A Blend of Purpose and Passion
Posted on - June 7, 2021
“Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” This quote perfectly sums up my professional career.
When I became an architect, nearly 25 years ago, the profession was more of a calling rather than a career path. Over the years, I have had the privilege to work with great clients on several amazing developments along the Eastern Shore. There is always a high level of personal and professional investment with each project, however there are certain projects that I develop a deep emotional connection with and my passion for the work takes over.
One recent project that comes to mind as a testament to such deep-rooted passion is the Ocean City Cambria Hotel.
The Ocean City Cambria Hotel is an eight-story, 137 room waterfront property that stands at the gateway to Ocean City. It’s welcoming design with signature nods to local historical themes blend beautifully with everything Ocean City has to offer; its vibrant colors, the light-hearted feel within the community, and the joyful lifestyle surrounding the bayside area.
Of course, with any development, there are certain challenges and obstacles that need to be addressed and overcome. For this location, changing the zoning classification became our key focus. The site was once a concrete plant, zoned for industrial use only, so there was a lot of work ahead of us to convince the city to grant us permission to build the hotel.
Zoning districts and establishing specific rights that meet the needs of one’s development is a long and involved process. There are multiple factors to consider – it’s rare for an architect and developer to have a pre-established one-size fits all zoning that allows for their desired plan. To create the new zoning classification that we desired, a series of city meetings – working alongside key stakeholders and city officials – had to occur.
Like any great author would tell you, it begins with a purpose. Our purpose was to tell a narrative that focused on the public’s benefit. It was not about financial gain, but rather the need to create a well-designed landmark that would showcase the beauty of Ocean City at first glance as one travels over the Route 50 Bridge.
With our purpose clearly defined, we embarked upon an eight-month process to achieve our goal for rezoning the location in order to break ground on the Cambria Hotel the way we wanted it designed. During the eight months, we had numerous meetings with the Mayor and council and the city’s planning committee. Since our proposal was a unique development plan for the bayside area, we needed to understand the concerns and general insight from the local community, its leaders, and the city. With each passing month, we encountered a number of different variables that needed to be addressed and evaluated. Through the tireless efforts of my team and associated partners, we were able to convince the city that seeing a defunct concrete plant coming into Ocean City was not the right look and feel for the area. The bayside area needed a warm welcoming sight that added value to those visiting Ocean City and the Cambria Hotel could be that contribution.
Using the Cambria Hotel as my first blog post of 2021 tells the story of what can be achieved through passion, determination, and the willingness to go the extra mile. At any point during our conversations with the city, we could have settled on certain aspects of the design and taken an easier path to completion but that never felt right. I am a firm believer that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
Over the next few months, my goal is to continue to share insight into the work Fisher Architecture is doing, the people that make the work worth it, and to openly discuss topics that I am passionate about. I look forward to sharing these moments with you.
For more insight into the Cambria Hotel and its development, we share some additional insights in the video below.
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