Icona Resorts' massive eight-story hotel proposed for a plot of land between Ocean City High School and the beachfront would feature 325 rooms, a pool overlooking the boardwalk, upscale shops and more.
The artist's renderings of possible variations on the project were presented to the City Council on Thursday, Feb. 23.
Icona would need to acquire a city-owned parking lot just off the boardwalk between 5th and 6th streets to make the project viable. The property is next to Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, an amusement complex owned by Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian and Icona CEO Eustace Mita
"Ocean City has a special, special place in my heart," said Mita, a father of five and grandfather of 17.
Mita said that Ocean City had about 3,000 hotel rooms in 2000, but construction of large homes and condos has dropped the number to about 750. "We're eating our own livelihood," Mita said. "We haven't had a new hotel here in over half a century."
“We don’t want it to be the nicest in Ocean City, we want it to be the nicest on the East Coast,” Mita told the council. “This end of the boardwalk needs an anchor to give it class we know it deserves.”
"Every facility that's designed by Mr. Mita and his organization... has sustainable significant luxury design," a lawyer for the developer told the council. "Every aspect of design pays significant attention to detail. . .I think it will grace the skyline....for many, many generations to come."
Icona Resorts operates eight hotels in Avalon, Cape May and the Diamond Beach section of Lower Township. Three of those rank among the top 75-ranked hotels nationwide.
Last year, Icona proposed a $150 million, 160-room hotel for a former theater site in Cape May but faced obstacles as reported here.
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