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The Wildwoods, NJ’s New Wave of Development in 2024 Includes Two Retro-Modern Resorts 

The Wildwoods, NJ’s New Wave of Development in 2024 Includes Two Retro-Modern Resorts 

 

Madison Resorts has combined two iconic Wildwood Crest hotels, the Royal Hawaiian & the Oceanview, to create one giant resort with two pools, three restaurants, two fitness centers, and rooftop event spaces.

 

The Binns Motor Inn and Bonito Motel are combining to become The Vibes Hotel Wildwood, a blend of nostalgia and modern comfort with a mid-century modern vibe.





The Wildwoods, NJ, an iconic Jersey Shore destination renowned for its expansive free, white-sand beaches, world-famous Boardwalk, and charming Doo Wop mid-century hotels, is buzzing with a flurry of exciting new developments and business ventures.

The latest in these new developments currently underway are two new resorts – each combining two of the Wildwoods’ mid-century classic motor inns to create one impressive resort.

 

Madison Resort Wildwood Crest

Madison Resorts recently acquired the 54-year-old Royal Hawaiian Motel in Wildwood Crest for $13.4 million. Owners plan to pair this beachfront property with the neighboring Oceanview Motel, which was also acquired by Madison Resorts in 2022 and is undergoing its own multi-million-dollar renovation.

 

The combined hotels will operate under the moniker Madison Resort Wildwood Crest, with the Royal Hawaiian renamed the Royal Tower and the Oceanview Motel property renamed as the Ocean Tower. The end result will be the largest resort in Cape May County, with 200 hotel rooms, two pools, three restaurants, two fitness centers, and rooftop event spaces. 

 

Madison Resorts stated that they plan to preserve the history and mid-century Doo Wop heritage and appeal of both properties while taking them into the 21st century. The new Madison Resort Wildwood Crest is slated for opening in spring 2024. Call (609) 884-4063 or visit madisonresortwildwoodcrest.com/ for more information.

 

The Vibes Hotel Wildwood

The new owners of Binns Motor Inn, a classic from the mid-1940s, and the Bonito Motel, constructed in 1964, will combine these two historic properties from the Doo Wop Era, into one resort – The Vibes Hotel Wildwood, located at Atlantic and Spicer Avenues. 

 

The resort’s name represents the owners’ plans to infuse a blend of nostalgia and modern comfort into the new resort. Plans are to strip down the existing structures, upgrade every aspect, and introduce top-notch furniture and amenities. A mid-century modern aesthetic will be incorporated throughout the exterior and interior, including a “blast off” roof – common in Doo Wop architecture – as well as vivid colors and retro furnishings. Accommodations at The Vibes will cater to various needs, offering room options from queens to spacious suites suitable for the whole family. Two spectacular outdoor pools will also be reflective of modern-day sophistication with a fun retro and family-friendly vibe. There are a total of 88 rooms, and the hotel features interior and exterior rooms with balconies. The Vibes Hotel Wildwood is scheduled to open in summer 2024.  

The list of new developments in the Wildwoods that are coming in 2024 continues to grow, as the destination experiences an abundance of opportunities for business expansion, including several new hotel properties and dining establishments, residential and vacation rental property developments, boardwalk renovations and resurfacing, and a Boardwalk extension project, many of which will be completed in 2024. 

 

The Wildwoods offer excellent opportunities for business success, and an unmet demand for business growth, with attractive commercial and residential real estate corridors that are perfectly located in a Jersey Shore seaside setting. Resort officials are continuously working to attract developers while encouraging the growth of small, locally owned businesses in our region," explained Louis Belasco, Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority (GWTIDA) Executive Director.

The Wildwoods are enthusiastically embracing commercial business growth, with certain tax abatements, state, county and local incentives, and a development-friendly climate. This has appealed to developers and some prominent national brands such as Sinclair Oil Corporation, which are making their presence felt in the area. They are accompanied by a substantial number of new business openings, expansion projects, residential development, and extensive hotel renovations currently underway. 

