By MAUREEN L. CAWLEY
WILDWOOD – The recreation center here was sold to the first and only bidder for $950,000 at 3 p.m. on April 19. Will and Jack Morey, of the Morey Organization, and John and P. Martin Way, of Wildwood Crest, won the bid under the name Port Royal, Inc., a corporation named for another co-owned property, the Port Royal Motor Inn at Palm Avenue and the beach in Wildwood Crest.
In a statement released Tuesday, April 26, Morey Hospitality spokesperson Joanne Rhoads said that the organization is “currently exploring opportunities for a Starlux expansion.”
The Morey’s own and operate The Starlux, a DooWop-style boutique motel, which they took a gamble on in 2000, when the island’s much-trumpeted comeback was not yet certain. The organization also owns the parking lot at northeast corner of Atlantic and Rio Grande avenues, where they offer “unique accommodations” in a classic Airstream Trailer.
The addition of the recreation center property, at 243 Rio Grande Ave. will now give the organization sufficient space to undertake a large-scale project with high visibility at the gateway to the island.
The Starlux and its proposed expansion site are just one block west of the 25-story Nouveau Wave Hotel that is proposed to replace the Rio Motel at Rio Grande and Ocean avenues.
Rhoads said that the expansion “will be consistent with the mid-century design of the Starlux, and also with the unique personality of the Wildwoods' beach and Boardwalk.
Mayor Ernie Troiano said he was happy to see that the Moreys and the Ways had won the auction.
“The funny thing is, I tried to get them to buy the property about two years and a lot less money ago, but I guess they have more money and a better idea now,” he said.
Troiano said he expects to be pleased with the outcome of the project.
“They did a great job with the Starlux,” he said, “and you would only suspect that they would follow through with their plan to bring mid-century architecture to life.”
A resolution will be passed to accept the bid from Port Royal, Inc. at the Wildwood Commissioner’s meeting on Wednesday, April 27.
Maureen Cawley can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can comment on this story by calling 624-8900, ext. 250.