Situation getting critical in Wildwood, NJ

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Mr Wildwood
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Situation getting critical in Wildwood, NJ

Postby Mr Wildwood » Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:28 am

I know this forum concentrates primarily on the west coast, but Wildwood, NJ desparately needs your help... an unprecedented number of demolitions have been taking place recently with even more to come, including some of our most distinctive and well-publicized landmarks...

For some reason, it seems to be the thinking in preservation circles that Wildwood has been a model of a town that has successfully preserved and profited from it's 1950s architecture, but the reality is, while our preservation organization (the Doo Wop Preservation League) has been very successful in getting the word out about the 1950s architecture in Wildwood, the league has had very little if any success in actually preventing demolitions and convincing the town to create a historic hotel/motel district where most of these buildings are located, despite the fact that our motel district is pending approval for listing on the National Register of Historic Places... there's a big misconception out there that Wildwood is making an effort to save buildings... there's a HUGE divide between the Doo Wop Preservation League (which has been pushing the vision of a mid-century historic district, located primarily in the borough of Wildwood Crest, as the centerpiece of the resort, like the Art Deco District in South Beach) and the current local government itself which wants no part of preserving the 1950s and has basically gone on the record as saying they want the motels gone and they want condos and townhouses (usually built with a neo-victorian style to emulate other nearby towns, rather than maintaining Wildwood's own unique character) to take their place (they see new condos and townhomes as the only way of revitalizing the town)... unfortunately, with the present real estate boom, the Wildwood Crest commissioners are getting their way and the motels are dropping like flies as the developers have moved in and basically have the town's blessing to knock down every motel they can get their hands on and cover the island with cookie-cutter condos and townhouses... and this is all happening within the span of about 2 or 3 years...

There are still plenty of motels left, but from what I'm hearing, the whole game could be coming to an end by 2005 with all the demolitions that are rumored to be taking place after this summer, if we don't make something happen FAST...

We need to get as many letters sent out as possible to convince the Wildwoods of how much support exists out there for preservation of their unique buildings and how they should do everything in their power to encourage the preservation and restoration of the mid-century motels. We need to let them know that with just a little long-term thinking and planning, their town can really be something special, not to mention more profitable in the long run. We are actually beginning to attract SOME investors who are coming here for the specific purpose of purchasing some of the mid-century motels to preserve, restore and renovate them... but the condo developers are still winning the war thus far, mainly because the town is actually on their side... the Wildwood locals still have NO IDEA how much of a treasure trove they are sitting on and how much publicity their town is recieving on a national and even international scale... there are still people down there who have never heard of the DWPL and are completely unaware that there is any kind of preservation effort going on... 7 years worth of major media attention and they still see their buildings as nothing but old, outdated and not worth saving...

Please send letters to the following addresses (with an emphasis on Wildwood Crest) or visit the Doo Wop Preservation League website at to print out pre-written letters...


Wildwood Crest:

John Pantalone, Mayor
Wildwood Crest Borough Hall
6101 Pacific Ave
Wildwood Crest, NJ 08260
609-522-5176
jpantalone@wildwoodcrest.org

Matt Tomlin, Commissioner
Wildwood Crest Borough Hall
6101 Pacific Ave
Wildwood Crest, NJ 08260
609-522-5176
mtomlin@wildwoodcrest.org

Don Cabrera, Commissioner
Wildwood Crest Borough Hall
6101 Pacific Ave
Wildwood Crest, NJ 08260
609-522-5176
dcabrera@wildwoodcrest.org


Wildwood:

Ernie Troiano, Jr., Mayor
Wildwood City Hall
4400 New Jersey Ave
Wildwood, NJ 08260
609-522-2444, ext 252

Wildwood Board of Commissioners
c/o Wildwood City Clerk
4400 New Jersey Ave
Wildwood, NJ 08260
609-522-2444


North Wildwood:

Mayor Aldo Palombo
City of North Wildwood
901 Atlantic Avenue
North Wildwood, NJ 08260
609-522-2030

North Wildwood City Council
c/o North Wildwood City Clerk
901 Atlantic Avenue
North Wildwood, NJ 08260
609-522-2030
Last edited by Mr Wildwood on Sun Jun 06, 2004 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Futura Girl » Sat Jun 05, 2004 2:25 am

Dear Mr. Wildwood,

I have found that an email campaign (in addition to written letter campaigns) has been quite effective for us here.... If you can dredge up some emails for these folks - i bet we can get even more response to your situation.

get those emails posted if you can - even if it's 1 or 2 of them...

