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Abandoned Bellevue Hotel Declared Unsafe After Water Damage

Part of Ocean Avenue near the hotel remains closed to traffic.

City inspectors declared the empty Bellevue Hotel unsafe on Monday and closed the street and sidewalk near where an exterior wall was left bulging under the weight of collected rain water.

The northbound lane on the 700 block of Ocean Avenue and the adjacent sidewalk remain closed as city officials continue to assess the structural damage to the abandoned hotel at the corner of Eighth Street and Ocean Avenue.

The Ocean City Fire Department and the Ocean City Police Department responded on Sunday to reports of the potential structural problems at the six-story hotel.  Further investigation found that a large volume of water was sitting on various parts of the roof. The Fire Department used portable pumps to remove much of the water.

On Monday, the property was inspected by city code enforcement officials and the city engineer. An unsafe structure notice has been forwarded to representatives of the owner. The owner will be required to take measures to make the structure safe to the satisfaction of the local construction official. 

There is a process by which the Construction Official may ultimately order the structure to be partially or fully demolished. No such determination has been made at this time.  There was no one in the building at the time of the incident.

The property has been for age-restricted housing that could help Ocean City meet its affordable housing obligation.

Eyeonu August 27, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Now that this site is being considered for COAH, it had to be taken out off he table. Your (3) at large councilmen were against this site from day 1. Lets not forget their campaign contributors were the hotel / motel association, the boardwalk merchants, and many members of the Asbury Merchants group. Two of the three have businesses within blocks of the Bellevue, and to insure their ability to control situations like this these groups will even hire unemployed council people. I would suggest we now move the COAH units to the St. Augustine School, you know right there by Boyers Market.
Gabriella Fields August 28, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Interesting suggestion to move the COAH units to St. Augustine School. I don't know that anybody else has thought of this. Great idea!!!
Silver Mariposa August 28, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Although sorry to see this grand ole dam die this way, I am just glad this happened before OC jumped without thinking (or research) to buy this property and then get stuck with the costs of tearing it down and haz waste cleanup. RIP old friend.
Salt E Water August 28, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Funny, some members of the Planning Board were actively lobbying to remove the Bellevue from the Historic District so it could be knocked down. One happens to own an Inn across the street. The owner has left the building sit idle for a year, the typical move to declare a building is beyond repair and dangerous to justify its demolition in front of the Historic Commission. Now in one o the driest summer on record a pond of water appears on the roof of the Bellevue declaring it unsafe. So...where did all the water come from? A leaking pipe -- and the owner didn't realize he was getting a really high water bill on an empty building? Nothing suspicious here.....
anonymous August 28, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Wasn't this place declared unsafe in the 90's !?!
Salt E Water August 28, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Well if it was if has been occupied since then -- so it must have been made safe.
John Fischer August 28, 2012 at 03:08 PM
What is a COAH unit?
Eric Sauder August 28, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Council On Affordable Housing. Basically low income housing.
Newell138 August 28, 2012 at 04:44 PM
hello, we just got a bunch of rain the other night. There is not always a 2nd shooter on the grassy knoll
anonymous August 28, 2012 at 05:04 PM
There hasn't been hot water in that place since 1998. The city has more than enough money to buy the property, totally rehab it and bring back the "historic district" rather than try and let it die off piece by piece. What would be the harm in that? Not enough extra money for politicians to pocket? Not enough money to buy more new boardwalk wood that will never be used? It doesn't have the name Gillian's in the title? This would help local construction employment and bring in hundreds of new jobs...think about that while your all bowing to Mitt Romney on TV tonight ! It's called historic because it's part of this towns history not juts some old ratty pos. I know no one cares about history or old tasteful architecture and would much rather see some 3 story cookie cutter condos covered in white azak with another frozen yogurt store below.
Libby Liess August 29, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Wow, there are a lot of comments here that are completely off. I have owned the restaurant/apt building next to the Bellevue since June of 2005. The truth is the Bellevue has not been property maintained for a long long time. The building has been completely neglected to the point where it is beginning to collapse, and these sarcastic comments are made to everyone but the owners. That is ridiculous. The roof blew off the Bellevue a year or two ago which also closed down the roadways and no work was ever done to repair it. Water has been pouring into the building ever since. The building needs to be demolished...... it is a danger to the block. It is a neat old historical building for sure, but neglect has destroyed it.
Salt E Water August 29, 2012 at 05:23 PM
