OCEAN CITY — Nearly two years after opening at the site of the former Perry-Egan dealership, Ocean City Chevrolet has closed its doors for good. Now the future of the property, once eyed for development of coastal cottages, is up for grabs.
The dealership, co-owned by Pennsylvania-based car dealer Ben Catanese, closed at the end of January. All the cars have been cleared from the lot and the showroom. Catanese was not available Monday for comment.
The expansive lot next door to the Ocean City Community Center is owned by cousins John Flood and Harry Klause. Flood said Monday that Chevrolet bought out the franchise. He said he owns the vacant property while the building is owned by Klause.
Flood said he is negotiating with possible future tenants for the property but deferred to Klause on the future of the building. Klause said he will continue to honor the current lease but did not say when the lease was up.
Flood is a former city councilman who earlier this month announced intentions to challenge longtime Mayor Jay Gillian in the May nonpartisan election. He is also suing the city in order to overturn the the repeal of a 2013 ordinance that allowed for undersized residential lots in the drive-in business zone, where he owns several properties.
Tax records show Klause and Flood own the majority of property from 16th to 17th streets between Simpson and Haven avenues, including the lots that house CVS, Car Caress, Jersey Shore Dental Associations, 16th Street Seafood and Ford Scott Associates.
In 2015, Flood, through his family-owned company Palmer Center LLC, received preliminary approval from the Ocean City Planning Board to build 10 “coastal cottages” on the small lot he owns across from the dealership. That lot backs up to the city-owned Emil Palmer Field, which was named for Flood and Klause’s grandfather.
Coastal cottages are a zoning use that allows the construction of two single-family homes on one lot.
Palmer Center also applied to the Planning Board in 2016 to build 10 coastal cottages at the site of the CVS, although the application was not approved.
Through another partnership called Martin-Prince LLC, Flood had planned 44 coastal cottages at the site of the dealership.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.