FYI - for anyone faced with a simlar situation - go to the govenrment website of your town and look up emails there for city council members - etc. if you can't find a specific email for a specific person - i often just spoof them... i.e. i look to see how the emails to other people are formatted (name.name@domain.com OR firstinitiallastname@domain.com, etc....network guys usually use the same format for everyone on the system) and try to fake 'em out. it's a crap shoot - but sometimes you get lucky and find a *private* email that way. - now just don't abuse this secret knowledge you've just been givem, ok?


P.S.

Pleae do not think of this as a West Coast or regional forum - i really hope that eventually we can create a global community of modernists and preservationists here. I invite all people looking for connections to post and link freely on Mid Century Modern related issues.

I will never forget how much the l.a. folks impacted the palm springs city council - when they were so impressed that 'out-of-towners' drove out to speak on behalf of a building that wasn't even in their own city.

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Postby Mr Wildwood » Sun Jun 06, 2004 8:46 pm

I've updated my original post with e-mail addresses of the Wildwood Crest commissioners... they're the most important ones to contact as the borough of Wildwood Crest pretty much holds the key to saving the majority of the motels...

I'm not sure how active these e-mail addresses are, but its worth a try...

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Postby Futura Girl » Sun Jun 06, 2004 9:19 pm

Copy and paste the following list in your mailing program to mail everyone on the planning board and beyond of the Borough of Wildwood Crest:

Use the "Blind CC" option on your email program - so they won't know the whole township is being spammed. Let's stir up these guys so they start realizing what a national treasure is there. You will probably get a few bounce backs for the emails that are no good... (I will update this list as soon as i send my letter and get back the no good emails)

jpantalone@wildwoodcrest.org; mtomlin@wildwoodcrest.org; dcabrera@wildwoodcrest.org; mpreston@wildwoodcrest.org; hmitchell@wildwoodcrest.org; rcashioli@wildwoodcrest.org; tkeenan@wildwoodcrest.org; azippi@wildwoodcrest.org; scasiello@wildwoodcrest.org; prasmussen@wildwoodcrest.org; talvarado@wildwoodcrest.org; rneri@wildwoodcrest.org; skay@wildwoodcrest.org; rpetrella@wildwoodcrest.org; rcurran@wildwoodcrest.org; etroiano@wildwoodnj.org; etroianojr@wildwoodnj.org; fwager@wildwoodnj.org; fgWager@wildwoodnj.org; kbreuss@wildwoodnj.org; prhodes@wildwoodnj.org; mattc@wildwoodnj.org; gball@wildwoodnj.org; jmggallagher@wildwoodnj.org; jgallagher@wildwoodnj.org; djones@wildwoodnj.org; kbreuss@wildwoodnj.org; ckelleher@wildwoodnj.org; llauriello@wildwoodnj.org; kmcguire@wildwoodnj.org; jjackson@wildwoodnj.org; cjohnson@wildwoodnj.org; wmitchell@wildwoodnj.org; pholcombe@wildwoodnj.org; dfleming@wildwoodnj.org; wdavenport@wildwoodnj.org; dromeo@wildwoodnj.org; wrafferty@wildwoodnj.org;
Joyce Russell@wildwoodnj.org;

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wildwood nj

Postby mr. tiki » Fri Jun 25, 2004 7:54 pm


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wildwood nj

Postby babs ocean ave » Sun Jun 27, 2004 3:29 pm


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Postby Caledonia » Sun Jun 27, 2004 5:27 pm


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Why should you care about historic preservation?

Postby migeulito » Mon Jun 28, 2004 7:38 am


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wildwood condos

Postby mr. tiki » Mon Jun 28, 2004 6:49 pm

Returning after being away for just a month, I was amazed to see several blocks of WW Crest had vanished at the end of Ocean Ave....it is disorienting. And there are hundreds more structures due to fall after the summer, yet most of these ugly new vinyl condos aren't even occupied. The preservation society number has been disconnected. A lot of the streets are blocked off by construction equipment.

