A SEASHORE LANDMARK’S LAST BEST HOPE
A recent agreement by Saving Our Station (S.O.S.), a southern New Jersey historic-preservation coalition, with Ocean City Life-Saving Station owners Rafaele Pansini and Roger Parkin and with city government, opens up a rare and unparalleled opportunity for a preservation-minded buyer to acquire the station property for $887,500.
“This is a very reasonable price,” says S.O.S. president Charles London. “The Coalition, with the help of our attorney Clem Lisitski, has fought hard for more than a decade to save this incredibly historic landmark on its original site. This agreement is the best chance yet for us to reach that goal.”
The agreement, announced by New Jersey Superior Court Judge Daryl F. Todd on November 4, 2009, results from earlier court mandates requiring the owners of the station property to sell it at a historic-preservation price. Judge Todd’s announcement is responsive to S.O.S. concerns that after those mandates, the owners’ marketing efforts were not active enough and were based on an imprecise appraisal which had resulted in a price over $1,000,000. The $887,500 price was agreed upon because it reflects the appropriate price for this historic property.
“We battled for nearly 12 years to have the station listed at the proper historic-preservation price.” notes S.O.S. president London. “This agreement is a welcome outcome of our struggles. And keep in mind that it was lack of a preservation price which led to a $3.1 million price tag being put on the property when public acquisition of it was considered and defeated.”
The November 4 agreement, in addition to providing for a more active marketing role for S.O.S., also provides for transparency regarding any real-estate transactions involved. The agreement specifies that a prospective buyer present the $887,500 amount through retired judge George T. Seltzer, court-appointed escrow agent and holder of the station property’s deed.
Time is of the essence with this agreement, so S.O.S. is advising prospective buyers to act quickly. The agreement is in effect for six months. If the sale is not finalized by May 14, 2010, the deed reverts to the owners of the property, which could well mean demolition of the life-saving station and its replacement by several condominium units.
“While the November 4 agreement is our best hope so far,” concludes London, “it could be our last hope. We believe, however, that the right preservation buyer will come forward. Not only is the 1885-86 Ocean City Life-Saving Station rich in history, having been U.S. Life-Saving Station #30 for 30 years and U.S. Coast Guard Station #126 for 20 years after that, but it is structurally sound, architecturally distinctive, and visually beautiful. It is located in Ocean City’s historic district and is eligible for listing on national and state historic registers. Depending on the buyer, it may qualify for sources of restoration assistance. All in all, it has tremendous potential for becoming a showplace of the unique seashore heritage of its city, region, state, and nation.”
To find out how you can purchase the Ocean City Life-Saving Station, 4th Street and Atlantic Avenue, Ocean City, NJ, contact Charlie London, (609) 742-1190 [email protected]. For legal questions regarding the Station, contact Clem Lisitski, (609) 398-6100. The coalition is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization.
Save Our Station Coalition
P.O.Box 318, Ocean City, NJ 08226