By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
One of the first things the new owners of the former Coast Motel did last year was to rebrand it as the Ludlam Hotel to give it more cachet.
A renovation project followed to spruce up the rooms.
Now, there are plans to transform the three-story building that was once part of the former LaCosta Lounge complex into an upscale resort-style hotel featuring a rooftop bar and other amenities.
A fourth floor will also be added to the building for six new suites, according to documents filed with the Sea Isle City Planning Board by the hotel’s ownership group, 42nd Place LLC.
“The goal is, obviously, the same as we stated from Day 1, which is to bring the property back as a hotel resort,” said Sea Isle developer Christopher Glancey, one of the owners of the Ludlam Hotel.
Altogether, the hotel will include 58 rooms when the building’s makeover is finished. A new restaurant, indoor-outdoor bar, rooftop bar, pool and retail shops will be among new attractions complementing the hotel.
Glancey’s development group has filed an application with the Planning Board seeking preliminary and final site plan approval as well as a handful of variances needed for the hotel’s facelift.
Glancey and his representatives are expected to meet with the board’s engineer next week during a private workshop to discuss details of the project. A public presentation on the hotel’s renovation and expansion is expected to be made at the Feb. 14 Planning Board meeting, followed by a vote that night.
In an interview Wednesday, Glancey said he should have a better idea of the project’s construction schedule after meeting with the board. He noted that changes with the project are possible.
“We’re just beginning the process,” he said.
In 2018, Glancey and his development partner, Bob Morris, bought the LaCosta Lounge for $7.3 million. The landmark bar, which operated at the corner of John F. Kennedy Boulevard and Landis Avenue for nearly 50 years, closed for good in 2020 in anticipation of its redevelopment.
The LaCosta site also included the former Coast Motel and the Casino Pizzeria. Glancey and Morris originally proposed to demolish the LaCosta, the Coast Motel and the Casino Pizzeria buildings to make room for a new all-suite hotel.
They later scaled back those plans, deciding instead to refurbish the three existing buildings under the Ludlam brand.
The former Casino Pizzeria building has been converted into a kitchen for the new Beach Bar at The Ludlam, an outdoor summer attraction that made its debut in 2021.
A new coffee shop and bakery called Shorebreak Cafe was built last year by using the space formerly occupied by the LaCosta’s former liquor store.
The Coast Motel was remodeled into the Ludlam Hotel last year as the first part of the building’s transformation into higher-end lodging. Work is already underway to clean up and redo the building’s old stucco exterior.
In addition to the restaurant, rooftop bar, pool and retail shops, the refurbished hotel will be accented by a landscaping plan featuring hundreds of shrubs and plants, Glancey said.
“That first impression on people as they pull up to the hotel has to mean something,” he said of the landscaping’s inviting atmosphere.
Longer-range plans for the Ludlam include building a second hotel tower in 2023, Glancey said. But first, his development group is focusing on plans to refurbish the existing tower and to add a fourth floor.
Redevelopment plans for 2023 also include the renovation of the main part of the former LaCosta Lounge building into a rebranded bar and lounge, Glancey said.