Why is This Vacant Lot in Ocean City, NJ, Valued at $17.8M?
Would you pay $17.86 million for an empty lot?
A jury has ruled that a lot located between 16th and 17th Streets on Simpson Avenue in Ocean City has a higher value than what city appraisers stated previously.
The lot you see above was originally obtained by eminent domain for Ocean City after the Jersey Shore community and Klause Enterprise could not agree on a sale price for the property.
The 85,688-square-foot lot, which is located across the street from the Ocean City Public Library and Community Center, was a Chevrolet dealership for decades before closing in 2018.
The area between 18th and 15th streets in Ocean City used to be a business area that included a SuperFresh Supermarket and the Perry-Egan Car Dealership. But today, the only major business still standing in this area is CVS Pharmacy.
After the car dealership closed, Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian and other city officials wanted to obtain the property for open space plus an overflow lot for municipal use. The coastal community originally tried to purchase the lot for $9 million but the "Fairness in Taxes" group of Ocean City residents successfully blocked the purchase with a petition campaign.
After Ocean City utilized eminent domain, they had to go before independent commissioners who would hear both Klause Enterprise's and the city's positions on the property value.
Back in April 2022, this impartial group evaluated the property at $13.02 million. However, the hearing by the Superior Court in Cape May County did not accept this independent valuation of the property, and that led to the case going to trial.
That is where the $17.86 million price tag came from when the jury ruled in favor of Klause Enterprises and ordered Ocean City to pay. The small Jersey Shore town with an estimated 6,900 year-round residents is appealing this decision.
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Gallery Credit: Josh Hennig/Townsquare Media