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Thread: Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ

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    Default Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ

    146-home plan in 'leadoff position' in Asbury Park transformation

    Published in the Asbury Park Press 2/10/04

    By NANCY SHIELDS
    COASTAL MONMOUTH BUREAU

    ASBURY PARK -- City planners last night began hearing the first application for new homes on the waterfront as Kushner Cos. presented plans for 146 town houses and one-story condominiums along Wesley Lake between Lake and Cookman avenues.

    Kushner, of Florham Park, eventually plans to build 750 homes over four phases. The first phase includes four stories of stacked town houses on two blocks along Cookman Avenue, two stories of condo flats along Lake Avenue and 46 luxury town houses.

    "Hopefully this will be the start of many buildings," said Alfred L. Faiella, lawyer for Asbury Partners, the prime redeveloper, which bought the oceanfront rights two years ago and is selling parcels for development to individual builders. "This is the beginning of a long journey for this municipality."

    Jeffrey Freireich, vice chairman and managing partner of Kushner Cos., said it was "great to be in the leadoff position for the future of Asbury Park."

    Freireich said the company expects to break ground in the summer. He has previously said an average cost for the homes would be $400,000. Home will vary from one to three bedrooms.

    The Planning Board is to continue the hearing on the Wesley Lake District proposal at 7 p.m. Feb. 24. Also, at that special meeting, the planners agreed to begin hearing the site plan application of a second developer, Paramount Homes, for condominiums on the oceanfront block north of the Berkeley-Carteret Oceanfront Hotel.

    Larry Fishman, chief operating officer of Asbury Partners, said Asbury Partners recently reached a tentative agreement with a third developer to build homes along Ocean Avenue, replacing K. Hovnanian. He didn't identify the builder but hopes to do so soon.

    The plan provides for the development of more than 3,000 homes, 450,000 square feet of commercial space, an upgrade of the storm sewer system and sewer lines, rehabilitation of the Casino, Convention Hall and the boardwalk heating plant, rebuilding of the boardwalk (now in progress), and the creation of private and public beach clubs.

    Asbury Partners has to build $45 million of infrastructure and acquire up to $40 million in additional property for the project, costs that are to be recouped as blocks in the 56-acre prime renewal area are sold to subdevelopers.

    Kushner's architect, David J. Minno of Lambertville, said the two blocks in the first phrase would be a combination of three styles -- downtown architecture, Victorian arts and crafts, and art deco. Retail spaces with floor-to-ceiling glass are planned at corners.

    "The idea is to come up with architecture that looks like it evolved over time," Minno told the Planning Board.

    He said there are 146 planned units but eventually there would be 181 if developers obtain land now occupied by city school board offices on Lake Avenue.

    Infrastructure update

    Earlier yesterday, the board held a special meeting to re-view the infrastructure im-provements developers are re-quired to make. That hearing is to continue March 1.

    Robert J. Curley, professional planner for Schoor DePalma, representing the developer, said once the storm sewer sys-tem is revamped, storm water will no longer discharge into the ocean or lakes untreated but instead at least 95 percent will go through treatment swirl chambers.

    Many sewer pipes and some water lines will be replaced, he said.

    Ocean Avenue, which is to have two-way traffic, will have no traffic lights as it does now, but stop signs instead, said Henry Ney, traffic engineer for Asbury Partners.

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    Wasn't that a Bruce Springsteen album?

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    Wasn't that a Bruce Springsteen album?
    Yup, the Boss was born and raised just a couple miles from where I live in Freehold NJ.

    He moved to Asbury Park when he got out of highschool, he lived in a surf board factory and met members of his future band who lived on a street called "East Street".

    Hence Bruce Springsteen and the East Street Band, Bruce still lives here in Monmouth County and can be spotted around Freehold or Asbury Park.

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    April 9, 2004

    Officials Say Development Will Return Asbury Park to Glory Days

    By KAREN DeMASTERS


    Plans call for demolishing dilapidated buildings on and near Asbury Park's mile-long boardwalk and replacing them with housing, shops, parks, beach clubs and possibly a hotel.

    ASBURY PARK, N.J., April 8 - The governor showed up, the flashbulbs flashed and the sunshine even came out in force. After two decades in which its dreams of resurgence were repeatedly doused, this deteriorating seaside resort finally got a moment in the light on Thursday.

