Proposed Hotel LBI Opening Pushed Back to 2020
The developer of a proposed hotel in Ship Bottom received unanimous approval of two changes in the site plan from the borough’s land use board last week.
In addition, applicant Christopher Vernon said the opening for the proposed Hotel LBI has been pushed back from the original target date of the summer of 2018 to the summer of 2020.
It was nearly two years ago when the board approved Vernon’s application to build the 105-room hotel, which will be erected at the current site of the Stateroom (formerly the Quarter Deck Inn before 2007), located between Eighth Street (Route 72 West) and Ninth Street (Route 72 East).
Vernon owns the Stateroom as well as Bonnet Island Estates and the Mallard Island Yacht Club.
He said the Stateroom would be demolished to make room for the new hotel, which is a permitted use along the Route 72 corridor. James Raban, project attorney, said architects are redesigning the building so that it would extend part of the building more to the south side of the property.
“They needed to change the plans so that we would have more room for cars on the north side of the building, because that will be the entrance,” said Raban.
He said that currently, people driving to the Stateroom can access the property from Ninth Street, but there will be no access from there once the hotel is built.
Frank Cooper, board president, said he was concerned that the plan could cause traffic congestion, noting the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts and the CVS.
“However, I’m confident that the applicants will be able to resolve it,” he said.
Vernon said the traffic situation could improve because the hotel’s opening will likely coincide with road changes related to the Causeway project, which is expected to be completed by 2020. The state Department of Transportation has planned improvements including unimpeded traffic flow north to south on Long Beach Boulevard and Central Avenue and drainage upgrades along Eighth and Ninth streets and sidewalks.
Vernon said another change is that the hotel will be available for weddings and banquets, which is a permitted use since such activities take place at the Stateroom.
“We have been very successful at the Stateroom, so it made sense to continue to offer receptions and banquets at the hotel.”
Vernon said the hotel would also feature a lobby bar, rooftop lounge, fitness room, indoor pool with snack bar, front porch among other amenities.
“At first I thought of opening in time for the summer of 2018, but this is not something we wanted to rush,” said Vernon. “It was very important that we take our time and do this right and come up with something unique to Long Beach Island.”
— Eric Englund