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Doo Wop Preservation - The Serious Stuff >> Doo Wop Motels: Our Favorite Landmarks >> La Vita Motel
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Message started by DooWopper on Nov 16th, 2010, 3:15pm

Title: La Vita Motel
Post by DooWopper on Nov 16th, 2010, 3:15pm

Deep in the Crest, down by the "mini strip" of motels before the Reges, stands the La Vita. It was undergoing a condo-conversion last I heard but for the past 2-3 years I have been down there the property looks vacant and incomplete. Does anyone know what is going on there? Is it just sitting vacant?

What a shame.
http://c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000.R5lsR2Hfw0/s/600/La-Vita-Motel-Wildwood-NJ.jpg

Just noticed something I never saw before, the big L's on the room doors. What a neat detail. These people didn't leave anything out.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by MMM on Nov 16th, 2010, 7:12pm

It was partially worked on as a conversion from what I can tell (it has individual water heaters in the units), and partially sterilized.  Not the worst Motel condoization, but not great either.  At least the rooftop sign is still there, and (I think) the lighting fixtures in the overhangs.  The railings are gone (unless saved by someone), as is the original style of glass.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by hulk007 on Nov 17th, 2010, 12:57pm

I have mentioned this before. The property has been vacant since around 2007. Did the people who undertook this project run out of money?

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by crazyaboutwildwood on Nov 18th, 2010, 7:12pm


hulk007 wrote:
I have mentioned this before. The property has been vacant since around 2007. Did the people who undertook this project run out of money?



Most likely, Hulk. Alot of that happened down there and everywhere. Stuff was going bad before anyone even knew it.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by markcpeyko on Nov 18th, 2010, 9:26pm

That's what killed National City in Cleveland. Forced them to sell, but not before laying off 3,000 in their mortgage department.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by hulk007 on Nov 19th, 2010, 3:04pm


crazyaboutwildwood wrote:
[quote author=hulk007 link=1289938536/0#2 date=1290016648]I have mentioned this before. The property has been vacant since around 2007. Did the people who undertook this project run out of money?



Most likely, Hulk. Alot of that happened down there and everywhere. Stuff was going bad before anyone even knew it.[/quote]


If nothing else I would like to see it finished so that sign could be turned on again but after not being used for almost 5 years it may not even work anymore.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by Rob Ascough on Nov 30th, 2010, 1:34pm

That part of the island could use some "life" so regardless of whether La Vita is a motel or condos, some people and activity would be nice.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by hulk007 on Dec 14th, 2010, 3:01pm

That section actually does still have some great neon, from the Pyramid down to the Blue Water. I am dissapointed, however, that the Pier 6600 sign has not been on for the past two summers.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by Rob Ascough on Feb 8th, 2011, 9:48am

You're right, that seems to be a forgotten part of the Crest- the motels aren't nearly as well-known and celebrated as the ones closer to the Wildwood/Wildwood Crest border but there are some gems.  I love driving through that area on the way to Cape May.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by hulk007 on Feb 11th, 2011, 3:29pm

As a kid all of those lights were on at night, now it seems just as many are off than are on.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by hulk007 on Feb 18th, 2011, 3:06pm

It will be very interesting to see just how much longer this place sits in limbo.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by DooWopper on Feb 19th, 2011, 10:03pm

There really are some great motels down there. The Ala Kai comes to my mind almost instantly. I have never been in the motel but the outside looks immaculately well kept. I know the sign was either replaced or refurbished within the past 5 years or so, and the property appears very clean and well kept. That whole section is like a mini historic district. When you come down the road you come to that little section which really ads some life to the area. The Biscayne is another motel in that area that looks to be well kept.

