City taps Hovnanian to develop Beachfront South

Unit prices range
from $400,000
to $2.2 million

Staff Writer

Unit prices range
from $400,000

An architect’s rendering of the proposed Beachfront South.An architect’s rendering of the proposed Beachfront South.

to $2.2 million


Staff Writer

LONG BRANCH — The City Council turned to a familiar name to be its developer for the Beachfront South redevelopment area.

At a special meeting on Aug. 4, the council passed a resolution designating K. Hovnanian Shore Acquisitions LLC, of Middletown, to develop the 12 acres of property bordered on the east by Ocean Avenue, on the west by Ocean Boulevard, on the south by North Bath Avenue and on the North by Morris Avenue.

"One aspect [of the plan] has not changed and will not change," Thomas Bauer, a principal of Melillo and Bauer architectural firm, based in Point Pleasant, said as he held up a photograph of the Long Branch sunrise. "[This] is the heart and soul of the project."

Hovnanian will be paying $10 million to the city as part of the contractual agreement, according to Mayor Adam Schneider.

"It [the $10 million] is the result of a competitive process," Schneider said. "It will go into the redevelopment fund."

He said that as of this time, the city has not designated where that money will be spent.

"It is a huge benefit to the city," Schneider said.

Hovnanian was one of three finalists among approximately 10 development companies competing for the job, according to Schneider. The other two were Denholtz Associates, of Rahway, and Westminster Communities, a division of Kushner Cos., of Florham Park.

Schneider said all the plans proposed by the three development agencies consisted of mid-rise condominiums and townhouses, ranging from 270 units to 350.

Negotiations with the other two agencies were terminated, Schneider said.

"The series of negotiations start now [with Hovnanian]," Schneider said. "We are going to be getting more specific over the course of the next 120 days."

The city’s redevelopment attorney, Mark R. Aikins, said the council’s resolution is the first step toward reaching the developers agreement.

Bauer gave a presentation to the council and members of the community at the meeting on the proposed plan for the site that will cost approximately $300 million.

"We have a magnificent development on Ocean Boulevard," Bauer said. "It will look and feel and live wonderfully."

He said five buildings will be constructed on three parcels of land, one parcel being 8 acres and the other two parcels being 2 acres each. There will be approximately 70 units per building and a total of 350 units.

The units range in size from 1,350 square feet to 3,530 square feet and will be a combination of one- to four-bedroom residences. The cost per unit will range from $400,000 up to $2.2 million.

The buildings will be designed in a staggering set-back, according to Bauer, starting at four stories closest to Ocean Avenue and staggering back up to eight stories closest to Ocean Boulevard.

Bauer said that "90 percent of the homes will have an ocean view" and "70 percent of the homes will have a southern exposure."

He said parking is planned to be underground in two levels constructed under the building.

"All cars will be below [the building] with the exception of some visitor parking on Ocean Avenue," Bauer said.

"We did not want the oceanfront to be one parking lot after another," Schneider said.

Two existing buildings, the Oceanpointe Towers and the Grauman Towers, which are senior citizen facilities and are located in between the two 2-acre parcels of land, will not be torn down and will remain a part of the site.

Schneider said it would be too difficult to relocate the large number of seniors living in them.

The site will also include two pools, a bocce court, a croquet court and extensive landscaping, according to Bauer.

He said there will be three access points for pedestrians to go through and around the development from the city to the beach.

"There will be a lot of public access," he said.

As part of the contract, Hovnanian will also repair the section of the boardwalk that runs in front of the Beachfront South project, Schneider said.

A 50-foot-wide bike path is planned, as part of the city’s master bike pathway to go along Ocean Boulevard, to be a part of the development, according to Lynn Yahia, a senior associate with Melillo and Bauer.

John Villapiano, who has owned Jake’s Gym in the Beachfront South redevelopment area on Ocean Avenue since 1978, said that when he bought the property he knew it would be put to a different use in the future.

"If my business is taken, I could not think of a better way," Villapiano said. "I never imagined it would be a project of this magnitude. The project is beautiful."

He said that the project is extremely valuable to the property owners and he hopes that the developers do not try to low-ball the property owners.

"The negotiations between the property owners and the developers should be fair, honest and reasonable," he said. "It [the project] is a real plus for the town."