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demolitions

Postby Mr Wildwood » Tue Jun 29, 2004 10:52 am

It's really just stupifying to see what's going on in the Wildwoods (particularly Wildwood Crest) right now... its starting to go way beyond the typical "preservationists vs. developers" battle that goes on to a certain degree in any city... I'm sure no one in the Wildwoods expected to save every single one of the hundreds of motels that were still standing even just a few years ago, but no one could have ever predicted it would come to this... this has just escalated into an inexplicable debacle thats going to bury the Wildwoods for years to come... It was the discovery and publicity of the Wildwoods' amazingly well-preserved collection of mid-century architecture that acted as the very basis for the town's revival and re-discovery just a few years ago (prior to that, Wildwood was close to being a dead zone with no investment or development whatsoever, hence the inadvertent preservation). Now, at the same time that Wildwood is getting media attention from all over the world for its 1950s architecture and tourists are starting to come here from all over the country just to see the mid-century motels they're reading so much about, the small network of over-connected politicians and developers that run the Wildwoods are throwing the preservation movement to the wind (or actually, more like prentending it never even existed) in the face of the hot real estate market and we are literally going from having the largest collection of 1950s resort architecture in the country to perhaps having no more than a handful of noteworthy buildings around town, no more than the average shore town manages to save... its getting that bad, and its absolutely unbelievable... unfortuntely, the Wildwoods suffer from a terribly outmoded culture where no one trusts the next person and everyone just wants to take for themselves while they can, even when everyone would actually stand to benefit much more by cooperating with a long-term vision... (not that greed and short-sightedness doesn't exist everywhere, but its accompanied by a new level of ignorance in Wildwood)... developers have carte blanche to build anything, anywhere, regardless of how it fits in to any long-term plan for the city... its one heck of an uphill battle for the preservationists (and I'll be the first to admit that the preservationists aren't being as pro-active as they need to be, but then I'm not sure how much they can really do when the town has pretty much explicitly stated that it doesn't care) and since there are no enforced guidelines for redevelopment, new buildings are as cheaply constructed and non-contextual with their surroundings as they can possibly be... its a case of just squeezing as much short-term value out of the land as can possibly be squeezed out for the few who are priveleged enough to be involved in the game, with total disregard for the residents, the local business community, the workers, the tourists and everyone else involved in the Wildwoods economy, present and future... and it has become just that, a game... properties are being sold, re-sold, re-sold and re-sold before anything is even built... historic buildings are being torn down before anyone even has a plan for what's going to replace them, and once the cheap condos and townhouses are in fact constructed, the process continues, re-selling, re-selling, and re-selling before anyone actually moves in... nobody is actually living in these new condos, they're just speculative investments based on a hyper-inflated real estate market that has been continuing to inflate but is long overdue to burst... its like a real estate investment game and the Wildwoods are acting as the field that the game is being played on from some remote location... when the real estate boom is over and its no longer profitable for these people to play the game, the Wildwoods will be left with a wasteland of residential overdevelopment that is incapable of supporting the town's tourism-based economy and the unique mid-century atmosphere which brought so much attention to the Wildwoods will be gone, leaving the town with very little to promote itself as at a time when the town as whole is still far from being fully revived, despite what the real estate agents will tell you...

Now I don't want to sound all doom and gloom, I certainly hope we can get things turned around, but this is the direction the Wildwoods are heading in if things don't turn around quickly...

There could literally be continous blocks and blocks worth of flattened, vacant land in Wildwood Crest this winter after all the motels are demolished following the summer tourist season... never seen anything like it...

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Postby mr. tiki » Fri Jul 16, 2004 1:42 pm

.....so I get this right from the WW Crest planning board...just this week 7 more motels applying to get rubbed..... in several cases they had new owners , trying to make a go of it, but are edgy since business is off and developers are still offering good $$$ .
The Cape May Arts Center says the Doowop Museum/Preservation is closed but referred to a Doowop Museum that sells elvis posters on the boardwalk. Is that supposed to be educational? Or promote awareness of what should be saved?

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Postby Mr Wildwood » Fri Jul 16, 2004 4:14 pm

Which 7 motels are you speaking of? Can you provide any details?

