The owners of Fantasy Island, the landmark family entertainment center in Beach Haven, want to bring some of that family fun to the vacant CVS building near the Causeway Circle in Ship Bottom. To do that, they will need a variance from the Ship Bottom Land Use Board since family entertainment isn’t permitted in the general commercial zone.
Wainwright Amusement, which owns Long Beach Island’s oldest and only amusement park, is seeking to renovate the existing commercial structure on Long Beach Boulevard and Seventh Street and convert the use from retail to family entertainment, according to Jan. 30 paperwork the company submitted in Ship Bottom.
The proposed entertainment center would include a game zone, an escape room, café and XD theater.
Wainwright is also seeking a “waiver of normal site plan detail due to the fact that the site is fully developed,” according to the application. The lot’s dimensions include a 200-foot frontage on Long Beach Boulevard with a 160-foot depth and a total lot area of 32,000 square feet.
Located less than a block from the oceanfront beach, the former CVS was once considered for a new municipal complex, but the cost was prohibitive.
The project would require approval from the state Department of Transportation. Reconfiguring the circle, as the final phase in a $312 million federally funded rehabilitation and expansion of the Causeway to Long Beach Island, is about two years away from beginning. That work includes changing the circle into a square at the Arlington Beach Club condo complex.
Squaring off the beach club property makes room for traffic pattern changes on Eighth and Ninth streets, the entrance and exit roadways for LBI from Route 72. It also changes the traffic flow on Central Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard. The DOT’s proposed improvements in Ship Bottom have long included converting a section of the Boulevard into a two-way road at the site of the Arlington Beach Club, once the site of a gas station.
The Ship Bottom Land Use Board is expected to hear the Wainwright Amusement application at 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 20 at the municipal building.