Wildwood Crest history is disappearing and you have the opportunity to help us save some of it. (Click HEREto download, sign and mail the letter)
The Wildwoods are known for their Mid Century Motels (that we call Doo-Wop Motels).
These motels were built in a style called Googie and featured architecture influenced by jet planes, the Space Age, and the Atomic Age.
At one point The Wildwoods were littered with these motels. Over time sadly many, roughly 80, of the iconic motels were torn down to become condos.
Some of those motels included places like the Carousel Motel, Nautilus Motel, Hi Lili Motel, Tahiti Motel, Satellite Motel, and more.
Most of Wildwood Crest’s identity was lost when these motels were torn down.
In the past few years, many of these Doo-Wop Motels have been saved by a process called adaptive reuse. This is when they take an existing building and reuse it.
While this is a good way to save a building it sometimes removes the features that made it special.
Recently we learned that the Oceanview motel, located at 7201 Ocean Ave in Wildwood Crest, had sold for just over 10 Million Dollars.
This motel was built in 1963 and opened as the Admiral Motel before becoming Admiral East and finally The Oceanview Motel.
It was built by Lou Morey, a contractor who designed a number of mid-century motels including the still-standing Caribbean Motel.
The main attraction of the building was its lobby. It featured a “blast-off” roof, made up of a gigantic gable whose two sides don’t meet. It’s called a “blast-off” roof as it’s trying to mimic a jet plane taking off.
In the state of New Jersey, there are no more examples of such a design. This makes the lobby not only rare but a symbol of the Wildwoods.
The new owners, while wanting to adaptive reuse the building, want to demolish the historic lobby and build a four-story condo complex in its place.
This would remove one of the last examples of this style of building in the state. Removing it would be demolishing the last of Wildwood Crest’s history.
(in the video at the bottom you can see the mockup photos of the building.)
There is a great chance, with your help, that we can save some history.
On Tuesday, February 15th at 5 pm, the Wildwood Crest Planning and Going board will meet to review the owner’s application.
Myself and other members of the Doo-Wop Preservation League, Wildwood Historical Society, and the Greater Wildwood Hotel and Motel Association will be there to present why we believe that the new owners should not demolish the lobby but instead include it in their design.
What we are suggesting is a win-win-win.
We would be suggesting to the owners to move their proposed new building to the parking lot behind the Oceanview. They would be able to raise the building to five floors so that the first floor could be used for parking. This would meet the minimum parking requirements set by the city
By doing this they wouldn’t lose any units, the city would still gain the same amount of ratables and the historic lobby would be saved. (win-win-win).
There is also good news for the owner, the building is under consideration through the state of New Jersey for Landmark Status.
If approved, it will open the door to hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funding, including the new state Historic Tax Credit which, when combined with the national credit, can cover up to 70% of renovations that maintain historic integrity, including potential roof repair work.
BUT, none of this can happen unless we have the public’s support and this is where you come in.
Besides being at the meeting, which I know not too many people can attend I have some ways you can help.
We have a letter which you can download, sign and mail into city hall. This letter, which you can get HERE, asks the city to have the new owners include the lobby in their design.
2. Share this video. Share it on Facebook, email, you know it! The more we can educate folks about this the better. This way you can’t say, I could have helped if only I knew.
With your help, we could save some Wildwood Crest history for future generations.
Below is a video where I break down all the details. Be sure to check it out.