OCEAN CITY – Plans for a Margaritaville Hotel and Resort on the Boardwalk are once again moving forward.
After putting the project on hold in early December, developers advised Ocean City officials they’re now ready to move forward and have made a few improvements to the proposal. They’re eager to meet with city staff to discuss next steps.
“On behalf of my client, NOSC, LLC, I would like to withdraw my request that the Planned Overlay District application be placed on hold,” attorney Hugh Cropper wrote to resort officials Jan. 13. “My clients are prepared to move forward expeditiously, and at your earliest convenience.”
In August, developers presented the commission with conceptual plans for a proposed 13-story Margaritaville Hotel and Resort complex to occupy the Beach Plaza Hotel property. The plans call for 265 hotel rooms, three restaurants — including the JWB Grill, the Landshark Bar and Grill and a coffee shop and provisions store — as well as three outdoor pools, one indoor pool, a wellness center and gym, 14,000 square feet of convention space and retail stores facing the Boardwalk. To be developed as proposed, the project, which essentially encompasses the entire block between 13th and 14th streets, requires a Planned Overlay District (POD) approved by the Ocean City Planning Commission. Though the project has been discussed at multiple meetings, the commission has not yet formally approved the POD. During a review of the project in late November, commission members expressed concern regarding landscaping, the size of the project and the fact that the Ocean City Mayor and Council hadn’t yet approved an alley swap needed for development.
Developers put the proposed alley swap and Margaritaville plans on hold about a week later. In the weeks since, developers have made changes to the project and are now ready to seek approval. According to Cropper’s letter to the town, the project is now proceeding under single ownership and will not be subject to a condominium regime. The developers have also engaged a consultant to add enhanced landscaping in the setback areas. The third improvement listed addresses a need often discussed in Ocean City.
“My client is diligently pursuing work-force housing opportunities within walking distance of the project,” Cropper wrote.
The letter does not address the conveyance of a portion of Washington Lane between 13th and 14th streets to meet the requirements of the POD. The existing 16-foot alley bisects the proposed site and the developer in earlier discussions asked the town to consider abandoning a portion of the lane.