Did you ever have your house raised? I have, and I can tell you it is a major undertaking. But, raising one home sounds relatively easy when compared with the project Ocean City has planned with money from a newly approved $3 million grant from FEMA.

Ocean City plans to raise the entire seven-building Ocean Aire condos at 43rd Street and West Avenue. That's an enormous job, which must have an enormous price tag, right?

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Steve Sinibaldi, vice president of the Ocean Aire condominium association, told OCNJDaily.com that the $3 million grant would pay for the entire cost of the raise. “This is 100 percent coverage for doing all seven buildings,” he said.

The money came from a grant application the city submitted in 2019 on behalf of the condominium association, Doug Bergen, an Ocean City spokesperson, said.

Condo owners contributed $40,000 for the writing of the grant proposal. All the condo owners had to go along with the idea for it to be approved.

Just how will a contractor approach raising a seven-building complex? Again, from OCNJDaily.com, one building at a time.

A construction contractor hired by Ocean Aire will pick up each building off the ground and then will erect a massive cinder block nine feet high underneath. The buildings will be placed on top of the cinder blocks to raise them above flood levels.

“We’re 6.1 feet above sea level now. When the project is done, we’re going to be 13 feet,” said Steve Sinibaldi, vice president of the Ocean Aire condominium association.

“The elevation of flood-prone homes is an important part of New Jersey’s long-term resiliency efforts and provides families much-needed peace of mind,” said U.S. Sen. Cory Booker the day the grant was awarded. “This federal investment will strengthen New Jersey communities, help mitigate against future disasters, and save lives.”

Ocean Aire, in the flood-prone south end of town, is considered a “severe repetitive loss,” based on having flooded multiple times, according to Ocean City's Doug Bergen.

The city has been dealing with flooding caused not only by coastal storms and by rising sea levels for decades, and there is certainly no end in sight.

For the condo owners at Ocean Aire, going up is the most obvious way to solve their chronic flood water problem.


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