    Gov. James E. McGreevey and other state and city officials visited the newly restored boardwalk near the historic Convention Hall, using the ocean as a sparkling backdrop to formally mark the start of Asbury Park's $1.2 billion redevelopment and declare that this time, the promises of new life for this beleaguered city would come true.

    "In the past years there has been much hope and much failure," Mr. McGreevey told a crowd of about 50 residents, developers and reporters. "But now you are going to see Asbury Park rise again."

    After all the earlier promises, there is no shortage of skepticism here. Previous developers had sweeping plans, but bankruptcies and litigation tied the city's hands for years while the buildings and infrastructure deteriorated and visitors and residents fled.

    On Thursday, the predictions were bold for the redevelopment plan, which envisions new housing, shops, entertainment facilities, parks, two beach clubs and possibly a hotel along the city's mile-long boardwalk and on nearby blocks.

    The presentations were laced with subtle references to Bruce Springsteen, the Jersey Shore's best-known native son and an important supporter of Asbury Park. Officials said that groundbreaking for the first of more than 3,000 new housing units, including condominiums and rental apartments, would take place this spring and that people would be able to move in within 18 months.

    Three of the run-down and shuttered boardwalk structures that once housed shops and candy stores are being renovated and will be open by the summer of 2005, said Larry Fishman, the chief operating officer for Asbury Partners, the company that has bought the development rights to the entire beachfront area. The new shops are to be two-sided, with seasonal attractions on the east, facing the water, and year-round retail stores on the Ocean Avenue side.

    In what might be an omen of the project's success, the city, for the first time in decades, recently received an investment-grade rating from Moody's Investors Service, which analyzes municipal bonds for private investors and mutual funds. Without a rating, it is impossible for a public agency to sell bonds. On Wednesday, Commerce Capital Markets of Cherry Hill, N.J., bought $3.2 million worth of general improvement and sewer utility bonds.

    "It is hard to make bond ratings sound sexy, but every redevelopment starts with people's confidence," Terence J. Reidy, the city manager, said. "This is the first time in 35 years the city has had an investment-grade rating, and that shows financial experts have confidence in the redevelopment."

    Not everyone is convinced that the new development plans are what the city needs. Some residents and business owners complain that they are not being given the opportunity to upgrade their properties to conform to the new plans, but instead are being forced to sell to the developers.

    Werner Baumgartner, the city historian, said the city's identity as a center of rock 'n' roll and of summer vacationers would be destroyed by the condominiums and retail shops that are the centerpiece of the development.

    But the gathered officials said on Thursday that every effort was being made to save the important parts of the city's past. Bradley Campbell, the state's environmental protection commissioner, praised the rapid approval of the crucial permit under the Coastal Area Facility Review Act that was granted late last month, and was quick to note that the redevelopment plan protected the history of Asbury Park.

    "There are tough issues we are addressing of how to protect the character of Asbury Park and how to make sure everyone is phased into the project," Mr. Campbell said.

    His remarks were made within view of Convention Hall and the Paramount Theater, two of the city's most significant landmarks. Both are to be renovated, as is the Art Deco Howard Johnson's restaurant next door.

    The famous casino at the opposite end of the boardwalk will not be saved, but will be replaced by a similar structure that will house shops and some sort of entertainment, Mr. Fishman said, while the casino's carousel house, where artistic metal insets of faces are set into every window, will be saved.

    Although procedures were begun this week for the developers to acquire the block that includes the Stone Pony, one of the state's, and possibly the nation's, most famous rock 'n' roll clubs, Mr. Fishman said the club is safe.

    Susan Bass Levin, the state's community affairs commissioner, said Thursday's delegation of visiting officials was just the beginning. "Literally thousands of people," she said, "will come after us for the new glory days of Asbury Park."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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    May 21, 2004

    RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE

    50 Condos Are Planned for Asbury Park

    By RACHELLE GARBARINE

    Betting on signs that the long-hoped-for renewal of Asbury Park, N.J., is starting to catch on, a developer plans to turn an empty office building into 25 condominiums and build an adjacent building with 25 more residences on a block sandwiched between this faded resort city's recovering downtown and its oceanfront.

