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Oceanfront Asbury drawing attention from developers. (Design and Development).

Real estate developers from the tristate area and nationwide are expressing active interest in Oceanfront Asbury, the proposed 56-acre waterfront redevelopment of Asbury Park, New Jersey, announced Larry Fishman, chief operating officer of Ocean Front Acquisitions LLC, the city-appointed master developer. In addition to 15 real estate firms that met with Ocean Front this winter during the city-sponsored charrette planning process, a steady stream of individual and institutional builders have visited this beach community in the past several months to meet with the redevelopers and learn more about the opportunities to get involved.

Designed by project planner Clarke Caton Hintz/Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects a joint venture (CCH/EE&K), one of America's leading urban architecture and design firms, Oceanfront Asbury encompasses residential, retail and entertainment components, as well as municipal services.

The proposed project is based on the original James Bradley city plan as designed in 1897. It incorporates open parks and wide roads that provide easy beach-front access for area residents and visitors.

As gatekeeper for the redevelopment, Ocean Front Acquisitions will work with multiple developers on individual components of Oceanfront Asbury. "The response from the real estate community has been extremely enthusiastic -- people have a great deal of faith in the future of Asbury Park," said Fishman, who added that the company has commitments for more than 50% of the residential component. "We are planning approximately 2,500 new housing units and 500 replacement units," he said. Ninety percent of the homes are expected to be for-sale residences designed for year-round use. Low-rise and mid-rise buildings will include a combination of townhomes and condominiums.

According to Fishman, the retail portion of the redevelopment plan -- totaling 450,000 SF of space -- represents a true diamond in the rough. "The retail component presents, arguably, the most exciting and flexible portion of the plan," he said. "The existing boardwalk and entertainment area encompasses more than one mile in beach-front property, including the convention hall, the casino, seven pavilions and plans for two beach clubs on the boardwalk. We also have provisions for four to six restaurants in this segment and a hotel site available just one-half block from the water."

Ocean Front Acquisitions has had a number of retailers, including Fortune 100 companies, that want to lease the convention hall and other buildings individually. However, the company's plan is to integrate the various retail components by appointing one entity that will assume responsibility for the entire endeavor.

"Our vision is to master lease or sell the entire retail segment to one company, such as an institutional investor or a major retail owner/manager," Fishman explained. "This will provide continuity and ensure that this critical aspect of the redevelopment project is handled with the highest possible level of expertise."

A key element in the planning of Oceanfront Asbury took place this winter during an innovative "charrette process," which included a full week of creative meetings in which developers, consulting professionals, municipal authorities and the public became involved in the project design.

Clarke Caton Hintz/Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn a joint venture, created the project's master plan in the fall of 2001. In early 2002, the city hired the internationally renowned firm of Duany Plater-Zyberk (DPZ) to advise the city council on the draft CCH/EE&K master plan, by conducting an outreach "charrette."

The process enhanced communication and identified community priorities, regulatory requirements and administrative concerns. The charrette also ultimately produced the series of graphic documents, which included a refinement and confirmation of the master plan created by CCH/EE&K, which DPZ cited for its high-quality design. Details are being finalized, and after hearings before the planning board, the city council is expected to vote on the amended plan in late March.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 3, 2002
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