The parcel of land along the boulevard in Seaside Heights which for more than a decade has been a source of frustration for local residents due to the presence of a deteriorated steel structure from an ill-fated nightclub, cleared another hurdle towards an ambitious redevelopment plan.
The property, which spans Webster and Hamilton avenues at boulevard level, was condemned and taken by the borough earlier this year. Last week, the borough council officially approved a purchase agreement with SSH Boulevard Urban Renewal LLC, the name given to a consortium of investors that includes several political figures from across the state. SSH Boulevard will purchase the property – consisting of three lots – for $1.8 million. The price is the borough’s valuation of the property that was submitted to the court during the sentencing process.
Council also approved an amended redevelopment plan, which outlined what will be proposed for the property:
- 10-storey mixed-use building (residential, retail, restaurant).
- Residential units on floors 4 to 10.
- 12,000 square feet reserved for retail/restaurant purposes.
The main building that will be constructed on the area where the “steel structure” lot is located will be approximately 125 feet in height. It will be built with rooftop facilities, of which 5,000 square feet are expected to be enclosed.
The boulevard redevelopment plan encompasses not only the location in question, but several other areas declared to be in need of redevelopment or rehabilitation. These include the old Merge nightclub, the Karma property and two parking lots. SSH Boulevard has purchased the three lots that make up the former “steel” site.
According to the redevelopment plan commissioned by the borough, officials “envision the revitalization of the boulevard as a bustling, pedestrianized main street parallel in vitality and activity to the borough’s famous promenade on the Jersey Shore.” . The goals of the project are to redesign the boulevard with “smart growth” practices, foster a thriving business community, and attract more year-round residents to the city who will support businesses that open. Tourism is also considered in the plan, with additional goals including expanding parking and encouraging high-end hotels and tourism-oriented services that will appeal to families.
The vision calls for “a safe, attractive and comfortable environment for pedestrians at pavement level” with residential development above. The residential development must be able to support gated parking while maintaining a design consistent with a modern coastal setting.
The purchase agreement and adoption of the full redevelopment plan (which will be the subject of a separate story) is scheduled for a public hearing and a second vote on August 3. At this borough council meeting, the governing body is also expected to officially appoint SSH Boulevard as a redeveloper.