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Postby T.O. MidMod » Tue Jul 20, 2004 12:35 pm

Hi there everyone,

I'm from Toronto, Canada and I just got back from a week-long vacation in Wildwood Crest (the Kona Kai) about a month ago and was so shocked with all the recent and impending demolitions that I wrote something for the Philadelphia Inquirer. It was published yesterday. I would've let you all know sooner, but I just sent it in to them and they ran it without telling me! I found out when I checked my messages last night and the owner of the Kona Kai was on there thanking me for the publicity.

It was all romantic and flowery and a great piece of prose called "A Canadian's Ode to Wildwood" and about 1400 words and they whittled it down until it looked more like a news story (and clocked in at maybe 800 words) and called it "Easy Does It, Wildwood". They took out the mention of "Neon" Fred's amazing museum of rescued neon signs in downtown Wildwood too, which I was sorry to see but hey, that's the newspaper biz for you.

I'll give you the direct link but it's one of those things where you have to register before you can read the whole story:

http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/sear ... y=wildwood

If any (or all) of you are interested, I can cut and paste the whole unedited version of the article here on the Lottalivin bulletin board. Just let me know.

Dave

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Postby lavardera » Tue Jul 20, 2004 1:40 pm

well done Dave :cheers:
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Thanks

Postby migeulito » Tue Jul 20, 2004 7:47 pm

Dave, thanks so much for the article. Please spread the word up in Canada that we need help. I'm always proud to see Canadian license plates in town. One thing is that Wildwood is supportive of DWPL, its Wildwood Crest that shows no civic pride in celebrating its Doo Wop heritage.

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Postby mr. tiki » Wed Jul 21, 2004 7:02 pm

Yes Dave, a very good article. It shows how some are concerned yet others blatantly deny it. Its good someone is saving the signs. As for the teardowns, depending on who you talk to at various city halls (too many for one island!), its the same...the right person can be cooperative, others are smug and nasty. Does anyone know if an historic district is now in force here?

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Postby Adriene » Fri Jul 23, 2004 12:49 am

Dave, I would very much like to read the entire unedited article.

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Postby T.O. MidMod » Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:43 am

Glad to...here it is:

A Canadian’s Ode to Wildwood
-Dave LeBlanc

For a brief moment I felt a twinge and a chill ran up my spine. As I stood on the corner framing the Caribbean Motel in the jerky bluish frame of my digital camera, a little tyke with a brush-cut scurried barefoot down the hovering, curvaceous “Jetsons” ramp to the grove of artificial palms that sheltered the pool. Since it was twilight, the off-kilter recessed lighting twinkled like blue, green, yellow and red planets above each and every little efficiency unit where his mother and father sat watching his gleeful descent. The long, low banana-colored building complete with leaning plate-glass windows and baby blue neon sign cradled the entire scene like the flannel-clad arms of a pipe-smoking, Vitalis-smelling Dad from a 1950s advertising graphic. Had I stood there any longer, I could have convinced myself that it was 1954 rather than 2004. America had just won the war, invented the suburban middle class and had such grand expectations for the future that it was decided to build it early…in Wildwood, New Jersey.

Wildwood hasn’t changed much since the builders rolled up their blueprints and zoomed off in their rocket cars a half-century ago. It’s endured flower power, Nixon, yuppies and post-modern angst and resisted the temptation to reinvent itself for each new generation, hoping that sun, sand and a clean room would suffice and so far that’s been true. Its proximity to Quebec, New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia means sunbathers continue to fill the Lollipop, Bel Air, Royal Canadian, Astronaut, Biscayne and Chateau Bleu motels as they’ve been doing for decades. The Wildwoods may be pushing 60 and graying around the edges, but they’re as successful as ever.

So why all the recent demolitions?

The view is much the same from my 3rd floor window at the Kona Kai, a 1968 Polynesian-themed motel in Wildwood Crest. Straight ahead is the faux-Asian splendor of the Singapore and the big, bold Royal Hawaiian with its flying saucer perched on top; the backside of the Ocean View’s asymmetrical roofline is off to my left and all around is the jumble of rooftop signs that read like a veritable textbook of mid-20th century font styles. But, in the 5 years since I was here last, there are a good number of vistas that are quite different. City planners have allowed a condominium construction boom and the result has been the loss of a number of irreplaceable “Doo Wop” style gems (the local Doo Wop Preservation League coined the term “Doo Wop” to describe Wildwood’s unique style of architecture; for more information see www.doowopusa.org ).

