Ventura’s Potential High-Rise Development Plans in Margate

Venturas Margate High Rise Development Lucy Elephant
Rendering of Potential Ventura’s High Rise Development in Margate

Plans for a potential, new high-rise on the beaches of Margate, look to have begun in earnest on March 1, 2018. A meeting was held between the NJ DEP, Lou DiVentura (Ventura’s Greenhouse owner), engineer Arthur Ponzio and a Historic Preservation org.

This could be why Margate Commissioners, and the Margate Planning Board, were so interested in passing a Margate Hotel Overlay Zoning ordinance?

We report. You decide.

From: Arthur Ponzio, Jr.
Sent: Monday, March 05, 2018 11:15a to: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Subject: Ventura

Good morning. Thank you for having the time for our meeting last week for Mr. Di Ventura – we made a lot of progress and flushed out items that could have been problematic to the project.

After our meeting last week Mr. Di Ventura is encouraged to move forward with the project. Please review my comments and let me know if you have any additional comments, or if modifications are needed.

Thank you all again for your time and assistance, it is always very much appreciated. Enjoy your day.
Art (Ponzio)

From: Arthur W Ponzio jr
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 7:07 PM
To: [email protected], Cc: Ponzio jr Ponzio
Subject: Fwd: LUCY

I believe we have looked all of the potential troublesome issues for the project as discussed at our pre-app meeting. If there is anything we may have missed that is a potential roadblock – please let me know. I’ll discuss this with our client and he can then decide if he would like to proceed with the application.

Thank you Dana!

From: Arthur Ponzio, Jr. Sent: Wednesday, April 4, 2018 6:09 PM
To: [email protected], [email protected], Cc: Lou Vent

We would like to begin the permitting process.

If there is anything else that comes to mind that could potentially create an impact to our obtaining a CAFRA IP – please let me know so we can work it through before we complete our design plans.


From: Margaret Westfield
Sent: Tuesday, May 8, 2018 4:16 PM
To: [email protected] Cc: [email protected]> Subject: Property adjacent to Lucy the Elephant, Margate

Dear Meghan,

Richard Helfant, the CEO of Lucy, was informed by Commissioner John Amodeo of Margate City that, within a year, the Greenhouse Restaurant will be replaced by an 8 story tower. Since any such tower would have a serious adverse effect on Lucy, and hide the one remaining view of her from any distance  views from the beach are obscured by the new dunes – the Save Lucy Committee, Inc. is extremely concerned by this proposal.

Certainly this project will be subject to review by your office, at least for Section 106 through CAFRA. Would you please alert the appropriate reviewer that, when the application comes in, the Save Lucy Committee and I would like to be listed as Consulting Parties/Concerned Citizens and receive copies of any correspondence. Thank you,


From: Baratta, Meghan
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2018 1:17 PM
To: Margaret Westfield, Cc Richard Helfant; Maresca, Vincent
Subject: RE: Property adjacent to Lucy the Elephant, Margate

Hi Margaret – The HPO (Historic Preservation )participated in a pre-application meeting for the proposed development next to Lucy.

As you know, Lucy is individually listed as an architectural folly & our review of the effects of a project is in regard to whether a project may alter, directly or indirectly any of the characteristics of a historic property that qualify the property for inclusion in the National Register.

We also requested and received a shadow study to see if a shadow from the proposed new development would be cast on Lucy. The applicant did provide that analysis & again the setback required by the CAFRA rules helped ensure that the shadow would not reach Lucy. It was the HPO’s finding that based on the information received, the proposed new development would have no adverse on Lucy.

Sincerely, Meghan MacWilliams Baratta, Supervising Historic Preservation Specialist NJ HPO

From: Richard Helfant
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2018 1:29 PM
To: Baratta, Meghan <[email protected]>
Subject: RE: Property adjacent to Lucy the Elephant, Margate

Hi Margaret,

As I mentioned when we spoke, I am much more concerns about any potential adverse effect on site lines of Lucy from Atlantic Ave than I am from the beach. The view of Lucy from the beach has already been adversely affected by the construction of the 12′ + high dunes and Margate Lifeguard Headquarters which has been raised on pilings to over 14′ high.

Most of Lucy’s visitors arrive by car via Atlantic Ave. My concern is if the setbacks from Atlantic Ave for any new proposed construction are less than the existing building, it will have a devastating effect on Lucy.

Richard D. Helfant Executive Director/C.E.O.
Lucy the Elephant 9200 Atlantic Ave.

From: Margaret Westfield [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2018 4:55 PM
To: [email protected], Cc: [email protected]; [email protected] Subject: Re: Property adjacent to Lucy the Elephant.

Hi Meghan,

Thank you for your response, although I am extremely disappointed. I believe this National Historic Landmark needs to be able to count on the NJ HPO as an advocate for her preservation.

First, the dune project and Margate’s raising of the lifeguard stand adversely affected views of Lucy from the beach. Now, this proposed construction will hide her from potential visitors driving towards her on Atlantic Avenue.

Please see the attached photograph, taken from the middle of Atlantic Avenue, one block from Lucy, showing the existing view as you travel towards the monument from Atlantic City. Notice that the existing restaurant on the proposed building site is only one story tall and is significantly set back from the street and still blocks half of Lucy.

The new 8-story construction is proposed to be placed much closer to the street – look again at the photo, and you will understand our well-founded concern. Please take any additional action you can to mitigate this project’s adverse effect on the historic landmark. Thank you,


Some docs from way back….


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.