2007-02-22 / Front Page

Long Branch approves revised Pier Village plans

Residential units, third phase added; hotel possible
BY CHRISTINE VARNO Staff Writer

BY CHRISTINE VARNO
Staff Writer

Revised plans for the Pier Village redevelopment project were approved last week, and include a third phase along the oceanfront with more residential units, retail outlets and possibly a hotel.

At the Feb. 13 municipal meeting, the Long Branch City Council unanimously adopted resolution 46-07, designating Applied Development Cos. as the developer of the Pier Village, phase III project.

"At this point, there are just proposed, conceptual plans [for phase III]," said project architect Glenn P. Haydu, of Minno & Wasko, Lambertville, after the meeting.

"We are just starting to design the project," he said.

The third phase of Pier Village is bordered by Morris Avenue and Melrose Terrace and Ocean Boulevard and Ocean Avenue, according to Haydu.

The preliminary plans call for a mixture of apartment and condominium units, retail shopping along the beach and the possibility of a hotel, he said.

"Phase III is structured around a retail frontage," Haydu said.

The plans could include an undetermined number of residential units in three buildings with a focus on the ocean views for the units' occupants.

According to the resolution, "The city desired to conditionally designate the phase II redeveloper as the redeveloper of approximately 220 residential units, 50 condominium hotel units, 15,000 square feet of retail space and 550 parking spaces."

The resolution also approved changes to the second phase of the project, which calls for creating public parking spaces along Melrose Terrace and Ocean Avenue.

In order to develop the additional parking area for phase II, the city must acquire a parcel of land, Lot 1, Block 22, and use eminent domain if necessary, according to the resolution.

The adoption of the resolution authorized the city to begin condemnation proceedings for the property.

Applied has already constructed a $100 million mixed-use project in the first phase of the Pier Village redevelopment zone.

The first phase was constructed on a 10-acre tract on the waterfront stretching from Laird Street to Melrose Terrace.

"We are proud of the project, to date," David Barry, president of Applied, said at the meeting. "It is well on its way to serving its intended function, which is a community gathering place. I think it has helped transform the oceanfront."

Haydu presented the council with a modified version of Pier Village, phase II, at the meeting.

Greg Russo, senior vice-president of Applied, could not be reached for comment on why the plans were being altered.

The original plans for phase II received site plan approval from the city's Planning Board last year, and the developers were scheduled to appear before the Planning Board yesterday for a second approval on the changes.

"We changed a few aspects of the project because we wanted to work with the town to provide more public parking on the beach," Haydu said.

The revised plans call for approximately 240 units in four buildings on a tract of land on Ocean Boulevard, to the west of the first phase of the project.

The mixed-use project will also contain 5,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 189 public parking spaces along the oceanfront.

The primary changes in the project include altering Building Two in the plans from eight dwelling units to 26 dwelling units, according to Haydu.

Additionally, 123 parking spaces slated to be contained underground in parking garages below Buildings seven and eight have been redistributed to public parking spaces along Melrose Terrace and Ocean Avenue, Haydu said.

Another 98 spaces were added to the parking deck in Building Three, according to Haydu.

Construction for phase II is expected to begin in the fall, pending approval from the Planning Board, he said.

Phase II of the project is bordered by Ocean Boulevard and Landmark Place, Haydu said at the meeting, describing the second phase as "the primary gateway into the project."

Although the project has been modified, Haydu said the changes are minimal.

Building two will be constructed at the corner of Laird Street and Ocean Boulevard and has been changed from a three-story building with eight units to a four-story building with 26 units.

At street level of the building will be retail stores, Haydu said.

Buildings three and seven will be constructed on the corner of Chelsea Avenue and Ocean Boulevard and will both stand four-stories high with retail stores at street level.

Building three will contain 124 units and a four-story parking deck. building seven will have 47 units, a pool, locker room and public gathering space.

Building eight will be constructed on the corner of Melrose and Ocean Boulevard and will contain residential units above a parking garage.

Buildings three, seven and eight will be rental units and building two will be for-sale units, according to Haydu.

Councilman Brian Unger asked the developers at the meeting how much affordable housing will be included in the project.

Haydu replied that all the units in phase II will be market-rate housing.

And Russo said at the meeting that the developer has been responsible for constructing 85 affordable housing units throughout Long Branch.

"I believe we are the only developers on the oceanfront doing affordable housing to date," Russo said.

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