Construction Official Pat Newton served representatives of the owner of the former Bellevue Hotel at Eighth Street and Ocean Avenue with an order to immediately demolish the building, Director of Communty Services Jim Mallon said in a news statement released on Thursday evening.
Severe structural damage to the hotel discovered on Aug. 26 led to the order, Mallon said. The Ocean City Fire Department and the Ocean City Police Department responded to reports that a wall of the building appeared to be bowing outward and separating from the roof.
"Further investigation found that the weight from a large volume of water sitting on various parts of the roof was causing stress on the structural elements of the building," Mallon said. The Fire Department used portable pumps to remove much of the water.
Rain over the past several days has again pooled on the roof causing further damage, according to Mallon.
The city contracted with structural engineer Lamont Czar to inspect and provide a report on the condition of the building. Czar’s report confirmed the earlier findings of the construction official and city engineer and concluded that the building should be demolished immediately in the interests of public safety.
The City will be obtaining price quotes from qualified contractors to undertake the demolition should the owner be unable or unwilling to do so, Mallon said. If the city undertakes the demolition, he said, a lien will be placed on the property to recoup the costs in accordance with state law.
“I appreciate the swift actions taken by our professionals in several departments in response to this problem," Mayor Jay Gillian said. "It was imperative to me that this threat to public safety be addressed in short order.”
The northbound lane on the 700 block of Ocean Avenue and the adjacent sidewalk have remained closed since the discovery of the structural damag.
The property had been for age-restricted housing that could help Ocean City meet its affordable housing obligation.