Development tour to showcase commercial properties
OCEAN PINES—Worcester County will host a commercial bus tour of the Lower Eastern Shore on Sept. 27 to highlight areas ripe for commercial development and familiarize potential investors with the area.
The county’s Economic Development Director Bill Badger said the tour will begin at Harrison’s Harbor Watch at the Ocean City Inlet and commence up the length of the boardwalk by tram with a guided tour of “iconic Ocean City” to 27th Street. The group will include investors and local and county officials and is scheduled to travel through Ocean City, West Ocean City, Ocean Pines and Berlin, Badger said.
The investors will be briefed on commercial sites that are ready for development or redevelopment and sites that officials would like to see developed or redeveloped in the future. Badger said the tour concept was meant to provide a fun and different way to remind investors of why the Eastern Shore is a great market for business investment.
In Ocean City, the tour will include the site of the former George B. Cropper Concrete Company at the foot of the Route 50 bridge that was purchased by the Gudelsky family in 2011. The bus tour will also make a stop at the Ocean City convention center and along Route 90, before heading westward toward the Route 50 corridor in West Ocean City, Route 589 in Ocean Pines and Route 113 in Berlin.
Representatives of the Casino at Ocean Downs will meet the bus to discuss plans for expanding the casino, after the group returns from lunch at the Sunset Grille in West Ocean City, Badger said.
Redeveloping Pines Plaza in Ocean Pines is very important to the county, he said, and the county commissioners have authorized construction for water and sewer at the property. County officials are expected to complete the bid approval process shortly so construction can be completed in late spring 2014. “We need to breathe new life into that property,” Badger said.
Similarly, the county has already signed an agreement to expand water and sewer service to West Ocean City properties along Route 50, including in front of the Wal-Mart retail complex at Ocean Landings, and is primed to encourage development of a grocery or big box store further down the road to the former Harley-Davidson building site, Badger said. The McDonald’s adjacent to the building at the Seahawk Road and Route 50 corner is expected to eventually relocate to the frontage property at the Ocean Landings complex where Wal-Mart is located, he said.
Badger also said the county was in the process of deploying the infrastructure for distributing natural gas to Berlin, including a pipeline installed across from Stephen Decatur High School.
Berlin developer John Derrickson will be on the bus to make a presentation on his property along Route 113 in Berlin, Badger said. Derrickson has already developed part of his real estate holdings in the area with the openings of an upscale Sunshine Laundry and beer and wine store, both adjacent to Derrickson’s other businesses.
Property owned by developer Troy Purnell along Old Ocean City Boulevard will also be highlighted during the bus tour, Badger said. Purnell owns a prime piece of commercial property that was the site of a former chicken processing plant, located across from Burley Oak Brewing Company. County officials would like to see that developed, Badger said.