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ASBURY PARK, NJ-Asbury Partners LLC, master developer for this city’s 56-acre oceanfront redevelopment tract, has acquired five boardwalk pavilions for $3.5 million in a transaction marking a key step forward for the 450,000-sf retail component of the project. Oceanfront Asbury, as the project is called, will combine retail, residential, hotel and entertainment components with a total projected cost of $1.25 billion.

Simultaneously, Asbury Partners has tapped Cushman & Wakefield as exclusive leasing agent for the retail portion of Oceanfront Asbury, which is expected to encompass a mix of convenience stores, general merchandisers and restaurants. Heading the effort is Susan Kurland, executive director and senior-most retail broker in C&W’s New York office. The team also includes senior directors Tom Glerum of the East Rutherford, NJ office and Joanne Podell of the New York office.

“We consider this the ‘center of the universe’ along the Jersey shore,” Kurland says. “We anticipate music venues, restaurants and leisure activities. Our selection and targeting of specific retailers will be conducted with the objective of creating a year-round destination.”

The newly acquired structures run parallel to Asbury Park’s boardwalk, and Asbury Partners has already started cleaning up the sites. The firm, which is a joint venture of Oceanfront Acquisitions of Lakewood, NJ and New York-based M.D. Sass Partners, has also agreed to buy several other city-owned properties over the next year. Among them are Convention Hall, the Paramount theater and the Asbury Park Casino.

“This will serve as the central hub of the retail area,” explains Larry Fishman, COO for Asbury Partners, which is using Asbury Park’s history of music and entertainment as a theme for the redevelopment. “The boardwalk and entertainment area encompasses more and a mile of beachfront property. Developers have committed to 50% of the planned 3,164 residential units, so the retail component is primed to take off.”

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