Tucked behind the Spinnaker condominiums, the old house at 20 37th Street will be replaced by a new duplex.


One of Sea Isle City’s oldest surviving homes will soon be history.

The former Dreslyn Cottage rooming house at 20 37th Street has been sold and will be demolished next week to make way for construction of a duplex by the new owner.

“It has been sold and is coming down next week,” said Moira Kelly Smith, a RE/MAX Preferred real estate agent who is handling the sale.

The buyer’s name and the sale price will be disclosed after the deal closes on Nov. 15, Smith said.

When the house hit the market in February, it was originally listed at $2.75 million. With no buyers immediately stepping forward, the advertised price eventually was reduced to $1.5 million.

“It is closer to the $1.5 million,” Smith said in an interview Friday, declining to reveal the exact sale price before closing.

The old house was built just seven years after Sea Isle’s formal founding in 1882 by visionary real estate developer Charles K. Landis. It has been owned for the past 60 years by the Emanuele family. Smith said the family believes it is simply the right time to sell it now.

Before the Emanuele family used it as their seashore vacation retreat, the home was well known as the Dreslyn Cottage rooming house and had a lot of local history attached to it, Smith said.

The home survived countless storms and hurricanes for more than a century. After the monstrous 1962 storm that devastated much of the Jersey Shore, the house, still standing tall, was used to store equipment for the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol, Smith said.

This old photo shows the home when it was operated as the Dreslyn Cottage rooming house. (Photo courtesy of RE/MAX Preferred)

A sales pitch put together by RE/MAX Preferred touted the “endless opportunities” for the property, including the possibility of transforming the old house into a restaurant, a coffee shop, a gallery or another type of commercial space.

Another intriguing possibility floated by RE/MAX Preferred was for a buyer to save the house by moving it to another location.

However, the new owner plans to demolish the deteriorated three-story house to create room for a duplex, Smith said.

“There was a lot of interest, a lot of curiosity,” she said of potential buyers for the property. “A lot of people wanted to go through it. A lot of people said they had stayed at the house.”

Although the property is occupied by a house now, this part of 37th Street is within an area zoned for mixed-use projects that combine commercial space on the ground level with residential construction on the top floors. The new owner will need zoning approval to build a duplex within a commercial district, Smith said.

The house is located on the beach block of 37th Street at Pleasure Avenue, but the ocean view is blocked by the Spinnaker condominiums, a 192-unit complex consisting of two towers built in the 1970s.

Despite its faded white paint and deteriorated appearance now, the house is considered an iconic piece of Sea Isle’s history dating to 1889, the year that Benjamin Harrison succeeded Grover Cleveland as president of the United States.

“There’s a lot of history connected to this house,” Smith noted in an interview when the property first went up for sale in February.

The house is deteriorated now, its white paint badly faded.