Isn’t it nice to be over a week into February and there has been very little winter weather to speak of? Unless you’re a skier, you are probably pleased. When Punxsutawny Phil recently forecast six more weeks of winter, many wondered, “More?”
The topsy turvy weather has dominated the winter. Just yesterday it hit 71 degrees in Cape May County. Today’s high is expected to be 35, and it’s spitting snow right now.
We’ve all noticed that the daylight hours are increasing. No more darkness by 5pm or morning light until 7am. Can spring be too far behind?
Soon we’ll be pulling out the leaf rakes to clean up winter’s deposit of limbs and leaves. Then the forsythias and daffodils will be begin to bud. The spring birds start arriving from their winter grounds and we’re onto the season of renewal.
There have been many changes to the North Wildwood gateway through the years. More are underway.
After a short life as Coconut Cove, the Spruce Avenue nightspot closed in 2013. It was torn down in the last year and has subsequently been subdivided into 10 upscale lots, each with access to two boatslips. Six of the lots are located directly on the back bay.
The first, and northernmost of the lots, now has a large house framed and enclosed. The others can’t be far behind, giving the area a revitalized look.
That large property has a storied past. In the 1940s it was the El Dorado Café and Motel. Its next transformation was legendary and took on a life of its own – Zaberer’s Restaurant. Ed Zaberer built the small restaurant into a 35,000 square foot behemoth that served as many as 3,000 dinners on a busy summer night. It was frequented by every celebrity who ever came to the island, and just about every family, too.
The Zaberers retired in 1988 and sold the restaurant. It soon went into foreclosure before burning down in 1992. Along came Steve Narrigan, who bought the property in 1997 and soon opened the popular Sunset Bay, an establishment that newer island residents are most familiar with. He sold the place in 2012 and Coconut Cove was born.
MORE NORTH WILDWOOD
The next stretch of the North Wildwood gateway has seen other recent transformations. Wawa bought out Don Martin Realty and the Moose Lodge and built their new store and gas pumps. The Moose soon moved into a short-lived fish takeout next door, while Don Martin moved across the street next to the Dairy Queen which he also owns.
Meanwhile the new Star Diner built across from Wawa. It was a 24-hour diner
at first, but they later changed to no middle of the night business. The building has a doo-wop theme, which fits nicely into the brand that the Wildwoods are trying to build. Wawa did likewise.
Now there are a few vacant buildings in the next stretch of the gateway and city officials are working on coming up with a solution. McDonalds has permanently closed after being a seasonal McD’s. Nino’s Restaurant closed following extensive flooding in 2012’s Hurricane Sandy and never reopened. They seem content to operate their Nino’s on Magnolia Avenue in Wildwood and their longtime Cape May Court House locale.
Also vacant in that area of North Wildwood are the old Shell gas station, which never opened last year, and the small flag/beach accessories store, which has been torn down.
We’re confident that a few years from now everything will be revived and spiffed up, carrying on the legacy on North Wildwood’s famed gateway.
EVEN MORE NW
A three day winter storm that blew through in late January did considerable damage to North Wildwood’s beaches, especially near Third Avenue.
The city acted fast and wisely, quickly appropriating $200,000 for emergency repairs. Time was of the essence before another storm came in and threatened John F. Kennedy Drive and the Aloha Motel and Acropolis Oceanfront Resort.
A company was immediately hired to truck 4,000 cubic yards of sand per day from Wildwood to the Third Avenue beach. The 20-foot erosion drop off had to be shored up. The eventual goal is to truck as much as 40-50,000 yards.
Atkinson’s Restaurant in Cape May Court House – one of only five establishments in Middle Township with a liquor license – closed for renovations after the summer season.
The eatery was previously purchased by Lou Altobelli, a local entrepreneur who owns a car body shop, car repair shop, auto parts store, and other properties. His intention after receiving necessary permits was to demolish the old building and replace it with a new structure. The architectural drawings look impressive and the new name of the restaurant will be 9 South.
The 2016 MLS sales figures for the Wildwoods show a pretty successful year. Here’s the breakdown: Residential 181 units, Condos 624, Multifamily 68, Lots 24, and Commercial 17. Add on top all the private sales not done through MLS and it shows a brisk market.
I love to talk about real estate and our island. I am always glad to share my insights, observations, and visions.
I am still involved in real estate 365 days a year. It’s my passion. I will gladly handle listing your property, give you a free market analysis, or show you a wide variety of properties that may suit your needs.
Stop by our office at 5602 New Jersey Avenue and chat. Or give me a call at 609-780-7131. I answer my phone 8am to 9pm EVERYDAY and you always get a real, live person. That’s service!