    Work will start in two weeks on the $7 million-plus conversion of the six-story 1920's building at 501 Grand Avenue, once the headquarters of Jersey Central Power and Light. Renamed Asbury Grand, it will be reshaped into 900- to 1,500-square-foot apartments, some with ocean views. There will also be 5,500 square feet of ground-level commercial space as part of the conversion, which is being designed by WORK, a Manhattan architectural firm, and is to be completed by the first quarter of 2005.

    Construction of the new building will not start until most or all of the residences in the conversion are sold, said Harvey Schultz, a principal of Asbury Grand Partners, the developer. Other principals include Frank Mandia and the Murnick family, who had owned the land as well as the limestone-colored brick building.

    Mr. Schultz, who grew up near Asbury Park, said the amount of development taking place now persuaded the partners to invest in the city. "It has started to come back," said Mr. Schultz, who also is a principal of the Schultz Organization/TCN Worldwide, a commercial real estate services company in Woodbridge, N.J.

    In the more than 30 years since race riots drove out much of Asbury Park's middle class, there have been a few unsuccessful plans for its rebound. But in the last 18 months, the 12-block central business district, which had become a virtual ghost town, has slowly revived.

    Thomas Gilmour, the city's director of economic development, said that in that time 38 businesses had opened in formerly boarded-up downtown buildings, while the upper floors were being turned into housing, mainly condos. He added that 244 residences had been completed or were under way or about to begin, with most of the rest of the downtown buildings spoken for.

    One of the larger developments is the conversion to 61 rental apartments of the vacant Steinbach department store, formerly the Commercial Hotel, on Cookman Avenue. The transformation of the five-story, 19th-century building, which is listed on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places, is to begin next month, said Carter S. Sackman, a principal of Emory Realty of Manhattan, the developer. An average 1,000-square-foot apartment will rent for $1,300 to $1,500 a month, he said.

    There also are signs of success from the current $1 billion mixed-use redevelopment plan for the oceanfront and several nearby blocks. One is that Asbury Partners, the city-designated master redeveloper of the 56-acre redevelopment area, will complete the restoration of the nearly milelong boardwalk by July.

    Also, work is to start late this summer on the first 146 town houses and condos of the 3,000 residences planned for the redevelopment area. They are expected to sell at prices starting from mid-$300,000's for the condos and in the $400,000 range for the town houses, according to the developer, the Kushner Companies of Florham Park, N.J. Those residences will rise on two blocks between Cookman and Lake Avenues along Wesley Lake at the southern end of the redevelopment area. Kushner will ultimately build 750 residences.

    At the northern end of the redevelopment area, Paramount Homes of Jackson Township, N.J., will start construction in November on 153 waterfront condos. Prices are expected to range from $400,000 to $800,000.

    Mr. Schultz, the developer of the Asbury Grand, said the location of the Grand Avenue building and lot was a key to his decision to proceed. The properties are near the ocean and downtown, and two blocks from the New Jersey Transit train station.

    Mark Brown, a sales associate at the residential brokerage firm Gloria Nilson/GMAC who is marketing the conversion, said that last year 64 condos were sold downtown for $100,000 to $375,000, up from the 29 apartments that sold the previous year for $104,000 to $215,000.

    Prices at the Asbury Grand have not yet been finally set, he said, but an average 1,100-square-foot apartment is expected to sell for $330,000. Sales are to start by July.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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    New day dawns for Asbury

    ASBURY PARK -- One Saturday last month, Bill and Mo Carpenter, who live in Bernardsville and summer in Ocean Grove, looked out from the second-floor window of a new $600,000 loft for sale downtown onto a lively streetscape streaked with sunshine and shadows.


    Aerial view shows the Asbury Park oceanfront, with the unfinished high rise in the far left foreground. That is where Metro Homes, Hoboken, proposes to build a 224-unit condominium complex. Convention Hall and the Berkeley Carteret Oceanfront Hotel also can be seen. The North Beach project would be near the hotel.
    "I'm totally impressed," gushed Mo Carpenter, a 58-year-old booking agent for a New York City modeling agency. "I would buy. I like it here. I think it's good for people our age. You have the beach, you have the downtown, the great restaurants, and the train's right there."

