67th St. parcel would be used for water plant
(Sept. 14, 2018) With the objective being a new water treatment plant, the Ocean City Council voted in closed session on Tuesday to begin condemnation proceedings for the former World Gym property on 67th Street, which also goes to public auction today at noon in a foreclosure proceeding.
Zeke’s World LLC, which had previously operated the World Gym location, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2016, with liabilities up to $10 million and no more than $500,000 in assets.
On Tuesday, Council president Lloyd Martin announced a unanimous vote taken in closed session to proceed with condemnation proceedings for 107-109 67th Street parcel, which is currently operated as the 67th Street Gym.
City Manager Doug Miller said the parcel, which includes two buildings totaling more than 12,000 total square feet, is in an area designated for a major infrastructure project.
“We’re trying to secure properties between 65th-67th streets for the purpose of tearing down and rebuilding a water treatment plant,” he said.
Miller said the city can condemn a property by demonstrating a clear public benefit.
“For the general good of all people, we can evoke our powers of condemnation,” he said. “The issue is for the public interest.”
Still, the city will need to await the conclusion of the foreclosure sale.
“The taking of another person’s property has constitutional protections,” he said. Miller said the condemnation process mandates the owner be paid fair market value, which the city will do once the property is sold.
“We notify the property owner and then the property gets appraised,” he said. “The property owner has the ability to see the appraisal, [which] they can accept, or it goes to trial.”
The proposal would be the city’s latest property acquisition in the vicinity, following its $795,000 purchase of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8296 on 66th Street last October.
Miller said if all parties are agreeable on pricing, condemnation proceedings can move relativity quickly, but other legal matters could muck up the proceedings in this instance.
“In uncomplicated issues, it’s a couple month process, but because it’s in bankruptcy court, there are more hoops to jump through,” he said.