 

Enjoyed for decades by millions of visitors annually, the Wildwoods have always found new ways to reinvent itself, while preserving its endearing ‘Doo Wop’ Mid-Century architectural character and nostalgia. New investments in hotels, shops, eateries, attractions, services, and other developments are now coming on the scene that are attracting first-time and returning vacationers, eager to experience ‘Those Wildwoods Days.’

 

Additional New Motel Projects

 

Several additional hospitality establishments have recently opened or are currently undergoing significant transformations and expansions, whether undergoing renovations under new management or all-new accommodations.

 

Seaport Suites

Seaport Suites opened for the summer of 2023, bringing a brand new, four-story, mixed-used hotel with 63 modern units, along with three dining concepts, to Downtown Wildwood. The exclusive pool offers cabanas, waitress service, FOURCAST Day Club, two outdoor bars, and music. The Fairview Social Club, Beach Brew Coffee Shop, and Club Vyce are located on the first floor. The property is owned and operated by Seaport Stays and owned by BG Capital, which offers multiple accommodation locations with new modern options for vacationing in the Wildwoods. The property offers shuttle service to the Wildwoods Convention Center and Seaport Pier on the Boardwalk, and other nearby attractions and restaurants. Located at 3601 Pacific Avenue, Wildwood. Visit seaportsuites.com or call 609-800-2008.

 

Oasis by Seaport Stays

With 26 townhomes and 12 apartments filled with family-friendly amenities, the Oasis opened in 2023 and offers an exclusive retreat with plenty of room for the entire family, including a spacious deck to soak in the sun. In the back of these townhomes is a shared amenity space featuring a pool, barbecue area, recreation facilities, and much more. Located at 2911 New Jersey Avenue, Wildwood. Visit SeaportOasis.com or call 609-400-2080.

 

MudHen Hospitality’s ‘Hen Houses’ 

MudHen Brewery Company, a well-established Wildwoods restaurant and craft brewery, opened new accommodations in 2023 on Rio Grande and Pacific Avenue in Wildwood, playfully called the Hen Houses. This micro-resort includes seven charming beach house rentals with premium amenities, including outdoor saltwater pool, free WIFI, community firepits, outdoor showers, lawn games for the whole family, and more. Located at 156 E. Taylor Avenue, Wildwood. For more information call 609-899-8811 or visit thehenhouses.com.

 

Waves Hotel 

An Ascend Hotel Collection Member, the Waves Hotel opened in 2023. This property offers chic accommodations with a convenient location, along with easy access to the Boardwalk, waterparks, and amusement parks. Located at 4001 Atlantic Avenue, Wildwood. Call 609-600-1619 or visit choicehotels.com/new-jersey/wildwood/ascend-hotels/nj388.

 

The Hotel Cabana

Located on the Wildwoods Boardwalk at 23rd Avenue in North Wildwood, the Hotel Cabana, owned by SSN Wildwood, LLC, has undergone a complete renovation. The Hotel Cabana offers modern guest rooms and suites with modern-day style and amenities. Located at 423 East 23rd Avenue, North Wildwood. Call 609-522-7508 or visit hotelcabanawildwood.com/.

 

The Wild Resort

A new Wildwood Boardwalk hotel named The Wild Resort will be located at Glenwood Avenue and the Boardwalk. The entire facade of the Boardwalk’s retail stores will undergo renovations to include a hotel lobby and cafe on the Boardwalk, with a second-floor restaurant and pool, and hotel rooms and luxury suites with private balconies overlooking the ocean. The Wild Resort is expected to open in 2025.

 

Mahalo Resorts

Mahalo Resorts, formerly the Regal Plaza Beach Resort, is under construction. For more information on Mahalo Resorts, visit mahaloresorts.com/mahalo-diamond-beach/.   

