Developer Offers Chic Hotel on Former Cape May Beach Theater

The former Cape May Beach Theater, once a popular spot to watch a movie on the Jersey Shore, could become the site of an ambitious hotel project that seeks to rekindle the atmosphere of a bygone era.

Cape May City Council last week heard plans from Philadelphia-native developer Eustace Mita and founder of the Icona Resorts brand, which already has luxury projects in Avalon, Diamond Beach and a smaller location in Cape May. .

Mita partnered with Philadelphia-based DAS Architects to develop a plan for a seven-story, 168-room hotel that would cover the area from Stockton Place to Gurney Street. The site not only includes ownership of the Beach Theater, which was built in 1950 and demolished in 2011, but also several storefronts along Beach Avenue and Gurney Street.

DAS shared a pair of concept renderings of the proposed hotel, which would stand across from the city’s Convention Center which was completed in 2012.

Mita told city council the project will cost around $ 100 million and that he plans to file a formal application within the next 60 days, according to the Atlantic City Press.

The project would include a rooftop swimming pool and 268 parking spaces spread over four interior levels, which Mita says will prevent hotel activity from obstructing the streets. Other features would include shops on the ground floor, restaurants, cafes and a ballroom. Mita said a four-story townhouse would also be part of the plan.

Cap Icona May 2Courtesy / DAS Architects

A rendering of the proposed Icona Resorts hotel in Cape May.

Icona Resorts previously purchased and Renovated Golden Inn of Avalon, The Grand and Cape May’s Palace Hotel in Diamond Beach, giving them a new character and new amenities.

Icona Resorts also entered into a partnership earlier this year with Gillian’s Wonderland Pier in Ocean City to reinvent the experience at the historic promenade destination.

With the proposed Cape May project, the brand will look to build a new destination from scratch – one reminiscent of the era of large hotels on the Jersey Shore.

The Beach Theater had been the object of preservation efforts in the late 2000s and early 2010s, when the Beach Theater Foundation briefly rented the space in hopes of a renovation that would maintain the iconic architecture and keep a theater in the building. The organization attempted to block the demolition in 2011 with a lawsuit challenging the city’s permit, but the building was ultimately demolished this fall.

Mita’s vision for a Cape May hotel comes as the town of Jersey Shore continues to gain traction as a more widely celebrated tourist destination, distinguished by its architecture and history. Cape May regularly appears on lists of the best places to vacation and continues to be a popular place for Airbnbs.

Before the hotel project can proceed, Cape May Mayor Zack Mullock said the proposal will need to be presented to the city’s planning council, zoning council and historic preservation committee.

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