By Donald Wittkowski
Construction is set to begin on a multifaceted project that will mark the return of an iconic local business and continue the transformation of blocks of Sea Isle City’s sleepy Townsends Inlet section into an upscale condo and dining enclave.
A new version of Blitz’s Market, a landmark name in Townsends Inlet for decades, will anchor the commercial and residential project proposed at the corner of 85th Street and Landis Avenue.
The 4,000-square-foot grocery store will occupy the first floor of the building, while the second and third stories will include nine luxury rental condominiums for Sea Isle’s vacation market, said Christopher Glancey, one of the project’s developers.
The site is the same location where the old Blitz’s Market once stood. Demolition has been completed on the old building to make room for the new project. Construction is scheduled to begin this week, with a grand opening scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, Glancey said.
“Blitz’s has always been an iconic market. To be able to keep that going in Townsends Inlet is a big win,” he said.
The Blitz’s Market-condo project is the latest development that Glancey and his business partner Bob Morris have undertaken in the past year to revitalize the Landis Avenue corridor in Townsends Inlet with new retail, residential and restaurant attractions appealing to Sea Isle’s higher-end tourism market.
“People want to come to Sea Isle,” Glancey said. “They want to go on vacation.”
Altogether, Glancey and Morris are building millions of dollars in new development to carry out what Glancey described as their “vision” for Townsends Inlet, including a commercial component.
“We’re adding millions of dollars of ratables to the town,” Glancey said.
In addition to being a developer, Glancey is a local businessman and serves as the president of the Sea Isle City Chamber of Commerce and Revitalization. His family ties to Sea Isle date to 1951, when his grandfather bought a home on 45th Street.
In 2016, Glancey and Morris celebrated the grand opening of their trendy Dunes condo, restaurant and banquet complex on Landis Avenue between 86th and 87th streets. The Dunes was built on the site where the old Busch’s Seafood Restaurant stood for more than a century. The complex features a Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House restaurant on the first floor and 13 luxe rental condos on the second and third stories.
Glancey said the first summer season for The Dunes was “very successful.” Doc Magrogan’s was busy throughout the summer, while the condos were completely rented out in July and August, he noted. Already, the condos have begun taking reservations for Sea Isle’s popular “Polar Bear” festivities and ocean plunge on the weekend of Feb. 17-19
Construction is underway on another Glancey-Morris mixed-use development across the street from The Dunes at 87th Street and Landis Avenue. Scheduled for completion over the Memorial Day weekend, the project will feature 11 luxury rental condos, retail space and a restaurant.
Glancey said he is in negotiations for a women’s boutique to occupy the retail space. He is looking for a restaurant tenant.
A parking area between 87th and 88th streets will continue to serve Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House at The Dunes, as well as the new commercial development being built across the street. In addition, the condominiums have their own parking spaces underneath the units, Glancey said.
After Glancey opened The Dunes project last year, he spoke enthusiastically of creating a new “showpiece” for Townsends Inlet to promote growth. The Blitz’s Market-condo project is the next part in the commercial evolution of the island community’s quiet southern tip.
“We want to make our own little town up there,” Ross DelRomano, the operator of Blitz’s Market, said of Townsends Inlet.
DelRomano and his business partner Shawn Rinnier bought Blitz’s Market last year. They are planning to preserve the market’s iconic name and traditions, but will offer new amenities when the grocery store reopens in the new building, DelRomano said.
“So, it’s like the old Blitz’s, but updated, better and with more variety,” he said.
There will be expanded meat, produce, dairy and frozen-food departments. The market will also feature a new, full-service coffee bar. Additionally, an ice cream stand that had operated outside the old Blitz’s will be moved inside the new store.
Perhaps as much as anything, customers in the Townsends Inlet area will enjoy the convenient location for Blitz’s Market, DelRomano stated.
“Our end of town needs a grocery store so you don’t have to drive all the way down to the Acme,” he said of Sea Isle’s supermarket at 62nd Street and Landis Avenue.