With the 2022 record-breaking tourism season in the books and the 2023 tourism season fast approaching, the Wildwoods, NJ – an iconic Jersey Shore resort known for its trademark expansive free, white-sand beaches, world-famous boardwalk, and Doo Wop mid-century motels – have an incredible number of new developments and business openings scheduled in 2023.
The five-mile resort offers excellent opportunities for business success, and an unmet demand for business growth, with attractive commercial real estate corridors that are perfectly located in a Jersey Shore seaside setting.
“Officials in the Wildwoods recognize that increasing the commercial tax base and tourism are vital to the overall well-being of the local community. We are continually striving to increase efforts to attract developers and nationally recognized retailers, as well as encourage mom-and-pop establishments to locate and expand here,” said John Siciliano, Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority Executive Director/CFO.
Enjoyed for decades by millions of visitors annually, the Wildwoods have always found new ways to reinvent itself, while preserving its endearing ‘Doo Wop’ character and nostalgia. New developments, hotels, shops, eateries, attractions, and services are now coming on the scene, boosted by record-breaking, year-after-year visitor numbers that are attracting first-time and returning vacationers, eager to experience “Those Wildwoods Days.”
If the continued upward trend reflected in the Wildwoods’ tourism numbers are any indication, the resort destination anticipates the number of visitors to increase again this year. Keeping the destination fresh and top-of-mind is the key to success – and the marketing and public relations campaigns keep the messaging about the Wildwoods fresh year after year. The 2022 campaign, themed ‘Love Those Wildwood Days’, increased positive awareness, and hundreds of annual free events and festivals, award-winning free beaches, and spectacular weather last year contributed directly to $9.994 million in tourism tax revenue – a 38% increase over the past five-year average for both the 2% Tourism Tax and the 1.85% Tourism Assessment Tax combined.This growth represents a one-million-dollar increase over the Wildwoods’ 2021 performance, which was a record $8.9 million.
The Wildwoods are bullish on commercial business growth in 2023. Nationally recognized names such as Starbucks and Sinclair Oil Corporation have entered the scene in the Wildwoods, and they are joined by a lengthy list of businesses, expansions, and top-to-bottom hotel renovations taking place.
In keeping with the Wildwoods’ Doo Wop retro vibe, the Riggins family has invested in the creation of a nostalgic and fun experience with first-rate service at Sinclair Gas Station. Sinclair was an early 1900s throwback gas station brand that became a highlight for visitors driving throughout America. Sinclair Gas Stations were popular among children because of their green dinosaur logo dubbed Dino. He was featured in advertising and as a statue at every gas station. Families would photograph themselves with Dino and even mark them on a map. To pay homage to its famous past, the new Sinclair station includes a retro sign, old-fashioned gas pump, and yes, Dino.
Next door to the Sinclair Gas Station, Starbuckswill be opening its new and only location in the Wildwoods, offering a drive-through and window pick-up. Starbucks is slated to open by summer 2023. Several other new restaurants and eateries will beckon visitors to craft a foodie adventure in the Wildwoods – with expansive choices along the Boardwalk and Downtown, keeping the list of places to dine and nosh fresh and fun.
Expanding Lodging Choices
With more to do and see than ever before, and the momentum of 2022 expected to continue into 2023, new and expanded lodging choices are key, and they are coming. Whether undergoing renovations under new management or all-new accommodations, the Wildwoods offer unlimited options at all price ranges.
A four-story mixed-use hotel called Seaport Suites in Downtown Wildwood is under construction and is expected to feature a new, 64-room property with three exciting nightclub concepts. The property is scheduled to open this Memorial Day Weekend.
MudHen Brewery Company, a well-established Wildwoods restaurant and craft brewery, has announced plans for the construction of cottages at different locations throughout the destination, opening in 2023. The new company, MudHen Hospitality, is completing the first project located at Rio Grande and Pacific Avenue, that will feature a cluster of six unique, two-bedroom luxury cottages, a four-bedroom single family house, swimming pool, recreation area, bicycles & golf carts, and laundry facilities in each unit.
Located in Wildwood Crest, the Oceanview Motel was purchased by Madison Resorts in 2022, and is undergoing a $12 million renovation. Madison Resort Wildwood Crest property updates include adding a 5th floor with suites, a restaurant, renovating rooms, a modern café, a lounge area, firepits, an infinity pool, cabanas, and a wedding venue. Phase one of the project is scheduled to be done by Memorial Day 2023 and open to the public. Phase two is set to be completed by Memorial Day Weekend 2024.
Pacific Avenue Downtown Development
The commercial corridor along Pacific Avenue in Wildwood is continuing to evolve as well, thanks to a five-year designation from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP). NPP provides funding to assist with economic and community development projects designed to help revitalize the designated area and ensure future economic success. This designation includes an initial $125,000 grant and, pending future years’ budget approval, will receive the same level of funding annually through 2026.
The designation is centered around the Pacific Avenue Downtown Business District between Taylor Avenue and Byrne Plaza. The program also includes technical assistance from the state’s team of placemaking and community development professionals. Projects are created by the designation’s Stakeholder Team, which solicits feedback from the community – in the form of a survey and several focus groups – to help plan the projects for implementation. These developments will enable Pacific Avenue to establish greater economic security and viability, creating an attraction that is inviting for families, while also being bikeable and walkable. The District is just two blocks from the Wildwoods’ beach and boardwalk and is a prime location for developers seeking to build commercial, residential and hotel properties.
Boardwalk Construction and Resurfacing
The Wildwoods’ world-famous Boardwalk is also getting a facelift, thanks to a five-phase, multi-year project that will see most of the Boardwalk located in the City of Wildwood refurbished and replaced. Phase 1 was completed just before Memorial Day Weekend 2022 and covered the wooden way stretch from Oak to Maple Avenues. Phase 2 is underway and picks up from Maple Avenue and continues up to 26th Street.
The Wildwoods’ beaches will continue to be free with no beach tags required. GWTIDA provides a grant to each of the three municipalities of the Wildwoods for beach maintenance, cleaning, and lifeguard protection. The award-winning FREE beaches in the Wildwoods are like no other – the likes of them can’t be found anywhere else, and once experienced, visitors want to keep coming back to them. They are expansive, clean, and safe with plenty of room to spread out. This means the breathtaking ocean view is always new! These pristine beaches have been voted ‘Best Beaches in New Jersey’ and ‘Top 10 Beaches in the US’. The Wildwoods beaches also remain FREE for all visitors – removing the hassle of purchasing expensive beach tags each season.
On the Horizon
The Hotel Cabana, located on the Wildwoods Boardwalk at 23rd Street, is undergoing a complete renovation. The property, purchased by SSN Wildwood, LLC, will offer contemporary rooms, a new lobby, and an outdoor pool. The Hotel Cabana is expected to open in 2024.
A new Wildwood Boardwalk hotel named “The Wild Resort” will be located at Glenwood Avenue and The Boardwalk. The entire facade of the Boardwalk retail stores will go through renovations to include a hotel lobby and cafe on the boardwalk with a second-floor restaurant and pool along with hotel rooms and luxury suites with private balconies overlooking the ocean. The Wild Resort is expected to open in 2025.
This world-class resort is experiencing incredible growth and a whole new chapter of excitement and revitalization – everyone is welcome to visit the Wildwoods in 2023 and see what all the buzz is about!
For additional information about the Wildwoods, visit www.WildwoodsNJ.com or call 800-992-9732.