Jack Burbage, principal of Blue Water Development, a West Ocean City-based real estate development company responsible for more than $250 million in economic growth on the Eastern Shore, looks forward to his company’s continued success.
Since its beginning, with Burbage at the helm, Blue Water Development has built a reputation for quality, reliability and trustworthiness. Because of those attributes, it grew at an incredible pace in only a few years. Burbage started out working at The Style Guide clothing store in Berlin, his hometown. Under his leadership, the business grew into a chain of stores in Maryland and Delaware.
Along the way, he acquired real estate.
After purchasing property in Delaware, Burbage bought Mystic Harbour in West Ocean City in 1991. It was his first major acquisition in Maryland. Although the property, with its 180 houses, had a failing septic plant, he focused on the future, realizing its potential for an improved wastewater system and increased development to serve the needs of a burgeoning population in the area.
“It just grew,” Burbage said. “The real estate just grew. And then we started doing subdivisions because we had the water and the sewer to do it with.”
With his sons, John III and Todd, Burbage developed three subdivisions, Deer Point, Ocean Reef and Whispering Woods, in addition to two commercial properties, Decatur Business Center and Seaside Village, all in West Ocean City.
After purchasing Castaways Campground, also in West Ocean City, they focused on the hospitality industry. Now, Blue Water Development Corporation owns three upscale campgrounds, Sunset Beach Resort and Chincoteague Island KOA in Virginia and The Resort at Massey’s Landing in Delaware. They also own three hotels, Bethany Beach Ocean Suites in Delaware, The Commander Hotel in Ocean City, Md., and Fairfield Inn & Suites Chincoteague in Virginia.
As the company grows, Burbage remains an active partner, but he is gradually retiring from the day-to-day obligations and “passing the baton” to Todd. With his son running the business, Burbage predicts Blue Water Development will become the fastest growing company on Delmarva.
In addition to serving 30 years on the board of directors of Berlin-based Taylor Bank, Burbage has been a member of the board of trustees for Atlantic General Hospital for 10 years. He co-chairs the Atlantic General Campaign for the Future, which includes the current construction of the regional cancer care center on the hospital’s campus in Berlin. He also serves on the board of directors of Diakonia, a crisis shelter facility in West Ocean City.
In 2013, Burbage received the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business Leadership Award and in 2015, the Hal Glick Distinguished Service Award.