    "I couldn't get her to walk into this town a year ago," remarked her husband, a 58-year-old auto dealership executive. "Now she wants to live here."

    Mo Carpenter's change of heart speaks volumes about Asbury Park's own turnaround. As the city prepares to break ground Thursday on the first phase of its waterfront redevelopment project, Asbury Park finds itself riding a wave of momentum that has many here believing that this time, the city's rebirth is for real.

    That feeling is most palpable downtown, where block by block, investors and entrepreneurs are transforming once gaunt buildings into vibrant shops, art galleries and upscale eateries. Foot traffic is still slow most weekdays, but activity picks up on weekends. Above these businesses, pricey new lofts and condominiums are quietly materializing -- one of which, a two-bedroom duplex above Robert Legere Home, a high-end furnishings and design store on Cookman Avenue, recently went under contract for close to $800,000.

    Now the city's waterfront developers are poised to tap into that positive vibe.

    Within weeks, developers expect actual construction to begin on two new residential communities in the redevelopment zone: Wesley Grove, which will bring 100 condominiums and 46 town houses, and retail stores to a vacant tract along Wesley Lake, outside the downtown; and North Beach, a 157-unit, three-building condominium complex to be built on an empty block north of the Berkeley Carteret Oceanfront Hotel on Ocean Avenue.

    Sam M. Gershwin, president of Kushner Co.'s Westminster Communities in Florham Park, which is developing Wesley Grove, says prices for the condominiums will be "in the $200,000s, $300,000s and $400,000s" with town houses priced higher. And Jeffrey Fernbach, president of Paramount Homes, based in Jackson, says units at North Beach will range from $400,000 to more than $1 million.

    The developers say the first units could be occupied by early 2006.
    "I see it right around the corner," says Larry Fishman, chief operating officer of Asbury Partners, which purchased the waterfront redevelopment rights from builder Joseph Carabetta in 2001. Asbury Partners' overall $1.25 billion redevelopment plan calls for a total of 3,164 new residential units, entertainment venues and 450,000 square feet of seasonal and year-round retail space.

    In another positive step, a third developer, Metro Homes LLC of Hoboken has joined the Phase 1 mix. The company unveiled plans last week to build out the unfinished high rise that has loomed over the oceanfront for 15 years, a relic of an earlier redevelopment that ended in bankruptcy. Called The Rising of Asbury Park, the proposed 224-unit art deco condominium complex offering studios to four bedrooms could follow close on the heels of the two other new developments, provided Metro Homes moves quickly through the city's approval process.

    New revenue for the city

    The prospect of all three developments coming on line by 2006 is raising hopes that meaningful financial relief is on the way for the cash-strapped city and its restive taxpayers, who have long borne one of the heaviest tax burdens in Monmouth County. City Manager Terence Reidy estimates that 500 new occupied units would generate about $3.5 million in annual revenues for the city, which in recent years has had to scramble to close multimillion-dollar budget deficits.


    "We have been surviving year to year through a lot of creativity, a lot of grants, selling off waterfront property. What this redevelopment will do is take Asbury Park out of crisis mode," Reidy says. "It will stabilize the budget and allow the city to take a breath, for the first time in a long time, and say, 'OK, where do we go from here?' " What happens next hinges on how quickly the new waterfront units sell. For their part, officials with Westminster Communities and Paramount Homes expect an enthusiastic response, based on their assessment of the market and the hundreds of names they already have amassed on "priority lists" of people who have shown interest in Wesley Grove and North Beach.

    "They've been waiting, and I can say not very patiently," says Fernbach of Paramount Homes, which has more than 1,000 names on its list. The developers can't actively market the units until their projects are officially registered with the state Department of Community Affairs, which regulates the sale and advertising of condominium units.


    Gershwin expects Westminster Communities to begin marketing in earnest early next year, starting with those people who have already expressed interest in the projects. He says the 200 or so people on his company's waiting list represent "a broad spectrum" ranging from "older empty nesters to young families and young professionals." Added Gershwin: "A fair amount are people from northern Jersey and New York who still have an affinity for Asbury Park as it once used to be and who would love to return to Asbury Park provided someone is building to their expectations."


