Broadway Center

LONG BRANCH, NJ-Oceanfront redevelopment has grabbed most of the headlines in this shore city for the past several years, and now the downtown area is slated to grab some of that thunder. A local partnership has picked up planning and zoning approval for the first phase of Broadway Center, a mixed-use, arts-oriented project initially unveiled in early 2007.

The developer is Broadway Arts Center LLC, a group headed by the Siperstein and Katz families, operators of Siperstein’s, a regional chain of paint and decorating stores, and the Pereira family, owners of locally based Pax Construction. O’Connor & Co., a Washington, DC-based asset management firm headed by Patience O’Connor, is overseeing development, marketing and operations, and the project is being designed by Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum in collaboration with Niles Bolton Architects.

With first-phase approvals in hand, the group plans to start actual construction before the end of this year and deliver the phase by spring 2010. Altogether, plans call for three phases and a total build-out cost in the neighborhood of $315 million.

“We’re excited to see our plans come to fruition,” says Todd Katz, managing partner of Broadway Arts Center. “This approval will allow phase one to begin, including retail and entertainment, office space and live-work units.”

That initial phase will include construction of about 180,000 sf of retail space in 60 shops, an office component and 100 live/work residential units. Phase two, slated to start construction immediately after phase one is done, will add more residential units, three parking garages with 500 spaces each. And the third phase is “still in the design stage,” according to O’Connor. At build-out the 180,000-sf of retail space will be capped by more than 540 residential units, with about 100 of those classified as “affordable.”

And with its arts orientation, Broadway Center has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Long Branch and the Orange, CA-based Cornerstone Entertainment International to restore the historic Paramount Theater. The latter, which will be operated by Cornerstone, will join a new building housing the New Jersey Repertory Company as anchors for the finished product.

“Broadway Center will encourage a diverse group of people to live and work here,” Katz says. “That includes young families, empty nesters, professionals and the newly graduated, who will enjoy this environment year-round.”

Broadway Center takes its name from the local thoroughfare that it will surround. The nine-acre redevelopment area already contains about 60,000 sf of retail, and while existing building stock will largely be razed, many of the local retailers are expected to join the tenant roster of the new project. Other than the Paramount Theater, Broadway Center will largely be new construction.