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Developer Steen makes pitch for OP Beach Club bathrooms

(Nov. 26, 2015) In a somewhat unusual move, developer Marvin Steen presented a cold pitch for renovating the men and women’s bathrooms of the Ocean Pines Beach Club during a public board meeting last Thursday.
The 13-page, $464,600 proposal packet, given to each of the directors, was signed by Berlin-based developer Sens Inc.
The proposal covered the changing rooms, bathrooms and showers for the facility on 49th Street in Ocean City and included labor, material, equipment and supervision.
Steen said during a phone interview on Friday he was merely a concerned citizen.
“Five or six years ago they had a big shove to redo the restrooms and they had a big committee,” he said. “At that time they ended up where they wanted to build a separate building and it got very complicated.”
Estimates for the original renovation, approximately $300,000, proved to be cost-prohibitive and the idea was shelved. Still, problems with the facility persisted.
“It’s over 40 years old and it’s the most-used building by far. It’s not pleasant, to say the least,” Steen said. “We’ve got a beautiful yacht club, they redid the swim and racquet [club], and this should be the next place to go.
“I got thinking about it, so what I did during the summer is I contacted [Sens] and said, ‘take your time, and before the year is out I need a total of what you would go do it for. Do it brand new,’” Steen continued.
Steen said he went with Sens because he was familiar with the company’s work and was a particularly big fan of one of its main contractors.
“Ryder Ray, who did work for me all my life since I’ve been in business, works for them,” he said. “I know how good he is and they are.”
The estimate, Steen said, was done without any input from the OPA, including the directors.
“If I’d asked one of them it would have been a rumor. You know how that goes,” he said. “They’d have a fight going before I had the chance to make a report.”
The cold pitch, he admitted, was unusual, although Steen does have a relationship with the board. On April 30, the board voted unanimously to back a construction project by the developer that would add several dozen duplexes in the area between King Richard Drive and Gum Point Road.  
While he plans to continue to work with the association on that development, Steen said he’s already put in a call to General Manager Bob Thompson to talk further about the beach club renovation.
“He’ll call me back and I’d like to meet on that and say, ‘Bob, what do you think? Who can I shove?’ I’d be glad to contact every one [of the directors],” Steen said.
With preliminary work on the next fiscal-year budget already underway, Steen hopes the bathroom renovation earns the backing of the directors and finds its way into the final budget.
It would almost certainly then have to go out for bid and get estimates from several other companies.
“It’s a good price and [Sens] would love to do it,” Steen said. “They’re certainly capable of doing a good job. That’s one beautiful building over there, so let’s get her right.”
It’s far from a certainty the project ever gets that far, although several directors appeared to show their interest during the meeting.
“This particular project pays for itself in approximately four years,” Director Jack Collins said, adding that net revenues of the facility were roughly $150,000 annually. “That’s something we should really, strongly consider. That’s a lay-up, folks.”