The Ebb Tide Motel, with its leaning walls meant to symbolize the tides, is all washed up. The Casa Nova Motel has gone supernova and the abandoned Motel Martinique lays in siege surrounded by weeds sprouting from cracks in the asphalt. The Caribbean is up for sale at the bargain price of $2.5 million, which probably means there’ll be a condo sitting there the next time I come to town. When my wife and I went looking for Luigi’s, that perfectly preserved 1960’s-era Italian restaurant—the kind of place Sinatra would have held court—it was, as the Chairman might have put it “gone, baby” along with the entire city block upon which it used to sit.

It’s rumored the Wildwood Diner—which is actually two diners joined together—and the Satellite Motel may be next. I first read about the Satellite Motel in a wonderfully detailed 1986 book on 1950s design called Populuxe by Thomas Hine, who was then the Inquirer’s architecture and design critic. Describing the Satellite as an “elaborate piece of space age folk art,” he reasoned that the entire Wildwood motelscape was so wonderfully preserved because “the location is still good but the land is not so valuable and the business not so good that larger building[s] must be erected.” Even then, in 1986, Mr. Hines predicted that the style’s days were numbered since the motels “which were cheap to begin with, are showing their age badly and will probably be renovated in a fashion that appears more up-to-date.”

I’m noticing small things too. Some of the bigger motels don’t bother to open up their attached restaurants anymore and neon that’s burnt out looks like it’s been that way for awhile (C’mon Ala Moana, light up your neon tiki head! And Sandcastle, what’s with the bent-over and falling down letters?). The “Doo Wop Trolley Tour” isn’t run by the Doo Wop Preservation League anymore but by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and at the League’s headquarters at Pacific and Pine Avenues the attached “museum” of rescued and restored neon signs is as empty as the beach in February. This despite it being one of the coolest places in downtown Wildwood with its glorious collection of photographs, period furniture and an amazing collection of kitschy lamps that would sell for thousands of dollars in Manhattan.

When I brought my wife into The Satellite to show her some of the original details, the lady behind the desk seemed almost angry when she told me “there’s nothing very fifties about this building anymore.” Nope, just the roof shaped like a boomerang, the atomic-inspired railings and floating staircase in the lobby.

To be fair, some owners do get it, even if they’re not entirely sure what “Doo Wop”, “Googie” or “Midcentury Modern” architectural styles are. Ralph DiCicco, owner of the 1968 Kona Kai at Ocean Avenue and Orchid Road for the past 5 years, told me how he had the gas-fed outdoor torches repaired for just a few hundred bucks. “I love those,” he told me while shaking his head in amazement at the previous owner’s neglect. His wife Joanne said they’re getting a few more artificial palm trees (so ubiquitous in Wildwood they’ve been given the botanical name Palmus Plasticus Wildwoodii) and that they might even replace the outdoor tiki statues that were stolen if they can find someone to carve new ones. It’s also well known in Wildwood preservation circles that the Pink Champaign Motel used original blueprints to recreate their neon sign when they discovered it needed replacement. Let’s hope these examples are not just blips on the radar but a trend towards a full preservation of Wildwood as a listed member of the National Register of Historic Places. While this is something the League is working on, a look at their website’s “Demolition Watch” is disheartening, to say the least.

The reasons for the demolitions are simple, I guess. Motel owners who’ve had enough of the upkeep on a 40-50 year old building find it hard to say no when checks with over-inflated values are waved under their noses. City planners approve motel demolitions because there are so many of them it hardly seems to make a difference to lose a few here and there. Besides, the city makes more revenue from a multiple-owner property like a glitzy new condominium than on a single-owner motel property. And who really cares about Doo Wop architecture and the families who use the old motels, right? Money talks.

Well, the charm of this little seaside resort is that it never tried to do the glitzy thing to attract tourists or investors. Working class folk from Yonkers or Hoboken didn’t want Vegas—they have Atlantic City for that—they wanted a nice beach, comfortable rooms and a place to buy pizza for the kids (the best is Mack’s on the Boardwalk, in case you didn’t know). Sure, there was room for modernity or exotica as far as motel names or motifs (there had to be something to distinguish these nearly identical low-rise post-and-beam structures from one another), but not the blatant flash and sizzle of Vegas or the exclusivity of Palm Beach. Beach towns are all about relaxation, a slower pace of life, tacky souvenir shops and funnel-cakes. That’s exactly what Wildwood still is, and should continue to be.