If we simply tore down every historic building for owner neglect there would not be any more. That is the typical scenario every time someone wants to tear down a historic building in the Historic District. Owner allows building to fall apart -- owner claims it cannot be saved and has to be torn down. The city should enforce its maintenance ordinances, especially when the public is at risk. Attend some of the meetings of the Historic Commission and you will see the same story over and over. The owner certainly cannot claim he didn't know the building was old or in need of repair when he bought it.
Libby Liess August 29, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Salt E Water........"The city should enforce its maintenance ordinances"..........that is a completely different subject. Does the owner want to tear down the Bellevue? Im thinking not. My building has 7 units and a restaurant and I am continuously bombarded with inspections from the state, insurance companies, fire inspections, on and on. I don't know how the Bellevue has been allowed to get to this point. The owners are responsibe for this mess.
Neil Rosen August 30, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Wouldn't it be nice if the buidling could be preserved? Instead of even considering demolishing the building, why not seeking registering the building as a National Historic Property? I envision this building being restored, ideally as a LEED certified building helping to keep the historic character of this town.
Neil Rosen August 30, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that the wall the is bowing is not in and of itself structural...certainly the cladding currently on the building isn't original. Has there been an evaluation of the physical structure of the building by a structural engineer???
oceancity4 me September 01, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Don't you remeber that torrential downpour that we had the second week in August? The streets were FLOODED more than normal. We had water in our basement for the 1st time in 10 years!!!
oceancity4 me September 01, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Sorry but there was hot water in the fall of 2010.
oceancity4 me September 01, 2012 at 12:33 AM
The owner tried but I think he underestimated the costs..I don't see anyone else stepping up to the plate with deep pockets but at least he tried. And sorry ut the roof was repaired. If it had not been repaired then there would not have been standing water on the roof for the Fire Department to pump off. The water would have been inside the building.
Gabriella Fields September 01, 2012 at 01:40 AM
There has been an engineer that has been hired to evaluate the building.
Sandy Gorman Adolf September 04, 2012 at 10:05 AM
My Father owned the Bellevue Hotel from about 1944 to 1960. I was born in Somers Point Hospital and spent every summer growing up at the hotel with my brother, sister, cousins and Aunts and Uncles. My brother and I had - a somewhat small given our age - part in running the hotel. I think we should preserve some of the good times and things that are left for us to pass on and not rush to do away with them for something that is expedient and has no history. You probably didn't know that one summer, Margret Hamilton stayed at the hotel...yes, she was The Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz. I was thrilled and amazed! Even though she was not wearing that pointed hat. I remember the pictures in my Dad's office...alot of him with people and they were signed. I only remember Margret and the one of him and BIlly Graham, but there were more. The lobby had hugh oriental rugs and a baby grand piano. THe front porch had big green awnings and rocking chairs lined the whole length. Every night after the dining room closed the guests, and our family, would sit and rock and talk...there was a lot more... My summers there were some of the best days if my life. I have a cousin who is retired from the police force and has lived in Ocean City most of his life. He's got his own stories. And I'm sure some include me!
Libby Liess September 05, 2012 at 01:42 AM
I agree these things should be preserved. Why don't you buy the building, since it is up for sale, and make all this happen!
Neil Rosen September 05, 2012 at 09:35 AM
Just before this incident I was in OC and saw the Bellevue empty and padlocked. I found out that it was for sale and sent an inquiry in to Berger. Never got a response. Since then the property has been pulled from the market. Let's see what the structural engineer has to say...
Sandy Gorman Adolf September 05, 2012 at 12:55 PM
In responce to Libby L. I have millions of memories and stories about my life and times at the Bellevue, I just don't have the same number of dollars to match them.
Libby Liess September 08, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Sandy, that is the bottom line.......everyone wants some say as to whether the building will be torn down, everyone wants it to be restored. But you need to own the building in order to have any say as to what happens to it. Your memories are precious and you should cherish them, but at this point in its state of decay, the building needs to come down.
Salt E Water September 12, 2012 at 01:02 AM
The city should share the engineers report-then everyone's questions would be answer. The building is on the National Registry.
Gabriella Fields September 12, 2012 at 01:52 AM
The owner is the one who hired the engineer. How would the city be able to share something they don't have?
Salt E Water September 12, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Ann, the City hired its own engineer to evaluate the building. The report is dictating whether the building should come down. If the engineer's report says tear it down - it can't be fixed and it is a danger - so be it. I spoke with a councilman who told me that the City has already decided to tear it down and is already getting bids.
Sandy Gorman Adolf September 14, 2012 at 01:38 PM
If the Hotel presents a real danger to the City, they have to bring it down. Is the the whole building a hazard?...I didn't know it was on the National Registry. Is there some sort of process you have to go through to demolish one of those sites?

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