Mixed-Use Project To Replace Former Fast-Food Chain

OCEAN CITY — A long-vacant fast-food restaurant site in north Ocean City could be getting a new lease on life after resort planners on Tuesday approved a different, albeit substantially larger, use for the property.

The Ocean City Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday granted site plan approval to a proposed mixed-use commercial project on the site of the old Burger King in the Food Lion shopping center parking lot between Newport Bay Drive and 120th Street. The former 4,000-square-foot building was demolished last month. It will be replaced with a mixed-used project of over 12,000 square feet.

Planning and Community Development Assistant Director Blaine Smith laid out the proposed plan for the commission on Tuesday. Smith said although the proposed project would roughly triple the existing space, it would adhere to the same essential footprint for the most part and would not impact existing traffic or parking patterns. Smith said plans called for as many as three tenants in the new space, and although the tenants have not yet been inked, he said a food-service operation was not part of the plan.

“The site was home to a 4,000-square-foot Burger King, but the Burger King had a much larger demand in terms of parking and traffic compared to what is envisioned here,” he said. “This will actually have less traffic impact on the area. It’s not intended for a restaurant, but rather maybe three tenants in a retail space.”

The commission questioned whether the parking area design for the proposed mixed-use building would impact other existing businesses on the site. The larger property is currently home to the Food Lion shopping center with the grocery store as its anchor along with other retail and food service operations. In addition, the site neighbors an existing Dunkin Donuts and there is also a convenience store in close proximity. In a separate area of the vast commercial property is another mixed-use building that houses, among other things, medical offices.

Smith explained the shopping center has traditionally had sufficient parking to support all uses on the site and the proposed mixed-use building would likely lessen the impact compared to the former Burger King. He also said the proposed site plan represents an upgrade in terms of landscaping, stormwater management and overall aesthetics.

“The elevation is in keeping with the existing aesthetics of the shopping center,” he said. “It’s a well thought out project.”