Wildwood is a time warp. It smells of sea-salt, salt-water taffy, suntan lotion and sunshine. At night, blinking neon signs flick jumpy red and green shadows along the sidewalk like cigarette butts, making it seem like you’ve walked out of a 3-D movie with the glasses still affecting your vision while cutting into the bridge of your sunburnt nose. Cars packed with noisy teens glide up and down Ocean Avenue and dogs still leap for frisbees or pieces of driftwood like they’ve done for the last 50 years. Fading jaunty letters sing out: “Air conditioned”, “Vacancy”, “Color TV” and “Reasonable Rates” to the bleary-eyed traveler. Lobbies are like lanterns shining their wares of modernity and comfort through huge panes of glass.

This is the language of the 1950s beach town. A language Wildwood speaks well.

Are Wildwood’s government officials listening?


-Dave LeBlanc is a radio producer and freelance writer based in Toronto, Canada. Contact him at dave.leblanc@cfrb.com

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Postby Mr Wildwood » Fri Jul 23, 2004 2:10 pm

Great article Dave... really disturbing to hear that the Satellite owners don't even think there's anything special about their building that they're demolishing, while in reality that motel is one of a handful of "trophy motels" in the Wildwoods that have been at the heart of this whole preservation and promotion effort from the beginning... if the Satellite "isn't very '50s" then I'm not sure what is... i'd say its one of the top 3 buildings in the Wildwoods, and by far the best example of the "boomerang" roof...

And to think the owner of the Satellite is on the Wildwood Crest planning board... don't know the details of the meeting where the plans were approved, but I'll give the benefit of the doubt (I hope) that he excused himself from the voting about demolishing his own building... but just the fact that the people who are supposed to be guiding and planning the future of Wildwood Crest are allowing all these landmarks to be indiscriminately demolished and even more importantly, replaced with buildings that are not only completely out-of-context architecturally, but don't properly serve the needs of the local economy (100% of new construction in the past 3 years in the Wildwoods has been condos... no exaggeration... nothing but condos... no commercial growth, no new hotels, no new retail... and in many cases, the condos are taking the place of the hotels and commercial properties that drive the economy... in a town who's economy is completely based on tourism)... the zoning laws are inadequate or simply not enforced, there are no local incentives for preservation and restoration (despite the impending National Register listing for the motel district) and developers can get a variance for just about anything they want to do right now, and it's very troubling... if there was ever a town that could actually benefit from preservation its the Wildwoods... the Wildwoods need the hotel rooms to support the tourism economy in the first place and the unique architecture of the would-be "Doo Wop Historic District" could be the Wildwoods' identity and selling point for tourism... what's being allowed to happen now just doesn't make sense on so many levels...

Just to give everyone an idea of what's actually going on down there, here are some photos:

ImageImage
The old Schumann's Restaurant (changed to Hudson's Restaurant in its final year), built in 1954 and demolished in 2003 to make way for the condos pictures below... The Satellite Motel is on the adjacent lot. Photo on the right is courtesy of Smithsonian Mag - more than half of the motels featured in that 2003 article are now gone or soon to be gone.

Image
From what I can tell, these condos have been predominantly vacant thus far... either they aren't selling, or if they have, no one's renting...

Image
The Satellite Motel. You can see how messy the development looks with the completely clashing styles of architecture (not that the condo actually has much of a style) built right up on top of one another. The restaurant and the motel used to look so great next to one another. Now, I'm pretty sure the same developer (Edgewater Properties, I believe) that knocked down the restaurant and built the condos has bought the Satellite Motel and plans to build the exact same condo building on the site.

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Postby lavardera » Fri Jul 23, 2004 6:07 pm

:sick:
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Postby babs ocean ave » Sat Jul 24, 2004 8:21 pm

Its not difficult to find what motels are coming down. The Carousel, Satellite, Tahiti,Cavalier, Tally Ho, Siesta, Tides, Swan (again?)..Blue Jay, Jay's, many more and this is just Wildwood Crest. All of North Wildwood, whom you never mention, is due to fall save perhaps a dozen motels. A lot of these places were held up with tape and string.

