The owner of a pair of resort jewelry stores and several other pieces of Ocean City real estate is developing a three-story condominium building at 15th Street with spacious units and waterside views.

Todd Ferrante, the owner of Park Place Jewelers, bought two lots at 1505 and 1507 St. Louis Ave. for the new project, which received unanimous site plan approval from members of the Ocean City Planning Commission on Sept. 7.

The new building will replace a one-story, four-unit residential structure known as Son Rays Condominiums. The first floor will have two units with two bedrooms, and the second and third floors will each have two units with four bedrooms. Plans include 10 parking spaces on site and seven across the street on a currently vacant lot.

Keith Iott, the architect for the project, said during the planning commission meeting that Ferrante came to him with “an interesting piece of property,” and the plans evolved from there.

“I think people are going to love it,” Iott said of the project. “… We are basically through the design documents and we’re ready to build a real good building.”

Iott called the design “unusual,” as architects were able to use the maximum density allowed for the property but managed to keep the building at three stories. He said the height works well with the other homes in the residential area. The project also includes boat slips and waterfront views.

“We’ve tried to create a very interesting streetscape by having the balconies facing east,” Iott explained. “Those will actually be great views from the east. But what we tried to do is reduce the scale of the building with our breaks in materials and colors.”

Planning Commissioner Palmer Gillis applauded Iott and his team for meeting the parking requirements for the building, which were grandfathered in 1976, with open spaces instead of garages. Gillis has pushed against new town house and condo developments including enclosed garages in their plans because of the tendency of residents to use the spaces for storage instead of parking.

Zoning Administrator Kay Gordy said the developers are also taking advantage of an allowance for tandem, or stacked, parking for two of the 10 on-site spaces.

Through stacked parking, vehicles are parked bumper-to-bumper in such a way that one car must be moved to allow another to exit. The concept is allowed for residential projects, but not for commercial ones.

In approving the plan, the planning commissioners agreed that the project is attractive and will fit in well with the rest of the neighborhood.

“I think it’s a good-looking project,” Commission Chairwoman Pam Buckley said.

This story appears in the Sept. 16, 2022 print edition of the OC Today.

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