Former ML Hotel in Mt Laurel sold to Philadelphia developer. Reopening of the hotel at the end of the summer targeted

The ML Hotel in Mt Laurel and its adjoining Coco Key water park have been closed since New Jersey’s pandemic shutdown began in 2020. It was auctioned off in March this year for $13 million and the new owner plans to reopen the hotel. this year, and the water park afterwards.

The buyer is a company headed by John Wei of Philadelphia. He is a leading developer who builds and operates properties primarily in Philadelphia, including hotels and apartments.

42Freeway was told that the new owner’s first goal was to reopen the hotel portion by the end of the summer and then move crews to work on reopening the water park. At the moment we don’t know when they plan to reopen the water park.

The Coco Key water park was part of the recent sale to a Philadelphia developer. The water park will reopen but the focus is on the hotel reopening first.

While it is clear that they are moving aggressively to reopen the hotel, we found no job postings for a new hotel in Mt Laurel. Hiring a full staff would be a factor in the timing of reopening.

The large hotel property is on Route 73 in Mt Laurel, just off Route 295. This is a very busy area of ​​New Jersey loaded with many businesses, office parks and malls. malls and Exit 4 of the New Jersey Turnpike.

People, businesses and location have made Mt Laurel a dynasty in South Jersey hotels. New Jersey allows hotel properties with 100 rooms or more to obtain a special liquor license and Mt Laurel has FOURTEEN! Deptford, by comparison, has only two special liquor licenses for hotels.

The former Hotel ML property includes a 279-room hotel with 14,000 square feet of meeting space, a restaurant, and a bar. Coco Key Connected Indoor Water Park is over 55,000 square feet, has 150,000 gallons of water for pools and water attractions, plus an arcade and restaurants in the water park area,

The hotel and water park have been so successful that they have even developed overhead coverings of solar panels in the car park!

The former ML Hotel is located in a prime location in Mt Laurel on Routes 73 and 295. It was purchased this year and the new owner plans to reopen later this summer.

42Freeway spoke with Mr. Wei’s office, but with him actively guiding this project toward reopening, we were unable to speak to him directly.

We spoke to a direct associate and gathered information.

As mentioned, the sale took place earlier this year and was announced with a Press releasebut none of the parties involved in the sale had disclosed who the new owner was or what the plans for the property were.

I picked up this story while getting in my car and driving, and seeing construction trucks on the site indicating something was up! I maintain a list of around 200 stories that I follow and will regularly drive through an area and check on any progress.

During my visit, I spoke to a few outside contractors, but without getting any clear answers, I used my ninja internet sleuthing skills and some New Jersey state paperwork to determine the owner.

The June 30 photo shows cars at the former ML Hotel. Vehicles from construction and cleaning companies were also on site.

New name, hotel first, water park later

I’ll be frank with that. the hotel is expected to reopen later this summer and the water park will then open some time after that.

There will be a new brand (name?) for the hotel, but it hasn’t been revealed to me yet.

To note: I will start posting more stories with partial details. I know this will still leave a lot of questions open but it’s better than me to be frustrated seeing my competitors post the story I’ve known for weeks. But I digress.

The ML Hotel and Coco Key Water Park is a large property in a prime Mt Laurel location

After speaking with a member of the Ownership team on the phone, I was given Mr. Wei’s email address and sent him and the team a list of sample questions .

  • Estimated opening time?
  • What will be the name of the hotel? Hotel brand?
  • Open hotel and water park at the same time?
  • Interesting new additions to the property?
  • Interesting restaurants or lounges to add?

As mentioned, things are very busy right now at their office and I haven’t received a response. I called back and spoke with his staff (who are incredibly pleasant and helpful) to confirm some details of the property.

I would also like to hear about Mr. Wei’s decision to enter New Jersey with such a large investment. Although there is no published concise list of his projects, what I was able to find online appears to be centered in Philadelphia with a start in Chinatown.

The Coco Keys indoor water park at Mt Laurel will reopen but no timeline is set. It’s an indoor water park, with these closed slides that come out!

John Wei: A Recognized Name in Philadelphia Redevelopment

Over the past 10 years, John’s name has been referenced in several high profile development projects. Although he has a development company (United Development) and usually sets up a new LLC for individual properties, mainstream Philadelphia media stories always seem to include his name.

Which is simply a sign of respect for his accomplishments.

The former entrance to the ML Hotel meeting/event space. It has been sold and the new owner is working quickly to reopen.

Below are some of the Wei projects we have reported on by Philadelphia media. There are many more that have been developed and exploited that have not made the headlines.

Independence Lofts: This 156,000 square foot building in the Spring Garden neighborhood of Philadelphia was home to the Independence Press decades ago. It was long abandoned and had become a key target for redevelopment by city officials. It has been approved for 92 loft-style luxury residential units and a business by John Wei bought in 2015 to complete the development in the Independence Lofts apartments and operate the property.

Court of the Dynasty: In March 2018, the The Philadelphia Business Journal reported that John’s United Development bought the Dynasty Court apartment building (with retail and parking) for $16.6 million.

Sleep Inn: A hotel operating on Cherry Street in Philadelphia’s Chinatown.

Red Bell Brewery Building: This building was purchased by Mr. Wei in 2016 to be redeveloped into a large building with 147 apartments. He presented the plans to the community, but just 2 years later (before developing) he sold the property for more than double the price, as reported OCF Real Estate

1026 Ark: A smaller row-style building in Chinatown was purchased by John Wei. A WHY 2018 article describes the fate of a collective of artists who had taken up residence there. We found a historic Philadelphia Planning document from 2021 that shows the building would be demolished and replaced with new construction (PDF)

Church of the Assumption: This one had received a lot of media attention almost 10 years ago. The grand church on Spring Garden St dates back to 1848 and has ties to two Philadelphia saints. St John Neumann helped consecrate the church and St Katharine Drexel was baptized there. The plans were to demolish the church for new construction. There was a huge outcry against the demolition, and today the property still stands. It seems like no one is clear what the future plans are now.

Canopies of solar panels in the parking lot of the former ML Hotel.

Links and locations

We’ll be following this story closely for updates on reopening plans and the status of Coco Key Water Park.

Former ML Hotel and Coco Key Water Park
915 Route 73
Mount Laurel NJ 09054

Website (OLD): Mt Laurel Coco Key

M.L. Hotel : Website not working (I believe it was a week ago. I guess they are building a new online presence)

About Cedric Lloyd

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