to the Crystal Beach Hotel.
On Tuesday, Michael James of the Carousel Group, which owns the Crystal Beach Motel, and Keith Fisher of Fisher Architecture came before the Planning and Zoning Commission to request approval of a site plan for proposed redevelopment of a 63-unit hotel known as Crystal Beach located on the east side of Baltimore Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets locally known as 2510 Baltimore Avenue. The applicant is Salvatore Fidanza of Atlantic Group & Associates, Inc.
The existing 79-unit Crystal Beach Hotel is located on 25th Street and the Boardwalk and is connected to its parking garage that sits west of the hotel on the corner of 25th Street and Baltimore Avenue. The Riviera Motel that was built in 1966 is located north of the parking garage on the corner of 26th Street and Baltimore Avenue.
The new four-story building facing Baltimore Avenue will provide parking underneath as the outdoor pool and deck is located on the second floor. The aesthetics of the building will be in keeping with the original Crystal Beach Hotel and its light yellow and blue color scheme.
“This is currently the Riviera Hotel, which is owned by the same person as Crystal Beach, but it is a new phase in their operation. They have 63 units, and they are putting back 63 units,” Planning and Community Development Assistant Director Blaine Smith said. “It sits back from Baltimore Ave. in part … and the upper floors are featured as they do have an ocean view over the other properties it backs up too. It has good features as you look at the aesthetic value. Fifteenth Street to 33rd Street, especially on the east side of Baltimore Avenue, we refer to as ‘hotel row’ … so it is in keeping with the neighborhood. It is good when we see redevelopment and new facilities.”
Smith furthered what makes this project unique is all properties are owned by the same property owner, but the different buildings will remain under separate corporations, due to legal reasons, such as insurance and mortgage purposes.
“They went to the Board of Zoning Appeals asking for zero setback between the two building, the existing Crystal Beach Hotel and parking garage, so the Riviera would retain its separate form of ownership but it will be a unified project,” Smith said. “In fact, when you look at the lobby and its connection, it will function very much together operationally … The board did grant the setback.”
With very little discussion, Commission member Lauren Taylor made a motion to approve the site plan as presented. The commission voted 4-0 to approve with member Chris Shanahan and Joel Brous absent.
“It will upgrade that activity, and make it more modern,” Taylor said.
In March, it was announced the Carousel Group has added a fifth hotel to its portfolio, the Crystal Beach Hotel, owned by El Capitan, LLC. The addition of the hotel brings the company’s management portfolio in Ocean City to 782 units, including rooms and condominiums. The addition to the Crystal Beach Hotel will add another 63 units to the Carousel Groups grand total.