Ocean Crest Motel works to repair $500K in damages after Hurricane Isaias

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Ocean Crest Motel in Oak Island works to repair an estimated $500,000 in damage after Hurricane Isaias (photo: Sydney Bouchelle/WWAY)

OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — The oceanfront Ocean Crest Motel in Oak Island has had a tough couple of years.

In 2019, a devastating fire destroyed an entire building. The beginning of 2020 brought COVID-19, causing the motel to lose three months worth of income.

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And now, Co-Owner Walter Lorgan says Hurricane Isaias has caused around half a million dollars worth of damage.

“I’m thinking I’m ready for a year without problems,” Lorgan said.

Lorgan says the winds and storm surge blew out the door to the office and all five doors of his oceanfront rooms.

At the height of the storm, he says the standing water was at least waist deep inside the motel rooms.

Lorgan and his wife have owned the property for 20 years. He says they are lucky because through the disasters, they haven’t faced a loss of life.

But he says it is a bit of a financial burden. He says they’ve considered throwing in the towel, but the community and their customers keep them going.

“They’re very supportive. They’re saying as soon as we get back up and running they want to be back down here again. They’re offering to come down and help us as far as repairs and that,” Lorgan said. “So it’s hard to walk away when you have customers the way we have.”​

Lorgan says he made the tough decision to require guests leave on the Sunday before the storm because he isn’t willing to gamble on someone’s life.

He says some persistently protested, but ended up being pretty thankful.

“One woman, her, her husband and her children were adamant. They came to me 5 or 6 times begging me to let them stay, agreeing to sign waivers and everything else. We wouldn’t give in,” Lorgan said. “After the hurricane went by, she’s been on Facebook several times thanking me and my wife. Saying she’s glad we stuck to our guns and we would not let them stay because they don’t know what they would have done had they been here with the amount of damage done.”

Lorgan says repairs may move quicker without guests, but he could use the money. So he hopes to partially reopen by Labor Day.

He anticipates all repairs will be complete by January of 2021.