If you ever have the chance, I suggest doing this, its very tiring but you really get a good sense of the towns. My dad and I have done it often since we usually vacation around the Reges. Take a walk one night from the boardwalk all the way down to the Reges. You can see how the town changes as you walk down. You get off the hustling boardwalk and head down the crest bike path. You see lots of people walking to the boardwalk, people watching off their motel balconies....As you get down to the Port Royal, you start hearing the crickets in the dunes more, and the ocean. Once you walk past the Saratoga its a whole different world. It's very quiet besides some cars. You get to the area around the La Vita and there is some more life, people having late evening BBQ's at the motels, quiet enough that you can here the neon signs buzz though. Once you get past this section its dead quiet again. Its really amazing how much can change in the matter of several blocks. If you take this walk and all the sights sounds and scents, you really get to experience a lot.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by hulk007 on Feb 19th, 2011, 10:09pm


DooWopper wrote:
There really are some great motels down there. The Ala Kai comes to my mind almost instantly. I have never been in the motel but the outside looks immaculately well kept. I know the sign was either replaced or refurbished within the past 5 years or so, and the property appears very clean and well kept. That whole section is like a mini historic district. When you come down the road you come to that little section which really ads some life to the area. The Biscayne is another motel in that area that looks to be well kept.



The Ali Kai is a great looking and well cared for motel. I believe it is owned by the same person who owns the Regal Plaza.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by markcpeyko on Feb 19th, 2011, 11:01pm


DooWopper wrote:
If you ever have the chance, I suggest doing this, its very tiring but you really get a good sense of the towns. My dad and I have done it often since we usually vacation around the Reges. Take a walk one night from the boardwalk all the way down to the Reges. You can see how the town changes as you walk down. You get off the hustling boardwalk and head down the crest bike path. You see lots of people walking to the boardwalk, people watching off their motel balconies....As you get down to the Port Royal, you start hearing the crickets in the dunes more, and the ocean. Once you walk past the Saratoga its a whole different world. It's very quiet besides some cars. You get to the area around the La Vita and there is some more life, people having late evening BBQ's at the motels, quiet enough that you can here the neon signs buzz though. Once you get past this section its dead quiet again. Its really amazing how much can change in the matter of several blocks. If you take this walk and all the sights sounds and scents, you really get to experience a lot.


Nice. I'll try to do that this summer.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by Tech on Feb 19th, 2011, 11:36pm


Quote:
You get off the hustling boardwalk and head down the crest bike path. You see lots of people walking to the boardwalk, people watching off their motel balconies....As you get down to the Port Royal, you start hearing the crickets in the dunes more, and the ocean. Once you walk past the Saratoga its a whole different world. It's very quiet besides some cars. You get to the area around the La Vita and there is some more life, people having late evening BBQ's at the motels, quiet enough that you can here the neon signs buzz though. Once you get past this section its dead quiet again.



You described this perfectly! I felt like I was there/

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by Island_Boy on Feb 20th, 2011, 1:39am

Greg - we've stayed at the Reges a few times and I've done that same walk with my family.  You described it perfectly, and I highly recommend it as well!

I also agree with your description of the Ala Kai.  It's definitely on our list of places to stay.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by FlyinGN on Feb 20th, 2011, 11:36am

one of favorite things to do when we stayed in the crest.. When ya get up to the point in NWW we get the same solitude and quiet too. Its amazing just a few blocks off the boards, the world changes



DooWopper wrote:
There really are some great motels down there. The Ala Kai comes to my mind almost instantly. I have never been in the motel but the outside looks immaculately well kept. I know the sign was either replaced or refurbished within the past 5 years or so, and the property appears very clean and well kept. That whole section is like a mini historic district. When you come down the road you come to that little section which really ads some life to the area. The Biscayne is another motel in that area that looks to be well kept.

If you ever have the chance, I suggest doing this, its very tiring but you really get a good sense of the towns. My dad and I have done it often since we usually vacation around the Reges. Take a walk one night from the boardwalk all the way down to the Reges. You can see how the town changes as you walk down. You get off the hustling boardwalk and head down the crest bike path. You see lots of people walking to the boardwalk, people watching off their motel balconies....As you get down to the Port Royal, you start hearing the crickets in the dunes more, and the ocean. Once you walk past the Saratoga its a whole different world. It's very quiet besides some cars. You get to the area around the La Vita and there is some more life, people having late evening BBQ's at the motels, quiet enough that you can here the neon signs buzz though. Once you get past this section its dead quiet again. Its really amazing how much can change in the matter of several blocks. If you take this walk and all the sights sounds and scents, you really get to experience a lot.


Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by CutieTNJ on Feb 20th, 2011, 8:49pm

You definately describe it perfectly...the dead quiet and the sound of the ocean.  We used to stay across the street from the LaVita at the now defunct Sands Motel.   I loved the peacefullness.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by DooWopper on Feb 20th, 2011, 11:44pm

I forgot one detail. When you get to that quiet part of the Crest, a familiar sound is the trolley flying by and the sound of the bell "ding ding" disappearing off into the distance.

One of my favorite things is coming around the corner of Farragut at night heading towards the boards and getting that first glimpse of all the neon on the strip. Its a great feeling knowing you're heading into all the action, especially when the boardwalk ramp is in view. Coming back is almost the opposite. After walking the boards for hours the walk back to the deep Crest is almost punishing, especially when you can see your hotel and all it is, is a little tiny thing way off in the distance ;D I don't know though, when you finally get there and you open that door and see that nice cold pillow waiting for you, that's a pretty great feeling too ;)

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by Island_Boy on Feb 21st, 2011, 9:18pm


DooWopper wrote:
I don't know though, when you finally get there and you open that door and see that nice cold pillow waiting for you, that's a pretty great feeling too ;)


One of the greatest little moments after a long night out...and a long walk home.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by Bryan on Feb 22nd, 2011, 1:58pm

Man, I need to make that walk now all the way down the bike path.  I love doing it early in the morning on a bike, watching the island wake up, but haven't experienced it at night.  I suppose I haven't tried it because I've never stayed that far down the Crest, but looking further down Ocean Ave at all the humming neon slowly shut off for the night is really something as well.  You kind of forget that it's so much quieter that far down.  That's on my list now.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by hulk007 on Mar 3rd, 2011, 3:05pm

I keep forgetting the Sands was in that neck of the woods and was a big place too.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by OldSoul on Oct 30th, 2011, 12:07pm

 We bought our condo on Syracuse 1/2009 and La Vita's been empty since at least then. I've pushed my face against the glass of most units a few times since, and there's obvious mold in at least half the units below their lone back windows. Some units are fine, but in others the mold travels up to the ceiling. A look from the alley behind reveals that at some point the building's exterior below each of these back windows & downward about a foot was replaced. Obviously there was some moisture/dryrot/mold issue requiring this repair but whether it was done prior to or at time of condo-version I'm unsure. Either way, it wasn't properly or completely dealt with and the "local" word is that this mold problem is what stopped the all but complete project in its tracks.
 It probably didn't help that it was one of the last condo-versions to happen when the market already had slowed. But also, for my money, just a bathroom and combo bedroom/living area? Even with the nice kitchenettes added in to a space that was probably previously a closet, most people spending $200k at least want a bedroom separate from the living area. Alas, I'm sure the builder lost a bundle but obviously finds the project cheaper to abandon than to deal with, especially for what they'd be able to get for these units today.
 On the other hand, you are literally steps from the beach. The other day I found retrostockpix photos of La Vita in its hey day. WOW! The sign looks blue now, not the pink of old (the pink was better). And holy crap, is that the beach across the street and not some 4 story hotel?
 My dream would be to buy and restore that place back to its former glory, right down to the wooden and plastic cushioned lawn chairs. Isn't there some way a bunch of us couldn't organize to do just that? And to do the same to save some others? Peace!  

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by MMM on Oct 30th, 2011, 1:37pm

Thanks for the info.

The La Vita seems like a kinda well-intentioned, but misguided attempt at a renovation.  From what I can tell, at least most all of it can either be put back to how it was, or have an appropriate replacement used instead, for a better complete renovation.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by FlyinGN on Oct 31st, 2011, 11:37am

The La Vita always puzzled me too. Looks like it was started but never finished. Odd. I always used to notice nice Mustangs parking in the lot too when we were down during the summer years back.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel --To be torn down
Post by Crestguy on May 15th, 2012, 7:54pm

The LaVita is to be torn down, possibly by Memorial Day 2012.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel --To be torn down
Post by wildwoodgirl on May 15th, 2012, 8:00pm

Welcome, Crestguy.  Sad to hear about another one of our beloved motels  :'(

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by tradewinds on May 15th, 2012, 10:02pm

There were a few meetings in the Crest which briefly addressed the future of the property located at 8400 Atlantic Ave but I don't recall permits for demolition being approved or issued - yet.   George

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by MMM on May 15th, 2012, 11:18pm

Wow, really?  The La Vita has sat for some time, after the condo conversion was left incomplete.  I didn't care for the changes made to the exterior then, but it seemed like it could have basically been undone and restored.  A nice little motel, pre-conversion.