New Dining Establishments

There are a host of new places to eat and drink in the Wildwoods to tempt every palette and price range. The following establishments opened in 2023: 

Starbucks: Located at the corner of Rio Grande Boulevard and Park Avenue, Starbucks has opened its new and only location in the Wildwoods, offering a drive-through and window pick-up. The location opened in September 2023 serving their famous roasted coffees, specialty drinks, and food items. It has joined the other new restaurants and eateries that beckon visitors to craft a foodie adventure in the Wildwoods – with expansive choices along the Boardwalk and in the Downtown, keeping the list of places to dine and nosh fresh and fun. 

 

Stephen’s Restaurant: Serving breakfast and dinner. Located at 401 E. Wildwood Avenue, Wildwood, 609-849-9037. Visit stephens-restaurant.com

 

Utterly Ice Cream, Cereal, and Coffee Bar: Featuring cereal-infused ice cream. Located at 3411 Pacific Avenue, Wildwood, 609-522-0590. Visit facebook.com/profile.php?id=100089655429591.

 

Brandon’s Pancake House & Ice Cream Parlor: Pancakes and ice cream treats. Located at 6200 New Jersey Avenue, Wildwood Crest, 609-305-4807. Visit facebook.com/profile.php?id=100089248591241.

 

Charlie’s Sandwich Shop: Brooklyn-style Italian subs. 5400 Pacific Avenue, Wildwood. Visit charliessandwichshopsi.com.

 

New Movie Theater

 

Old Movies by the Sea, a century-old theater, has been updated to its former glory, offering a 40-seat movie house screening Golden Age films, and hosting live comedy performances, birthday parties, and events. Located at 4005 Pacific Avenue, Wildwood, 631-834-5480. Visit oldmoviesbythesea.com.

 

Boardwalk Renovations

This winter, the Wildwoods’ historic and famed Boardwalk is once again undergoing a transformation with three distinct rehabilitation projects a.k.a. Phases III, IV, and V. This marks a significant step towards enhancing the iconic Boardwalk experience for residents and visitors alike. 

Cedar Avenue Boardwalk Reconstruction:The Cedar Avenue portion takes center stage with a complete replacement, featuring a brand-new timber-framed Boardwalk. The timber piles and framing are now complete, with the decking currently in the installation phase. Cedar Avenue renovations will also include new signage parallel to the gateway. The City of Wildwood is working to secure new lighting from Schellenger to Cedar on the Boardwalk.

Oak to Schellenger Avenue Repairs:The stretch from Oak to Schellenger Avenue is in the final stages, with 90% of the deteriorated timber framing repairs completed. The remaining section is awaiting delivery of materials, which are expected on-site in March.

Schellenger to Spicer Avenue Rehabilitation:

For the Oak to Spicer Avenue portion, rehabilitation includes extensive work on the existing concrete substructure, featuring concrete repairs and a fresh protective coating. A completely new timber-framed superstructure and decking are also part of this revitalization effort.

Progress across all three areas is on track, with construction scheduled for completion at the beginning of May 2024. This extends the recently completed Boardwalk renovations from 26th Avenue down to Spicer Avenue. Future phases are currently in the planning stage.

Street End Improvements and ADA Access Ramps:The City of Wildwood has also awarded a contract for Street End Improvements and ADA access ramps at Spicer and Maple Avenues. This comprehensive project includes beautification and functional upgrades to existing ramps and street ends. 

Expected are new sidewalks, landscape gardens, benches, bike racks, pedestrian access tunnels under the Boardwalk, and ADA access ramps on the ocean side of the Boardwalk. The project recently began and is expected to conclude in June.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has played a pivotal role in the reconstruction of the Boardwalk over the past three years; he signed New Jersey’s $100 Million Boardwalk Preservation Fund into law earlier this year.

Governor Murphy committed an initial round of state funding for the City of Wildwood totaling $4 million in 2021. In the preceding year, the U.S. Economic Development Administration unveiled a grant of $3.2 million, complemented by $845,000 in local funds. 

