The vacant Monaco Motel, at 111 S. Little Rock Ave. in Ventnor, has been considered an eyesore for years.

Michael Ein

The neighborhood one Realtor calls the “little SoHo of Ventnor” may soon be home to new townhomes.

The former Monaco Motel sits on the Boardwalk at 111 S. Little Rock Ave., an eyesore in the area for more than five years, said Jimmy Agnesino, the city’s code enforcement officer. But that may change if the Pennsylvania-based developers are given approvals at an April 10 Planning Board meeting in the city.

An attempt to auction the property fell through in 2009. Many buyers expressed interest in it in subsequent years, said MaryLou Ferry, owner/broker of Farley and Ferry Realty in Ventnor. She recalls people stopping on the Boardwalk frequently to look at the abandoned property.

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“People have always looked at the potential it has,” Ferry said.

She said Ventnor’s little SoHo appeals to clientele in the northern New Jersey and Cherry Hill areas, who view Ventnor as the ideal location to enjoy the beach and casinos.

“Ventnor has wonderful opportunities for being near casinos, but not on top of them. It’s residential with wonderful boutique restaurants and the Boardwalk — a plus for people who like to ride their bikes,” said Linda Magarick, with Prudential Fox and Roach.

“There has been nothing new like it in Ventnor in a long time,” Magarick said.

David Perlman, with Philadelphia Residential Development, said that if all goes well with the application process, the project may start as early as May.

“We had a 60-day delay” due to the hurricane, Perlman said. Reworking the elevation of the site cost in excess of $10,000 per home for the 27-home project, Perlman said.

The building is located next to the Regency Towers Condominium, a high-rise on the Boardwalk. For some time, the Monaco was an eyesore and was a concern for many residents, Magarick said.

When you don’t know what’s going on, it’s a reason for concern, she said. But now that a potential plan is on the table, the residents are more at ease, Magarick said.

The concern came mostly from not knowing if the abandoned building would continue to occupy the property or if another high-rise would be erected, potentially blocking the view of residents living in the luxury condo, Magarick said.

She added that because it is being proposed after Hurricane Sandy battered the area, it will be built to the standards of new flood-elevation maps, which should bring peace of mind to buyers about future storms.

“It will be the first project in Ventnor to be built to the new FEMA standards,” Perlman said.

Agnesino said the only concern the city had was that construction plans would be scrapped and the eyesore would remain in the area.

Perlman said the new homes would be priced between $799,000 and $1,290,000.

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