Hotel rooms planned at Celebration Mall

August 14, 2013

Celebration Mall in Rehoboth Beach is on the rise: it is set for a renovation in the form of nine new hotel rooms, planned to be open in summer 2014.

Gene Lankford, owner of Celebration Mall and Atlantic Sands Hotel, said the mall's existing roof would be removed and the new rooms would be built on a third story above the two existing condo units. From there, the structure would get a new roof.

For Lankford, the final hurdle to the project was getting a variance from the board of adjustment to use the parking lot across the street, which Lankford owns, as parking for the new rooms. The board unanimously approved the variance July 22.

In addition to the rooms, Lankford said a new elevator would be installed. The business entity set up for management of the facility, Celebration Mall LLC, would own the rooms, but they will be operated from the Atlantic Sands, he said.

Lankford said an early estimate on the project came in at $2 million, but that number was way too high. Lankford said he hopes to open the new rooms in July 2014.

Lankford purchased the former Epworth United Methodist Church at 20 Baltimore Ave. in 2007 for $4 million. The church was converted into Celebration Mall, which houses a theater, shops and a restaurant, Debacle. Lankford purchased the parking lot across the street, also in 2007, for $3 million.