The primary Boardwalk work is being done by Fred M. Schiavone Construction, which has completed phases of the construction in prior years. 

Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) Projects

Completed Projects

  • Improved Accessibility: Upgrades at 26th Street, Maple, & Spicer Avenue enhance street-end Boardwalk access and ADA compliance.

  • Boardwalk Revitalization: Ongoing work to transform the iconic Wildwood Boardwalk for future generations.

  • Master Plan: Development of a comprehensive plan to guide the Wildwoods’ future growth. 

  • Enhanced Security: Modern security cameras at key locations including the Boardwalk to provide improved safety.

  • Audio Upgrade: New speakers and sound system on the Boardwalk to ensure better sound quality for entertainment and announcements.

  • Cleaner Streets: Installation of new trash receptacles.

  • Traffic & Streetscape: Studies to improve traffic flow and streetscape aesthetics.

  • North Wildwood Boardwalk: Significant renovations. 

  • Boardwalk Reconstruction (Phases 1 & 2): Successful completion from 26th Street to Oak Avenue.

  • Phase 3: Completion of Oak to Schellenger Avenues, including the Cedar Avenue Extension.

 

Upcoming Projects

Approved UEZ projects in planning stages:

  • 3000 Boardwalk: Adding 75 hotel units.

  • 3700 Pacific Avenue (former Shamrock Nightclub):  20 units.

  • 323 E Oak Avenue: 9 units.

  • 401 E Magnolia Street: 17 units.

  • 221 E. Lincoln Avenue (Former Harbor Inn): commercial beer garden.

  • Scott Peter Marina:  54 boat slips, retail store, 16 residential units.

 

Sinclair Gas Station 

 

In keeping with the Wildwoods’ Doo Wop retro vibe, the Riggins Family invested in the creation of a nostalgic and fun experience with first-rate service at Sinclair Gas StationSinclair was an early 1900s throwback gas station brand that became a highlight for visitors driving throughout America. Sinclair Gas Stations were popular among children because of their green dinosaur logo dubbed Dino. He was featured in advertising and as a statue at every gas station. To pay homage to its famous past, the new Sinclair station includes a retro sign, old-fashioned gas pump, and yes, a Dino statue.

 

Pacific Avenue Downtown Development

 

The commercial corridor along Pacific Avenue in Wildwood is continuing to evolve as well, thanks to a five-year designation from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP). NPP provides funding to assist with economic and community development projects designed to help revitalize the designated area of Downtown Wildwood and ensure future economic success. This designation includes an initial $125,000 grant that, pending future years’ budget approvals, will be awarded at the same level of funding annually through 2026. 

 

The designation is centered around the Pacific Avenue Downtown Business District between Taylor Avenue and Byrne Plaza. The NPP also includes technical assistance from the state’s team of placemaking and community development professionals. Projects are created by the designation’s Stakeholder Team, which solicits feedback from the community – in the form of a survey and several focus groups – to help plan the projects for implementation. These developments will enable Pacific Avenue to establish greater economic security and viability, creating an attraction that is inviting for families, while also being bikeable and walkable. The Downtown District is just two blocks from the Wildwoods’ beach and Boardwalk and is a prime location for developers seeking to build commercial, residential, and hotel properties.

 

Free Beaches 

 

The Wildwoods beaches will continue to be free with no beach tags required. GWTIDA provides substantial funding to each of the three municipalities of the Wildwoods for beach maintenance, cleaning, and lifeguard protection. The award-winning FREE beaches in the Wildwoods are like no other. They are expansive, clean, and safe with plenty of room to spread out. These pristine beaches have been voted ‘Best Beaches in New Jersey’ and ‘Top 10 Beaches in the US’ time and time again.

 

The Wildwoods are experiencing incredible growth and a whole new chapter of excitement and revitalization. Developers and visitors alike are welcome to visit the Wildwoods to see what all the buzz is about!

 

For additional information about the Wildwoods, visit www.WildwoodsNJ.com or call 800-992-9732.

 

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