    Wesley Grove's proximity to the resurgent downtown promises to be a major selling point for Westminster, which is considering locating its sales office there. And Gershwin says Westminster can't help but be encouraged by the interest shown for downtown residential units. For example, although some thought downtown developer Patrick Fasano was asking too high a price for the duplexes in his newly rebuilt Triangle Building at Cookman and Mattison avenues -- whose sweeping views so captivated Bill and Mo Carpenter -- the most expensive unit, listed for $635,000, is already under contract.

    Skyrocketing prices

    The upturn in prices isn't limited to downtown. Citywide, property values are on the rise, in part due to the influx of gay couples and singles who, in addition to opening new businesses downtown, have purchased and refurbished scores of houses. James McGlynn, an agent for Genesis Realty on Cookman Avenue, cited some examples of recent single-family sales: a house in the 500 block of Eighth Avenue, purchased in December 2000 for $255,000, sold in October 2003 for $620,000; and a home in the 400 block of Second Avenue, bought in 1996 for $96,000, sold in June for $650,000.


    McGlynn thinks the restored Victorian on the 600 block of Seventh Avenue he and his wife scooped up at a foreclosure sale 10 years ago for $70,000 could command more than $600,000 in today's market. Carl Williams Jr., a former mayor and council member, who since 1971 has operated the Mr. Fashion men's clothing store on Cookman Avenue, says he's not shocked by the prices people are paying for properties in the city today.


    "The people coming in are people from New York," Williams says. "They compare Asbury to New York, and we keep comparing Asbury to Neptune. They don't look at what it was. They look at what it is." Gershwin says Westminster is trying to appeal to a broader market than the niche developers downtown, and will price its units accordingly.

    "If I try to hit a home run on my first unit, I'm going to be sitting here for a long time and not moving product," Gershwin says.


    "We thought 90 percent of the marketing challenge is to get them to believe in Asbury and believe their investment will actually double over a few years, and it will," says Fernbach of Paramount Homes. "I think the pioneers will do very, very well."

    The new frontier

    One of those prospective pioneers is Adam Pfeffer, 24, who put his name on the list for one of the North Beach units. A Lakewood native, he now lives in Huntington, N.Y., where he is working toward his law degree and a master's in business. He says his family will help him with a down payment.


    "It seems like it's up and coming," Pfeffer says of Asbury Park. "I like the idea of having the ocean and brand new buildings." After suffering through a disastrous redevelopment bid in the late '80s and early '90s, the city is anxious to see those new buildings rise. Fishman says he understands the city's impatience.


    "All of the developers are going to have tens of millions of dollars invested. No one is going to sit here and stall," he said. "If they can sell 500 units the first year, there will be 500 more the next year." Although Fishman believes Asbury Partners has moved quickly on the first residential phase, he admits they have not succeeded in attracting major retail businesses to the five boardwalk pavilions Asbury Partners purchased from the city and promised to market.


    "Retail's a funny thing. You need customers, and there was no foot traffic in Asbury Park," Fishman says. "We talked to a lot of national chains and some of the nicest local restaurants and couldn't get anyone to commit. We still can't get anyone to commit." So far, the most visible sign of progress on the boardwalk is the boardwalk itself, which Asbury Partners rebuilt this year.


    Fishman says Asbury Partners is trying to bring in a partner to help market the pavilions. In the meantime, the redeveloper plans to remodel two of the pavilions to stimulate retail activity on the boardwalk next summer. City resident Stephanie Jones is eager to see that aspect of the waterfront plan proceed.

    "I just hope they finish up on the beach, too, so our kids will have some activities," says Jones, 40, who owns a home on Fourth Avenue.

    'A social contract'

    This week, though, the city's focus is on Thursday's groundbreaking ceremony, which is set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bradley Park across from Convention Hall. The event is open to the public.


    "What it means to me is self-sufficiency, in a word," says Councilwoman Kate Mellina. "It's going to mean new tax money so we can start repairing the infrastructure here, fixing the streets, provide recreation for the kids, have a real senior center, do something about affordable housing, create jobs. This is going to bring the revenue that we need to turn it back into a real city." "East side, west side, everyone knows once you raise the ratables, it will help the whole city," says Mayor Kevin Sanders. Reidy, the city manager, says the city is committed to moving the entire city forward, not just the waterfront and downtown.


