OCEAN CITY — Some demolition has begun on the long dormant Ocean Plaza Mall at 94th Street, but the work should not be mistaken as a sign a major redevelopment is near.
At the close of Tuesday’s meeting, Planning Commissioner Peck Miller told his colleagues the property manager for the old 94th Street Plaza mall had acquired a demolition permit and would soon begin tearing down the vast commercial complex, which has been a bit of an eyesore for years. The old Ocean Plaza Mall was once a vibrant part of the uptown Ocean City commercial scene, but it has been long dormant apart from its two anchor stores and the businesses on the out parcels along the highway. Rose’s department store has been an anchor of the old mall at 94th Street for decades.
The Acme supermarket is also a significant anchor, having replaced the Super Fresh grocery store that existed on the site for many years. On Tuesday, Miller told his colleagues property manager Continental Realty of Baltimore will begin tearing down much of what used to be the interior section of the shopping plaza.
“They’re going to keep Rose’s and Acme and the out parcels,” he said. “Primarily, they’re doing it to keep up with the health and safety and those things. They’re tearing all of that down, cleaning it up and making it a safe property again. It will look a whole lot better.”
On Wednesday, Continental Realty Corporation Senior Vice President David Donato said while the demolition of the old indoor sections of the mall are getting underway, the project does not mean there is a new plan for the site in the works.
“We would love to redevelop this site, but there are some challenges right now,” he said. “This really is it for right now. This demolition work is not a signal that something new is imminent.”
By midweek, initial staging of the demolition of the old Ocean Plaza Mall site was already evident with some fencing and signage in place. Donato said the entire process could take weeks or even months, but the site should be cleaned up before summer.
“Some things are already happening inside,” he said. “We’re hoping to complete the demolition by the start of the summer season. All of the existing businesses including Rose’s, Acme and the businesses on the out parcels will remain open.”
Donato said the old mall site on 94th Street remains attractive for future developers with the right project.
“It’s a very strong location,” he said. “It’s one of the largest commercially-zoned properties on the island.”