Welcome!

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by FlyinGN on May 16th, 2012, 11:09am

Shame.. neat location... I remember it used to be filled when we went down for the car show in Sept.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by tradewinds on May 16th, 2012, 4:42pm

Unless someoene gave me the wrong answers today, they could not find any approved apllication filed in the Crest for La Vita demolition as of this date.  They person I spoke with told me she would check with Kevin Yecco, but she thought the town still has the property offically designated "for sale" but wasn't entirely sure.     George

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by Crestguy on May 16th, 2012, 5:54pm

I live very near the place. They have prepared the place for demolition. The men on site, part of the demolition crew, said that it will be knocked down soon. A neighbor and I received mailed, formal notification today, soo... I wonder what will happen to the sign?

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by tradewinds on May 16th, 2012, 6:44pm

Crestguy, Someone from the Crest e-mailed me the same information earlier that you've received in the mail today. Looks like the end is near for La Vita. My other lives at Ocean Place and she told me the same thing a few minutes ago. Sad.    George

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by MMM on May 16th, 2012, 7:39pm

I'm curious re demolition - was this granted under the old zoning laws, where someone went and received such a permit before the changes?  If so, when would it have expired?  (I *thought* it could only last for so long, even with renewals).  Or was a new/recent demolition permit granted here?

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by tradewinds on May 16th, 2012, 10:54pm

That's an interesting question Martin. Unless Crestguy knows or can find out, I can probably find out the answers for you on Friday.    George

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by MMM on May 16th, 2012, 11:04pm

Thanks George.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by DooWopper on May 16th, 2012, 11:41pm

Even though the property has sat vacant for years, this is a big blow to the mini motel strip in the deep Crest. What a shame someone didn't purchase it to run as a motel. My friends we still face the real danger of losing more motels and we don't have that many more to give >:(

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by tradewinds on May 17th, 2012, 12:07am

I hope the demolition craze has run it's course and become a thing of the past in the Crest. Maybe the buildings that will be sold will be kept as motels or turned into condo-motels instead of being torn down. It might be wishful thinking but I don't see banks willing to finance  developers attempting to secure funds to build more condos or townhomes. We can only hope, right?    George

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by MMM on May 17th, 2012, 1:03am

I agree with Greg.  We've discussed some of that stuff off the forum, and this sort of brings it home.  In some ways, it's a little hard for me to believe someone would waste that cool looking building (at least before renovations began) after the demolition years, but it some ways it doesn't surprise me one bit.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by hulk007 on May 17th, 2012, 9:03am

This will be another empty lot to stare at for years to come. Does anyone know who owns/owned the property? The last time I remember the LaVita open was around 2006.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by hulk007 on May 17th, 2012, 9:13am

Interesting, the LaVita still even has up a website.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by tradewinds on May 17th, 2012, 9:32am

If they haven't already begun tearing La Vita down, it is scheduled for demolition between May 16-20, 2012.   :'(   In the Crest demolition is only permitted between the day AFTER Labor Day up until the Thursday BEFORE Memorial Day, unless the building in question poses a threat to public health and safety as outlined in 22-5 Code of the Borough of Wildwood Crest.    George

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by FlyinGN on May 17th, 2012, 10:54am


tradewinds wrote:
I hope the demolition craze has run it's course and become a thing of the past in the Crest. Maybe the buildings that will be sold will be kept as motels or turned into condo-motels instead of being torn down. It might be wishful thinking but I don't see banks willing to finance  developers attempting to secure funds to build more condos or townhomes. We can only hope, right?    George


One can only hope.. Due to the mold issue, it way very well indeed be rebuilt from ground up... Sometimes its cheaper razing the building then trying to stop mold.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by Crestguy on May 17th, 2012, 6:11pm

The LaVita started to be demolished today, May 17 , 2012. I have pics.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by DooWopper on May 17th, 2012, 8:02pm

http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000lbZN0l2nHek/s/880/704/La-Vita-Motel-Wildwood-NJ-1960s-exterior-with-old-cars-in-front.jpg