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Postby babs ocean ave » Sat Jul 24, 2004 8:22 pm

Its not difficult to find what motels are coming down. The Carousel, Satellite, Tahiti,Cavalier, Tally Ho, Siesta, Tides, Swan (again?)..Blue Jay, Jay's, many more and this is just Wildwood Crest. All of North Wildwood, whom you never mention, is due to fall save perhaps a dozen motels. A lot of these places were held up with tape and string.

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demos

Postby mr. tiki » Mon Aug 02, 2004 4:03 pm

I wouldn't be so sure as to what motels are coming down. Just because a permit was applied for doesn't ensure it will happen. The tide may be turning here. In our research there is now a general feeling that the condos are a big mistake. Sales have slowed. Many lots no longer have builder's signs. Articles have been appearing asking for a slowdown and zoning has been changed to make builders more responsible for a better appearance. Amazingly we found a motel, The Blue Chateau, that is on the national register. But nothing else. Everyone avoided the preservation issue. But the beach and boardwalk remain crowded. Hopefully when we return next year some better planning will be at hand.

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My 2 cents

Postby modfan » Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:54 am

Seems from the pictures that it's very much the situation of early 60's Venice Ca. pre MDR. Big plans ensued and a lotta stuff was demo'ed
and big blocky apt. bldgs. went up-creating a cavernous streetscape, it seems to have subsided somewhat, altho L A County wants to Wilshire Blvdize the Marina just to get the $, it's all in the works, and folks are not being encouraged to keep their boatslips as residences. Too much development will kill any attraction that's made it a place to go in the first place-how many times does it take for folks to learn-too much will kill the goose with the golden egg.

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Postby lavardera » Tue Aug 03, 2004 8:14 am

They really need to take this bull by the horns down there. I am afraid that the historic designation and the protection of the buildings will work to save the buildings but also create lots of bad will among the property owners who may miss a chance to "cash-out" as they no doubt see it. A similar problem is faced in rural areas that are threatened by the advance of suburban development and a mechanism called "Transfer of Development Rights" or TDR. This is used to mitigate the conflicting goals. This is an alternative to building moratoriums which prevent farmers from selling their land and realizing their development value. With TDR a development area is defined where building is allowed at a higher density. Developers seeking to build in that zone are only allowed to achieve the higher density by purchasing additional development rights from the farmer landowners who are outside of the development zone. The farms remain undeveloped and retain their agricultural value, and the farmers still extract development value from it. It is a case of having your cake and eating it too! This process has to be carefully designed defining target densities and balancing it against the credits that the transferred development rights will allow.

Now in the Wildwoods this process could be adapted to allow for protected historic structures to be preserved while still extracting development value from them. There would have to be a designation of development areas where a perk of higher density or higher value use is allowed, balanced against historic properties restricted from demolition and bestowed with development credits that could be sold to builders seeking to build greater value with the defined development area. Now the hotel owners can cash out of the property completely if the wish, or stay and sell development rights, putting the money into restoration or retirement as they wish. Now the conflict of wills is gone, and everybody can win. But the process has to be carefully designed to achieve a balance, and the towns have to take the steps required to make it happen.
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I guess TDR's have to be structured right

Postby modfan » Tue Aug 03, 2004 9:06 am

To work. The tried it in the Victoria Ave. area of Riverside to save the citrus groves from sprawl development-it's had limited success-the citrus groves don't disappear so rapidly but the development pressures are severe, I think because most of the area affected was already annexed to the city. Another approach has been a property tax (ie a sprawl tax) levied in some counties-Sonoma County comes to mind-it supposedly has been successful but the results need to be measured over a longer timeframe. There is a URL for them but I don't remember it-check google under "Sonoma County" and I'm sure you can find out more.

