Downtown Hotel Project Officially Underway

Downtown Hotel Project Officially Underway
Rendering by Fisher Architecture

OCEAN CITY — Ground has been broken for a vast hotel and restaurant complex on the site of the Cropper concrete plant just north of the Route 50 Bridge in downtown Ocean City.

Last Thursday, Choice Hotels International, along with its partners the PINNacle Hospitality Group and the Wankawala Organization, broke ground on the Cambria Hotel Ocean City, a multi-use hotel and restaurant complex by the partner’s own admission will “forever change the skyline of Ocean City.” The Cambria Hotel and associated amenities are being built on a roughly four-acre tract formerly home to the concrete plant.

The Cambria Hotel project was made possible after careful vetting by the Ocean City Planning Commission and ultimately the Mayor and Council over zoning and height issues for the better part of a year in 2016 and 2017. The zoning change came with conditions, including a maximum height for the hotel at eight-and-a-half stories, a total lot coverage not to exceed 50 percent, a 10-foot easement along the waterfront for a potential bayside boardwalk, wider sidewalks, reduced impacts on neighboring residential areas and other factors.

As a result, the Cambria Hotel will be an eight-and-a-half story structure along the bayfront at 1st Street. It will feature 133 spacious guest rooms with private balconies, an indoor-outdoor infinity pool, poolside cabanas, a tiki bar, outdoor fire pits and local art collections. The facility will also include 2,200 square feet of multi-function meeting space, a business center and rooftop restaurant and bar with panoramic views of the ocean, bay and Assateague Island.

The project was made possible through a partnership with Choice Hotels, PINNacle Hospitality and the Wankawala Organization.

“We’re excited to once again have the opportunity to work with Choice Hotels on this iconic project that will forever change the skyline of Ocean City,” said Mihir Wankawala, managing director of the Wankawala Organization. “We are very excited to see this dream come to fruition to open Cambria Hotel Ocean City and offer guests an unrivaled experience.”

PINNacle Hospitality owns, operates and develops hotels in the coastal regions of Maryland, Virginia and Delaware. PINNacle Hospitality President and CEO Tauhid Islam also praised the partnership that will make the Cambria Hotel a reality.

“Ocean City is one of the most popular beach destinations on the east coast and the Cambria Hotel Ocean City will offer guests tremendous upscale amenities and prime location to the many attractions,” he said. “We are elated to work with Choice Hotels and the Wankawala Organization on this project and be a key part of the area’s growth.”

The project was not without its detractors throughout the planning approval process. For example, there were concerns raised by some about the visual impact of an eight-plus story hotel along the bayfront at such an important entry point for Ocean City. Concerns were also raised about the height of the new hotel obscuring the view from the Route 50 bridge of the town’s beach ball-design water tower.

Residents in the neighborhoods around the old concrete plant site voiced concern about the impact on traffic and parking, and perhaps more importantly, the character of one of the oldest residential areas in Ocean City. However, the project developers were able to address most of the concerns and made some concessions along the way, paving the way for the construction of the vast hotel and restaurant complex.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

Alternative Text

Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.