    "As the city is successful in this redevelopment, that success comes at a price for some people, and the city can't be as affordable as it has been," Reidy says. "But the city has a social contract with all the people of Asbury Park, and when the community goes through this transition, the responsibility of government is to be as sensitive as it can be to the needs of the community."

    Reidy cites these examples:

    Under an agreement worked out with the city, developer Carter Sackman must obtain 20 percent of his workforce and 20 percent of his materials from Asbury Park when he converts the old Steinbach department store into 63 rental lofts and first-floor retail space. Thomas Gilmour, the city's Urban Enterprise Zone director, is overseeing new initiatives to train Asbury Park residents for jobs opening up inside and outside the city, including construction and service jobs on the waterfront.


    Housing and Community Development Director Hazel Samuels is heading up a $945,000 effort from various funding sources to revitalize homes, streets, trees and sidewalks in a neighborhood at Ridge and Bangs avenues. An affordable housing subcommittee is discussing how best to utilize $7 million Asbury Partners is obligated to pay the city for affordable housing and community development; $2 million has been paid into the fund so far, with the rest coming as the redevelopment unfolds.


    In addition, Reidy says the city is close to settling litigation that has held up redevelopment plans for Springwood Avenue that include new stores, a new elementary school and a mix of moderate and affordable rental and single-family housing. "If we can nail all of this down," Reidy says of the settlement, "it just opens the door to Springwood Avenue and allows us to reclaim that part of town in a way that it hasn't been in 30 years."

    The same can be said of the city's long dormant waterfront. "We've all waited for this day," says Steven Troy, who owns Robert Legere Home and the five new units above the store with his partner Robert Legere. "For the first time, all these people who have been driving through town for the past three years saying, 'When is it going to happen? When is it going to happen?' are going to see something concrete."

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    April 7, 2006
    Asbury Park in New Pact to Restart Development
    By RONALD SMOTHERS


    After more than a decade of failed plans, Asbury Park has reached new agreements with its development partner to speed the refurbishment of the Convention Hall, dilapidated casino and boardwalk pavilions.


    Work is under way on 147 town houses by Westminster Homes, a sub-developer of Asbury Partners, in a 56-acre section of Asbury Park. The city has reached agreement with Asbury Partners to resume redevelopment.

    ASBURY PARK, N.J., April 5 — Asbury Park's hopes of redevelopment have been frustrated by more than a decade of failed plans, bankrupt developers and corruption.

    But the city's prospects took a step forward this week when it reached a new agreement with its development partner to speed the refurbishment of the city's sagging Convention Hall, dilapidated casino and Boardwalk pavilions, and to quickly resolve disputes that have bogged down progress in the past.

    The agreement is a result of nearly six weeks of negotiations between city officials and Asbury Partners, its redeveloper, after council members and others grew impatient with the slow pace after the city turned over the Boardwalk buildings to the company in 2001.

    Critics of Asbury Partners had threatened to press for the developer's ouster if there was no agreement on strict timetables to complete the work and assurances that the developer was financially able to do so. Under the contract, Asbury Partners is to oversee the redevelopment of the buildings and a 56-acre parcel of shorefront.

    The developer has also agreed to put in escrow an amount equal to 25 percent of the estimated $6 million in work on the Boardwalk buildings, obtain performance bonds for each project and provide periodic financial statements detailing its net worth and any significant changes in its finances.

    One of the key provisions of the new agreement, said Terence J. Reidy, the city manager of Asbury Park, was a dispute resolution process that involves an arbitrator with the power to settle disagreements and to dictate remedies. The goal is to resolve disputes within 60 days. Mr. Reidy said that the only recourse for the city in past disputes had been to find the redeveloper in default, a move that often led to court battles.

    "And when you hold a developer in default it sends a terrible message to the financial community," said Mr. Reidy, recalling the city's plight in the 1990's when its developer went bankrupt and redevelopment hopes were stymied by protracted litigation. "Default says that there is not good communication with the developer, but this agreement creates a softer trigger in disputes and signals a higher level of communication and commitment by both the city and the developer."

    Larry Fishman, the president of Asbury Partners, said that part of the reason that work on the Boardwalk buildings had been delayed was that litigation challenged portions of the agreement that brought Asbury Partners to the city in 2001. But he said that as a result of the City Council's concerns, "rampant rumors" questioning the company's intentions, and the need to show its "commitment" to redevelopment, the company would no longer wait to start.

