By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Two projects proposed within a block of each other will continue the transformation of Sea Isle City’s downtown with new attractions that combine commercial space on the ground level with residential units on the top floors.
The city’s planning board gave approval Sept. 12 to the development of one of the mixed-use projects at 4118 Landis Ave. and the other at 30 42nd Street.
The projects represent the type of development that has become popular in Sea Isle ever since the city changed its zoning laws in 2008 to encourage mixed-use construction.
In recent years, a number of old homes have been demolished to make way for mixed-use projects, which combine commercial space such as restaurants and retail shops on the first floor with condos on the top two stories.
The proposed project at 30 42nd Street would feature commercial space and two large condos. It would replace a Victorian-era home. Dating to 1900, the stately white house features a number of notable architectural embellishments, including its French-inspired Mansard roof.
Lawrence and Darlene Lane are the owners of the property. Lawrence Lane said he doesn’t know when the old three-story house will be demolished. He noted that there are a number of preliminary steps he must do to build the mixed-use project, including lining up the financing.
“I’m not under the gun at all. I may keep it up until next September,” Lane said of the old house during an interview Monday.
Lane has entertained the idea of simply selling the house for the nominal price of $1 to someone who would move it to save it. No one has expressed interest in the house yet.
“No one’s come forward, so eventually it’s going to come down,” Lane said. “That’s the way life is. I’ve seen a lot of them go down in my lifetime.”
Lane made significant changes to his proposed project when he brought it before the planning board. Originally, it was supposed to be four stories tall, but he reduced it to three.
He also reduced the size of the two large condos, which cut the parking requirements to six spaces from the original plan for 10.
Lane has not yet decided which type of commercial space to have on the ground floor, although he may consider placing a restaurant there.
“I think it’s going to have a good impact to attract people to the center of town,” he said of his project. “The planning board’s plan is to attract people to the center of town.”
Meanwhile, the planning board’s approval for a mixed-use project at 4118 Landis Ave. clears the way for redevelopment of vacant property in the center of downtown.
The property overlooks the corner of Landis Avenue and 42nd Street. It has been vacant ever since two stores that formerly occupied the site were destroyed by fire in 2016.
Since then, a privately owned, weather-beaten red truck with the words “Sea Isle City” painted on the side has used the property as its exclusive parking space. Now, the old red truck, a source of jokes around town, will have to find somewhere else to park.
The developers, known as 4118 Landis LLC, plan to build a mixed-use project featuring commercial space on the first floor and four condos on the top two stories.
“Sea Isle City is changing. It needs better curb appeal, and I’m on board with helping with that,” James Burger, managing member of 4118 Landis LLC, said in an interview in August.
Burger said his development team hopes to begin construction shortly after the summer tourism season and complete the project by late 2023.
Serving as Burger’s development partners are Kevin Quinn and Sea Isle builder Louis Feola. Burger and Quinn are also partners in the Ocean View-based construction company Advanced Coastal Homes LLC.
In 2019, Advanced Coastal Homes was the builder of a mixed-used project on the opposite site of Landis Avenue and 42nd Street. That project, known as Beachside Villas, is a three-story complex featuring commercial space on the street level and 12 luxury condos on the top two floors. It is another example of how new construction has been transforming the look of Sea Isle’s downtown.