OCEAN CITY – The Gateway Grand Condominiums can move forward with its certificate of occupancy despite the absence of a tenant in the restaurant portion of the project, ruled the City Council this week.
The Gateway Grand Condominium project, located between 47th and 48th streets on the oceanblock of Coastal Highway, is near completion and preparing for certificate of occupancy approval as builders wrap up the final stages of the project, which includes 196 three- and four-bedroom luxury condominium oceanfront units.
Attorney for the 17-story project, Joe Moore, came before the Mayor and City Council this week, seeking confirmation that the residential portion of the project could move forward without a secure tenant in the restaurant portion.
Moore explained that when the project was approved by both the council and the Planning and Zoning Commission in late 2005, a condition of the occupancy approval stated that the “restaurant must be ready for a certificate of occupancy at the same time as the main building structure.” The condition essentially called for the restaurant to be constructed at the same time as the condominiums in an effort to secure commercial space in the massive project.
Moore questioned this week whether the restaurant needed a secure tenant or whether the restaurant needs only to be ready for occupancy.
According to Moore, the restaurant is ready for occupancy, with several potential tenants currently on the table for negotiations.
Moore reported that several local restaurants, such as Liquid Assets and Marlin Moon Grille, are possibilities for the space, as well as a few out-of-town chains, such as Uno’s or Blue Stone Grille.
“Those restaurants show a diversity of their floor plan potential,” said Moore of the restaurant space.
The council agreed that the intent of the condition was to ensure the completion of the restaurant, agreeing that the building need only be ready for occupancy, not occupied, for occupancy approval for the residential units.
“My thought process was we didn’t want an empty lot sitting there,” said Councilman Jim Hall. “I know you’re courting some nice restaurants, hopefully one of those will come in very soon.”
Moore explained that inspections from the fire marshal would begin next month, which should be followed by a certificate of occupancy.
“Hopefully at that time our negotiations with the tenants will be more fruitful,” said Moore.
The council voted unanimously to approve the request.