New Owners Unveil Conceptual Plans for Drifting Sands Motel

Oct 25, 2017

From the Victorian-style hotel replacing the Stateroom at the entrance of Long Beach Island and the “turn-of-the-century” condo complex coming to the former Exxon gas station, and the squaring off that “circle” property, change is coming to Ship Bottom.

That change is extending all the way to the oceanfront area around Ninth Street at the Drifting Sands Motel with mostly interior renovations to all of the buildings and guestrooms under new management. Over the summer, Blue Water Development, an Ocean City, Md.-based real estate development company specializing in commercial and hospitality properties, purchased the oceanfront facility for $12.5 million.

On Oct. 18, Blue Water Development representatives, including local architect Jeffrey Wells, went before the Ship Bottom Land Use Board for an informal review of the company’s conceptual plans for the property.

Wells said the plans are in line with the proposed Hotel LBI, Christopher Vernon’s 105-room hotel to be built at the current site of the Stateroom (formerly the Quarter Deck Inn before 2007), a permitted use along the Route 72 corridor. The project also complements The Arlington Beach Club, a 24-unit condo complex being built at the Causeway Circle, he said. Wells is the architect for that project, too.

“So many things need work,” Wells said, adding, “I am so happy to be a part of this.“

Plans for the Drifting Sands include changes to the outside facade so the front entrance and lobby area will be more identifiable, Wells said during the presentation. But the significant changes to the site will be in signage, and the addition of a pool area, complete with a tiki bar, above the existing parking.

At some point, Blue Water Development, founded by John H. “Jack” Burbage after spending years with his sons, John III and Todd, specializing in the restoration and construction of commercial properties throughout Maryland, will look for a liquor license for the tiki bar, according to Arnold Lake, a company representative. The Drifting Sands doesn’t currently have a food or beverage permit.

The company will make a formal presentation once it finalizes its plans for the oceanfront property, which will continue Blue Water Development’s reputation for “superior quality properties with sophisticated designs, gracious floor plans and first-class amenities,” according to the company’s website.

Additionally, according to the company’s website, Blue Water is renowned for its commitment to “paying it forward” with each project: hiring local contractors, using local materials, promoting local businesses – it’s all part of a community investment.

“It’s not a ‘take-it’ here; it’s a ‘how do we fit in and how do we put back into the community’ that we’re serving in,” Chief Operating Officer Bob Thompson said in a statement on the company website. “Everything is about reinvesting where you are, at all levels. Whether it’s the guest experience: you and your family and kids; or reinvesting to create the jobs.”

Blue Water owns properties operating mainly in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The company’s diverse portfolio includes three luxury RV resort properties: The Resort at Massey’s Landing in Millsboro, Del.; KOA – Chincoteague Island in Chincoteague, Va.; and Sunset Beach RV Resort in Cape Charles, Va.; four hotels: Bethany Beach Ocean Suites; The Commander Hotel in Ocean City, Md.; Aloft Hotel in Ocean City, Md.; and Fairfield Inn & Suites on Chincoteague Island; and three recreational venues: Blue Water Golf, Maui Jacks Waterpark in Chincoteague, Va.; and Sea Rocket in Ocean City, Md.

Gina G. Scala

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