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Seaside Heights Hotel Closed for 14 Years Could be Condemned, Redeveloped




The former White Pearl Hotel, Sumner Avenue, Seaside Heights, N.J., May 2024. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The former White Pearl Hotel, Sumner Avenue, Seaside Heights, N.J., May 2024. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The Seaside Heights planning board has been tasked with determining whether a once-promising hotel to open on the west side of the borough should be formally declared an area in need of redevelopment, which could potentially pave the way for its condemnation.

The board will take up the matter of 201 Sumner Avenue as well as two neighboring lots, at a meeting later this month. The property in question is the site of what was once known as the White Pearl Hotel, which opened in 2006 with a modern design, providing an alternative to many of the aging 1950s motels that were still in operation at the time. The business closed in 2010, ostensibly for renovations, and remained closed after Superstorm Sandy.



In the months after the storm, then-Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno came to Seaside Heights to open a satellite location of The Home Depot – the first of its kind – in the disaster zone so property owners could access the chain’s resources and order materials without having to trek over the bridge. Home Depot also occupied a fourth floor ballroom until it closed after much of the rebuilding effort was complete. Its latest use was as a construction firm’s office and showroom.



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Aside from its short stint as a unique Home Depot location and construction office, the property has not operated as a hotel in 14 years. Its owners, in 2018, applied to the planning board to reopen the hotel, but the plan never materialized, and the building has appeared vacant ever since. A close-up look of the building shows some signs of deterioration, especially in the upper portion.

The former White Pearl Hotel, Sumner Avenue, Seaside Heights, N.J., May 2024. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The former White Pearl Hotel, Sumner Avenue, Seaside Heights, N.J., May 2024. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The former White Pearl Hotel, Sumner Avenue, Seaside Heights, N.J., May 2024. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The former White Pearl Hotel, Sumner Avenue, Seaside Heights, N.J., May 2024. (Photo: Shorebeat)

On May 28, the planning board will consider a resolution passed by the borough council to formally declare the hotel, and two adjacent lots to its west, part of a redevelopment area. Under New Jersey’s redevelopment law, blighted or functionally abandoned properties can receive the declaration following the recommendation of third party engineer and votes by the planning board and municipal council. The council would then commission a redevelopment plan detailing what types of uses or development should occur on the lot, and accept public applications for that redevelopment.

The redeveloper could be the property’s current owner, who would have to bring the site back to operating standards as called-for in the plan, or the borough could condemn the building, acquire it for market value and resell it to a qualified developer. A new developer would need to prove the financial wherewithal to actually complete the project, and comply with deadlines along the way.

The former White Pearl Hotel, Sumner Avenue, Seaside Heights, N.J., May 2024. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The former White Pearl Hotel, Sumner Avenue, Seaside Heights, N.J., May 2024. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The former White Pearl Hotel, Sumner Avenue, Seaside Heights, N.J., May 2024. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The former White Pearl Hotel, Sumner Avenue, Seaside Heights, N.J., May 2024. (Photo: Shorebeat)



The hotel’s original layout was 34 units (the ill-fated 2018 layout would have included 36 units) according to planning documents. There are 24 on-site parking spaces.

In addition to the hotel, at 201 Sumner Avenue, the planning board will also consider whether two smaller, neighboring properties at 213 and 215 Sumner Avenue should also be included in the redevelopment area.

According to county tax records, the property last changed hands in 2008 and is owned by Crown Real Estate Holdings, of Elizabeth, N.J. The property was sold for $995,000.

The hearing will be held May 28, 2024 at 6 p.m. above the firehouse in the council chambers on Sherman Avenue.




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