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.

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