Real Estate - Commercial

Wilmington-based Firm Buys Carolina Beach Motel For $5M

By Cece Nunn, posted Jun 24, 2022
The Oceaneer Motel (shown at right next to Atlantic Towers) in Carolina Beach recently changed hands, with new owners planning upgrades to the 1971 establishment. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Hovis/Intracoastal Realty)
Rob McCord sees owning a Carolina Beach motel as a wise investment amid ongoing travel trends.

The company he manages, Wilmington-based Sailfish Real Estate Capital LLC, bought the 28-room Oceaneer Motel at 1621 Lake Park Blvd. South for $5 million, according to property tax records.

The group owns other vacation rentals in Carolina and Kure beaches but the Oceaneer is its first motel, McCord said.

“We are avidly interested in the Southeast but primarily North Carolina,” he said. “We see the demographic tailwinds – a lot of growth and a lot of repeat tourists who will come back to short-term rental properties whether it's rental homes or hotel rooms.”

The Oceaneer Motel has a variety of room types, including larger suites that can accommodate families comfortably, McCord said. He and his partners also liked the fact that it has one of the largest pools on the oceanfront in Carolina Beach.

“It’s at a lovely point on the island. It’s right next to an iconic area for surfing,” McCord said. “ We have a lot of people who love to fish who come there, and over time, we want to invest in it in ways that serve the entire community. Those include everything from upgrades that will make it more handicapped-accessible to investments in the plants around the motel.”

Oscar and Iris Whittington built the Oceaneer, opening the motel during Easter weekend in 1971. Jinks Whittington took over the family business in 1975. 

“Since then a third floor has been added and many improvements made,” the motel’s website states. “We have been the vacation place for generations of families.”

Jeff Hovis of Intracoastal Realty Corp. represented Jinks Whittington in the sale to McCord’s company.

“The demand for this type of product has been pretty substantial,” Hovis said of the hotel. “We had a number of people who wanted that property.”

According to Hovis, the seller said he and his family “have appreciated the support of the community and their clients over the years. They wish the new owners the best of luck and look forward to seeing all the exciting things they have planned for the property.”
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