By Donald Wittkowski
Another high-profile site is up for sale in Sea Isle City’s red hot commercial real estate market.
The Promenade Shops, an oceanfront property that features six retail stores on the first floor and two large residential units on the top two stories, is listed for $2.675 million.
“The distinct advantage of this property is the view right out over the ocean. The views are spectacular,” said Rich Baehrle, a commercial real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox and Roach Realtors in Northfield who is handling the sale.
The Promenade Shops is the latest landmark property in Sea Isle to either hit the market or change hands. As previously reported by SeaIsleNews.com, the LaCosta Lounge has been sold for $7.3 million, the Springfield Inn is listed for $6.7 million and a half-acre bayfront property at 4210 Park Road in the historic Fish Alley neighborhood is up for $6 million.
Mayor Leonard Desiderio said the sale of some of Sea Isle’s best-known businesses reflects an “exceptionally strong” real estate market. He said investors are attracted by the city’s low tax structure, the strong demand for vacation homes and the steep discounts that are available on flood insurance for residences and businesses.
The Promenade Shops is back on the market after a proposed deal fell through recently. The would-be buyer, whose name was not disclosed, had offered a little less than the $2.675 million asking price, Baehrle said.
“This particular individual was going to maintain it as the Promenade Shops,” Baehrle said.
Despite the relatively narrow width of the property, there is still enough land to give a buyer the option of redeveloping the site, Baehrle explained.
Located at 11 43rd Street, the property is in the heart of Sea Isle’s Promenade walkway, a haven for summer tourists. Baehrle is marketing the site as a “one-of-a-kind property” that features unobstructed views of the beach and ocean. It is currently owned by Alan Gordon, who has had the Promenade Shops for about 25 years, Baehrle said.
In its current configuration, the Promenade Shops includes the Touch of Paradise resort wear and beach supplies store, the Big Dipper ice cream parlor, the Juice Pod juice and salad bar, Auntie Anne’s pretzels, Bon Bon Beachwear and Coconuts Surfside Grill.
The property also includes two, four-bedroom residential units on top of the retail outlets. Baehrle said the units are so large that they are practically like individual homes.
In addition to oceanfront views, the Promenade Shops also benefits from its location next door to the Springfield Inn on 43rd Street and Pleasure Avenue, Baehrle said.
The Springfield, a popular oceanfront bar and nightclub, has been a fixture of the city’s entertainment scene since the 1970s. However, this could be its last summer season. At last word, a buyer has tentatively agreed to acquire the Springfield property, but will wait until after the summer to finalize the deal.
Under a proposed redevelopment plan, the Springfield would be demolished to make room for a new restaurant, outdoor bar, retail space and 13 upscale condos in a three-story complex.
Baehrle believes the Springfield’s redevelopment plan would create new attractions that “certainly wouldn’t hurt” the Promenade Shops.
In the next few years, a new wave of development is expected to freshen up the city’s commercial district by replacing older bars and nightclubs such as the Springfield Inn and LaCosta Lounge.
Development partners Christopher Glancey and Bob Morris, who have reshaped Sea Isle’s Townsends Inlet section with new retail, restaurant and residential attractions, have bought the LaCosta Lounge for $7.3 million.
Glancey and Morris plan to redevelop the LaCosta property with some type of commercial project, possibly new restaurants, bars, retail shops, a hotel or a combination of all of those things. The LaCosta occupies the corner of John F. Kennedy Boulevard and Landis Avenue, a prominent location that serves as the gateway to the city’s downtown business district.
In the meantime, the LaCosta is expected to remain open at least until 2019. James Bennett, LaCosta’s operator, has a lease for the property that runs through Sept. 30, 2019.
Bennett recently rebranded his bayfront Lobster Loft restaurant on 42nd Place into a pub-style eatery called the Oar House. He decided to give the Lobster Loft a makeover instead of selling it.
Earlier this year, Bennett had the Lobster Loft on the market for $2.5 million. At that time, the property was being touted as a potential redevelopment site for a new restaurant, bar and eight condos in a three-story complex.