Photo: RetroStockPix

What a shame :(

If able, please share the pics crestguy. Any idea on what is replacing it? I find it a really odd time for new construction considering the glut of properties still for sale on the island.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by Crestguy on May 17th, 2012, 10:10pm

I don't know how to post pics here. Borough hall told me it would be replaced by two homes.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by hulk007 on May 17th, 2012, 10:18pm


FlyinGN wrote:
[quote author=tradewinds link=1289938536/30#37 date=1337227671]I hope the demolition craze has run it's course and become a thing of the past in the Crest. Maybe the buildings that will be sold will be kept as motels or turned into condo-motels instead of being torn down. It might be wishful thinking but I don't see banks willing to finance  developers attempting to secure funds to build more condos or townhomes. We can only hope, right?    George


One can only hope.. Due to the mold issue, it way very well indeed be rebuilt from ground up... Sometimes its cheaper razing the building then trying to stop mold.
[/quote]


I was thinking the same thing Frank. Also, besides the mold this place has been vacant for about six years exposed to the salty sea air. I'm guessing there could possibly have been some structual damage perhaps we don't know about but if the place was in really bad shape then demolition may have been the only option. Either that or gut the whole building and start over again which would have been very costly.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by wildwood_since_85 on May 17th, 2012, 10:19pm

That is a sweet pic

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by wildwoodgirl on May 17th, 2012, 10:21pm

La Vita= :'(



Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by hulk007 on May 17th, 2012, 10:23pm

and maybe its just me but when they started to convert the motel over to a condo and took away the old metal railings it lost alot of its charm. The roof top sign is the only link to the old motel and hopefully they can save it.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by MMM on May 17th, 2012, 11:29pm

I agree, nothing good came out of the work-in-progress conversion, but those changes could have been removed and replaced with something more appropriate for the motel.  Doesn't matter now...

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by FlyinGN on May 18th, 2012, 9:54am

RIP La Vita :'(.. Lots of fine memories there for thousands of people.. ..

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by MMM on May 18th, 2012, 12:21pm


Crestguy wrote:
The LaVita started to be demolished today, May 17 , 2012. I have pics.


Maybe Fred Musso/Ultra Neon or the Henteges/A.B.S. will rescue it?

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by hulk007 on May 18th, 2012, 3:17pm

I'm guessing the sign might need some work being as it has not been used in six years.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by Crestguy on May 19th, 2012, 9:37am

I have pics of the motel being torn down. Don't know how to post them.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by MMM on May 19th, 2012, 12:59pm

Hello Crestguy.

You can use a photo hosting site, like Photobucket, to load the files to.  Maybe have the site scale the files down to around 1024 or 800 pixels on its large sides to better fit the forum.  After that, it'll give you a set of links in return.  Take the link noted as "direct" for each picture and paste it in a message here, with the
Code:
[IMG][/IMG]
tags bookending each link.  That will make the pictures post directly to the thread.

A belated welcome! :)

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by Rob Ascough on Jul 18th, 2012, 10:10am

I want to see those photos, but I don't... I'm sure I'm not alone with those feelings.

Too bad, I had hope that the place would survive as a unique condo structure with the original sign still in place.  Sad that we're still dealing with motel demolitions, all these years later.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by hulk007 on Jul 20th, 2012, 10:50am

Unforetunaly Rob, I think this was done as a last resort. The building was empty for 6 years and was in bad shape.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by Znorfmond on Aug 26th, 2012, 7:34pm

They started construction on the former La Vita lot on Tuesday, they were laying block on Saturday. The sign says two townhouses and two single family homes. At least it wont be another empty lot for years.

http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z57/Znorfmond/Wildwood%202012/DSCN0683.jpg

http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z57/Znorfmond/Wildwood%202012/DSCN0684.jpg

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by wildwoodgirl on Aug 26th, 2012, 7:54pm

This is still how I feel when one of our little gems is torn down..... :'(

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by markcpeyko on Aug 26th, 2012, 8:43pm

Ironic name right now.

Title: Re: La Vita Motel
Post by hulk007 on Sep 3rd, 2012, 9:56pm

Boy, they're moving quickly on that project. Its interesting how small the lot really is when there is nothing on it.

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