April 23, 2024
Property

Parking Planned on Ocean City’s Newly Acquired $20M. Property  


The property runs along Haven and Simpson avenues between 16th and 17th streets, next to the Ocean City Community Center.

By MADDY VITALE

Ocean City approved the final payment to settle litigation with the Klause brothers to purchase the former car lot adjacent to the Community Center.

And now that the parties have closed the deal, the city is moving forward with plans to turn at least a portion of the property into a parking lot. Currently, it is just a dirt and gravel lot.

The property runs along Haven and Simpson avenues between 16th and 17th streets, next to the Ocean City Community Center. The city is paying a $9.9 million bond ordinance, which is the last part of the funding owed for the tract of land.

City Council approved a resolution at its Jan. 11 meeting to create an elevated parking lot to protect it from flooding. A professional services contract was awarded to Engineering Design Associates (EDA) for the preparation of site plans for construction of the elevated parking area at 16th Street and Haven Avenue.

The cost for the site plan work is $22,500.

The scope of the work to be done by EDA, according to the resolution, includes an outbound survey and topography, a grading and drainage plan, site details and project specifications.

In addition to constructing a parking lot, the adjacent streets would also be reconstructed with curbs and sidewalks, officials said.

City officials said that the hope is that the site plan is complete by February and then the project would go out to bid in the spring.

The former Perry-Egan auto dealership showroom, shown here in 2018, was demolished to clear the site at 16th Street and Haven Avenue.

Using its power of eminent domain, the city acquired the land in 2021 from Klause Enterprises to preserve it as open space after the Klause brothers proposed to develop the site for housing construction.

The case went to court over the value of the land. In October, a jury decided that the city should pay Klause Enterprises nearly $17.9 million for the property. The grand total, however, is $20 million because of interest payments.

The property used to be home to the Perry-Egan auto dealership. The goal of the city was to stop the land from being developed. The Klause brothers proposed building 22 single-family homes on the land.

Currently, the tract is undergoing an environmental cleanup due to contamination believed to be from a former dry-cleaning business that was there at one time.

Officials said that while the short-term plan for the vacant land is a parking lot, there could be additional plans. Mayor Jay Gillian has said throughout the battle with the Klause brothers for the property that the goal is for it to be utilized for green space.

City officials have talked about incorporating the former Klause Enterprises property into a five-block corridor of public land that connects the city’s Emil Palmer Park, the Community Center and other public facilities in the area.

Workers have been doing an environmental cleanup as well as trucking in dirt and gravel over the past few months.



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