    "We have gotten timelines memorialized in this agreement and given financial assurances to our commitment," Mr. Fishman said.

    Many residents who have long mistrusted Asbury Partners continued to be skeptical. They said that although the new agreement has set time limits and financial guarantees that the city never had before, it had nevertheless taken more than four years to get them.

    "I just hope it comes together," said Dan Sciannameo, president of a New York real estate appraisal company and a resident who has criticized the redevelopment effort.

    The new agreement focuses on the premier beachfront buildings that many hoped would be the beacon for further redevelopment. But it does not directly apply to Asbury Partners' dealings with the sub-developers that it hopes to attract in order to bring housing and retail businesses to the area. Already the redeveloper has made deals with three sub-developers who are currently building 525 of the envisioned 3,100 condominiums and rental apartments in the area.

    Some critics had questioned whether Asbury Partners was extracting too much for itself from such deals and thereby dousing interest in the redevelopment among property owners and other developers. But Mr. Reidy said the new agreements had opened a "dialogue" that would allow the city to influence redevelopment efforts beyond the Boardwalk.

    Glenn Scotland, a partner in the law firm that represented Asbury Park in negotiating the new agreement, said that the concessions obtained from Asbury Partners — the timetables, for example, and the escrow money — were not available to the city in 2001 when they were desperate for help in getting redevelopment restarted.

    "But this redefines the relationship between the city and the developer and acknowledges that the city has promise and has become a more significant and commanding partner," Mr. Scotland said.

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

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    Will they do Camden next?

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    They're kind of doing Camden now in dribs and drabs. Asbury Park will still have all of those housing projects.

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    First Occupants Move into Seville in City


    Coaster Photo

    The first occupants of new beachfront residences in Asbury Park moved in last week at the Seville.
    By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
    The first residents have moved into their home on Asbury Park’s new beachfront.

    According to Paramount Homes sales associate Carolyn McKeon, a family moved in over the weekend in the Seville, part of the North Beach Asbury Park condominium complex. She also said that there have been seven closings to date at the Seville.
    The complex consists of three buildings; The Seville, the smallest, with the Barcelona and Monterey buildings bringing the total number of units to 157.
    Councilman John Loffredo, who has been instrumental in the development of the beachfront, said when he heard the news, “Really? Congratulations to them for buying here, I wish them all the best and welcome.”
    Councilman Ed Johnson said it was “fantastic.”
    “We are slowly but surely getting there,” he said. “This is the first of many more to come and I think it’s really great.”
    The Barcelona with 48 units, sold out during the pre-construction phase. Sales in the other two buildings have been steady, according to Paramount Homes representatives. Prices for penthouses in the complex begin at $1.2 million. Total sales at North Beach have exceeded $71.2 million.
    Governor Jon S. Corzine paid his first visit to Asbury Park to attend the “topping out” ceremony at North Beach Asbury during the summer.
    He joined Asbury Park officials and Paramount Homes executives in heralding the milestone in Asbury Park’s redevelopment.
    Corzine said, “It is great to be here, there is nothing like seeing economic growth to a governor. There is rebirth happening all over New Jersey and there is no place better to see that than in Asbury Park.”
    Councilman James Keady, who has been critical of the slow pace of the redevelopment saying it has cost the city millions in lost revenue said, “I certainly welcome new residents to the Asbury Park community and I’m excited about this development, but I wish it wasn’t just one family, there should be hundreds. I wish we reached the benchmark promised by Asbury Partners.”

  12. #12
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    Esperanza Developers Plan to Add Drama to Asbury Park Boardwalk

    By GARRETT STASSE
    The Esperanza goes on sale this summer.
    The condominium project on the Asbury Park beachfront will do it with a visual bang, too, as developer Metro Homes plans to drape the building’s likeness around one end of the Fourth Avenue Pavilion.

