Ocean City Today

Upgrades for UpTown Center include drive-through coffee

Planning and zoning approve java shop, retail stores to fill 123rd Street development
By Katie Tabeling | Aug 24, 2017
Courtesy of: Design Group Last week, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved plans for apartments, a coffeeshop and retail space in the UpTown Center on 123nd Street.

(Aug. 25, 2017) Unoccupied space in the UpTown Shopping Center on 123rd Street is slated to be filled with a coffee shop, retail business and two apartments following the Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval during the Aug. 15 meeting.

The drive-through coffee shop will be 2,227 square feet will be close to the center of the shopping center, while retail space, planned at 5,173 square feet, is set to line up with other structures at the back of the lot.

Two three-bedroom apartments are also planned to be built above the retail space, according to Planning Commission member and applicant Peck Miller. If that plan fell through, it could be converted to office space. The building would also include an unenclosed porch adjacent to 123rd Street.

Zoning Administrator Frank Hall said that the coffee shop was exactly what the neighboring community was looking for in that space.

“My phone’s been ringing off the hook at the rumor of a coffee shop, all favorable comments,” he said.

The retail space is architecturally designed to blend into the neighboring businesses, so that it appears it was part of the shopping center from its development.

“It’s beautiful, excellent and has stunning architecture,” Commission member Palmer Gillis said to Miller. “I love that you put your money where your mouth is and made great use out of it with mixed use. It’s a great use of the corner.”

“I’m not crazy about the design of the drive-thru, but that’s the way of the world,” Commission member Lauren Taylor said. “But you took an eyesore and made it great.”

The retail space would also be developed on land that was otherwise left unoccupied since the Saute Café Restaurant burned to the ground in 1983. The four-alarm blaze killed Ocean City firefighter Jeffery Dieter, 24, when the roof collapsed and trapped him.

“I did speak to Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company President Jay Jester about putting a small memorial there for Jeffrey Dieter,” Miller said. “A lot of people drive by there and remember that.”

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