OCEAN CITY — Preliminary construction work on a Hampton Inn & Suites on 44th Street in Ocean City has begun with developers already eying next Memorial Day for a potential grand opening.
“The piling is in,” said property owner Rick Laws. “The foundation is going in this week.”
Plans for the hotel have been in the works for a long time, according to Laws. However, a sluggish economy made securing capital for the project tricky.
“It was difficult getting financing with the loan market so rough,” said Laws.
Eventually, though, everything was put to order and Laws reported this week that the Hampton project has all necessary financing.
With ground already broken, Laws expects work to progress quickly. He predicted that the framework for the hotel itself should be up by Thanksgiving while guests will likely be able to check in by the beginning of the next summer season. Laws was also confident that, in a town where one can’t throw a rock without hitting a hotel, the new Hampton will be a standout.
“It will be pretty unique for Ocean City,” he said of the planned 113-room building.
Overlooking the bay, Laws claims that the building will have a “resort feel” due to its size and layout.
“It’s a big piece of land…a really nice site,” said Laws.
Another draw to the hotel that Laws mentioned is it’s environmentally friendly. The original plan was to install a special HVAC system that Laws claimed would “dramatically cut down on electricity” usage. However, as actual construction unfolds, he admitted that the developers might be unable to install the system. He said the ecological aspect of the building won’t be ignored and that designers will concentrate on energy saving and waste reducing applications “as much as we can.”
“Hampton [corporation] is pretty focused on that sort of thing anyway,” said Laws.
One obvious benefit the construction will bring to Ocean City will be the generation of wetlands in the area surrounding the site.
“We’re actually going to have to create some wetlands,” said Laws.
He explained that marsh had been filled in without proper authorization next to his property before he owned the lot. To offset that, an effort will be made to expand the current wetlands simultaneously with construction of the building.
Though there are still a number of inspections and reviews to go through before the Hampton can open its doors, Laws said Ocean City has been cooperative so far as the process unfolds.
“We had to do a lot of work,” he said.
In the past, things between Laws and the city haven’t always run as smoothly. Last year, Ocean City and Laws looked like they were headed to court over a property on 64th Street Formerly the location of the Slide-n-Ride park, Laws had begun construction on a different hotel at the location despite the town actively trying to acquire it via condemnation proceedings. Eventually the town and Laws settled on a $5.1 million agreement without heading to court, with the property going to Ocean City. This time around, said Laws, no such issues have arisen to hamper construction.
“There are [still] a lot of steps to go through,” he said, adding that the last hurdle wouldn’t be jumped until next summer when the Hampton hopefully opens.
Even after the building is complete, Laws did say that he and his partners will remain involved in the hotel and will form a management company with that intent.
Sens General Contractors is leading the onsite physical work, while Atlantic Planning & Development has handled the design elements of the project.