    The company will also open model apartments on the beachfront and launch an advertising campaign from here to the big bridge on the Garden State Parkway.
    Metro Homes won Planning Board approval Monday to use 5,000 square feet of the pavilion, or about a third of the building, to install a sales office, model apartment, finishing materials display and even a device that lets potential buyers see what the view would look like from the unit they are viewing.
    The main feature would be a cloth called a scrim mounted to the north end of the pavilion painted to look like the Esperanza – “Hope” in Spanish – which is to be a 224-unit structure with a restaurant, spa, gym and 84 types of units from studio to four-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot apartments, Metro Homes President Dean Geibel said. The exterior will have wave forms on the roof and sides to echo the ocean.
    He said pile driving should end next week and concrete begun to be poured. The first tower is scheduled to open in May 2008, and the second tower that October. The building would be the third major housing development in the beachfront redevelopment area; two others are under construction, one just north of the Berkeley-Carteret Hotel and the other along Wesley Lake.
    The construction is the centerpiece of efforts to transform the entire strip to a year-round residential and tourism site.
    One customer is likely to be Robyn Streisand, Metro Homes’ publicity agent. The Ocean Township resident works for a New York City public relations and advertising agency, The Mixx. She said Monday she bought the first unit in the Esperanza, and then outlined an ambitious marketing scheme.
    The pavilion would be resurfaced and painted in three tan shades to mimic the beach. Large temporary ads touting the sales office would be on either end of the building and what are supposed to look like classified ads will be put on the fence around the Esperanza construction site. A billboard would be erected on the Parkway’s southbound side of the Driscoll Bridge and newspaper and other advertising would be bought.
    But the scrim would be the main attraction. Made of material with holes to prevent wind damage, it would tower over the pavilion and lead the eye to the glass entry, she said.
    Geibel asked the board for quick approval, even though the company needed a variance for the advertising signage. The signs would cover less than 7 percent of the building but would still be too big under the ordinance.
    “Our problem is we don’t want to miss the spring market,” he said. “In my heart I think this is a good thing for the city, too… It’s going to make the boardwalk a heck of a lot nicer, too.”
    The board agreed.
    “I think this is a terrific project,” board member Steven Troy said. Others agreed.
    Henry Vaccaro, the builder, approved.
    “This is a quality, quality project Metro Homes is bringing to Asbury Park. It will bring positive buzz to counter the negatives,” he said.
    The board approved using the pavilion for 18 months; the time Geibel said would be needed to sell the units. They would ask for an extension if needed, his lawyer, Alfred Faiella said.

  13. #13
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    Occupants at Wesley Grove Expected in Spring


    The first of Wesley Grove’s buildings, the St. James, along Wesley Lake in Asbury Park is nearing completion and residents are expected to take occupancy in the spring.

    The first phase of the project includes 30 townhomes and 61 condominiums. Approximately half have been sold.
    Two decorated models are scheduled to open at the site in April.
    The St. James, built by Westminster, is part of Wesley Grove at Asbury Park which will ultimately offer 740 townhouses, duplexes and condominium flats with interior garages between Wesley Lake and Cookman Avenue. The project, when completed, will also include 35,000-square-feet of retail space.
    It was designed by Minno & Wasko, an award-winning architectural and planning firm based in Lambertville.
    “I think the two primary features people react to, most strongly, are the surprisingly large size of the homes and those amazing views,” said Laurie Koziol of Laurie Koziol Real Estate, director of sales for Wesley Grove. “They also notice the high-end features, like the designer kitchens and baths, tiling, and warm woodtones.”
    She said most units will have outdoor space to take advantage of the proximity to the beach.

    The St. James is finished in brick, stucco and glass, and steps down from four stories at its front along Cookman Avenue to two stories along Lake Avenue. The townhomes offer approximately 2,200 to 2,400 square feet of living and entertaining space, which includes spacious loft and rooftop terrace areas.
    The condominiums and duplexes average more than 1,800 square feet, some with walkout balconies and roof terraces.
    Garage space is hidden from view, and the designers have created many individual building entries with stoops to simulate a small-town atmosphere.
    The Sales Center for Wesley Grove at Asbury Park is located at 600 Cookman Avenue on the corner of Press Plaza in the heart of the downtown district, just a block from the site. It is open five days a week (closed Tuesday and Wednesday), from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  14. #14
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    Good to see Asbury Park come back. It is a significant place in Americana and needs to make a come back.

  15. #15
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    Check out their website, I love the designs of the Esperanza for Asbury Park.

    http://www.esperanzanj.com/

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