ICONA Submits Plans For Ocean Holiday Motel
Plans for the Ocean Holiday’s transformation into Wildwood Crest Mahalo have been in motion for four years, marking a significant shift in the landscape of 6501 Ocean Avenue in Wildwood Crest. The motel, once a staple, closed its doors, paving the way for ICONA Resorts to undertake a venture that aligns with its expanding influence in Cape May County.
Over the past five years, ICONA Resorts has experienced substantial growth, marked by the inauguration of Mahalo Diamond Beach, the acquisition of Avalon’s Windrift, ownership of the Old Beach Theater in Cape May, substantial investments in Ocean City, and the contemplation of new projects in the region.
The motel’s acquisition by ICONA Resorts in July 2019 for $4.55 million reflected their intention to preserve its essence as a motel while rebranding it under the name Mahalo.
Eustace Mita, the CEO of ICONA Resorts, envisioned Mahalo as akin to a Marriott Courtyard but situated on the beach, a concept introduced with another Mahalo location in Diamond Beach and Cape May.
ICONA takes the existing rooms and lobbies and turns them into a Hawaiian-inspired atmosphere.
You find yourself in the embrace of natural textures, adorned with a light, earthy color scheme that exudes warmth. Each space is designed to evoke a breezy island feel, creating a serene escape.
In preparation for the ambitious project, crews commenced the demolition of sections of the building.
The original building application outlined extensive renovations, including the addition of a 6th floor with 14 new hotel units, five floors featuring 13 hotel rooms along Ocean Avenue, the refurbishment and widening of all exterior balconies, an expansion of the second-floor sun deck to accommodate a new pool area, the removal of the existing surface pool for additional parking, and the construction of a new lobby.
However, progress encountered an unexpected obstacle when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, forcing a temporary suspension of the project. Subsequent challenges arose during zoning and planning meetings, where concerns were voiced by motel owners and citizens regarding the potential elimination of view corridors.
The motels in Wildwood Crest, built in the 1950s and 1960s, were established with an understanding among owners that all motel rooms should provide an open-view corridor perpendicular to the water’s edge. This arrangement allowed guests to enjoy a beach view, and many owners have diligently maintained these view corridors over the decades.
Responding to these concerns, the project faced rejection from the board. Despite this setback, both the city and its citizens expressed a desire for ICONA to succeed on the island while preserving the crucial view corridor.
In response, a new application has been submitted to the city of Wildwood Crest.
The applicant’s intent is articulated as follows: the reconstruction of the existing first-floor lobby, renovation of the existing five-story motel, construction of a second-floor pool/patio area, and an addition to the five-story motel building. The revitalized motel is anticipated to house a total of 66 units, with no part of the existing or proposed structures will encroach upon the Borough’s right-of-way.
A pivotal moment awaits as a hearing is scheduled before the Planning Board of the Borough of Wildwood Crest at the Municipal Building on December 6, 2023, at 5:00 p.m.
This marks an opportunity for stakeholders and the community to engage with the proposed plans and voice their perspectives.
If approved, crews will start construction immediately as the building has been sitting in the open at the mercy of Mother Nature for the past 4 years.
The project, driven by ICONA’s aspirations, holds the promise of not only pleasing the local community but also extending its appeal to visitors. As the application undergoes scrutiny, anticipation builds for a transformative initiative that could redefine the hospitality landscape in Wildwood Crest.
The Wildwood Video Archive does not have mockups of the new proposed project since it was just submitted to the city all of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The WVA will be sure to grab them later on next week.
Below is the exterior tour of ICONA’s Mahalo Diamond Beach. Before you watch please consider subscribing to our Youtube channel.