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race for open space

Postby mlagirl80 » Wed Aug 25, 2004 1:29 am

hi -
while lurking about the boards i ran across this thread, i've been a bit behind because i was working a lot until recently, so this is a very good excuse!... anyhoos, i remember hearing about the situation in wildwood last year here i think... and just happened to be watching klcs pbs chan. 58 here in LA last night and they had a special called "the race for open space" (which was probably a rerun) but it focused specifically on new jersey and i was thinking there is a correllation here... albeit the special was mostly about suburban sprawl and wetlands, i think it had some great points which relate to the situation in wildwood: the real estate market, the seperation of communities and societies, livable neighborhoods, nothing but residences and having to DRIVE everywhere.... anyhoos, it was a very interesting special, thought some of you jersey folks might find it interesting and maybe even something that could help your cause.... m... :cheers:
http://www.njn.net/community/projects/openspace/

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Postby bearch » Mon Sep 13, 2004 6:06 am

We drove through Wildwood this past weekend on the way back from Delaware after taking the Cape May - Lewes Ferry.

It seems that the destruction of the older motels is not the only problem. Even when one of the motels has not been raised to clear the land, the new development is simply banal. Unlike Cape May, where they seem to have adopted the Victorian as part of what they are, Wildwood does not seem to have embraced the Doo-Woop style. I don't know if they have some sort of design review in Cape May, but they do seem to build new buildings that are compatible with the older Victorians. With the exception of the Star Lux and a diner we passed, it seems most of the new development in Wildwood is being done in a style that could just as easily be found in Wassau or Omaha. Elements of the Doo-Woop could be incorporated in the new condos being built to make them more appropriate to the place where they are being built. Seems such a shame that they don't recognize or appreciate what they have.

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Postby Lynxwiler » Mon Sep 13, 2004 5:00 pm


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Postby Mr Wildwood » Tue Sep 21, 2004 4:57 pm

bearch-

This is precisely the problem that is plaguing the Wildwoods right now... it's one thing to lose some of the motels, but its a double-whammy when motels in the would-be Doo Wop historic district are torn down and replaced with completely non-contextual, generic-as-can-be new condo construction. Unfortunately, so few people in this town understand the big picture of maintaining a distinctive character for the resort. It's not just about preserving history, it's about nurturing something unique and exciting for the future.

It has been a major objective of the Doo Wop Preservation League to establish and enforce design guidelines that would at least require new construction in the historic zone to incorporate elements of Doo Wop architecture into their designs to be compatible with the surrounding motels as to maintain and contribute to the character of the district. The city of Wildwood proper has recently adopted an ordinance which should accomplish this (no hotels/motels can be torn down for condos, only new hotel development which, I believe, must incorporate Doo Wop design). However, the borough of Wildwood Crest (a separate municipality with its own mayor and commissioners), where most of the original motels are located, is still not on board with this and pretty much has no clue. As such, they continue to approve every plan that comes before them for new condos in the proposed historic district, most of which are recycled plans of generic townhouse-style construction which is slowly but surely covering the island. It's getting to look very messy with terribly inconsistent development patterns, clashing architectural styles and inappropriate mixing of residential and commercial. A case study of how NOT to go about city planning.

It is basically the position of the DWPL at this point that we are not necessarily looking for freeze-dried preservation; we encourage renovations, expansions and additions to existing buildings, or even new construction where preservation is not feasible, but we want all of this to be done in a way that maintains and "amplifies" the Doo Wop character of Wildwood.

As an example, a developer is currently planning to demolish the Satellite Motel, one of our best landmarks, to build new condos on the site... the DWPL has drawn up a rendering of how the most distinctive part of the motel, the lobby with its glass walls and boomerang roof, could be preserved while allowing for expansion or re-development of the remainder of the property (with a design that is consistent with Doo Wop/Modern) to add new hotel/condo units to make the project equally if not more profitable (either as a hotel or as a "condo-hotel" with rooms converted and sold as privately owned units).

The current motel:
Image

The developers current plans for new condos:
(A carbon copy of the condos they built on the adjacent site where another unique Doo Wop building was demolished)
Image

The DWPL proposal for preserving and expanding the existing motel:
Image

The developer of the property is Edgewater Properties.
http://www.edgewaterprop.com/
609-780-0626
info@edgewaterprop.com

If anyone is interested, perhaps a steady stream of e-mails/calls to the developer expressing support for the DWPL concept of preserving features of the original building and expanding with new hotel/condo units rather than demolishing would help make them re-consider their plans. Might be helpful to include the rendering in any e-mails you may send.


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