ASBURY PARK, NJ-Even skeptics of this oceanfront city’s long-awaited redevelopment have to admit that this long-faded resort town finally has some momentum. In separate decisions, the city council and planning board have given their approval to key projects.One of them is part of the larger Oceanfront Asbury project, a 56-acre redevelopment that’s being overseen by the Lakewood, NJ-based Asbury Partners. In this case, the planning board has okayed Club Premier at Asbury Park, a three-building, 153-unit condo project on a parcel within Oceanfront Asbury. It’s Asbury Partners’ responsibility to line up individual developers for the various components of Oceanfront Asbury. The Jackson, NJ-based Paramount Homes, which uses Club Premier as a brand name, is the group behind this latest project. While company officials haven’t said how much it will cost, the plan they laid out before the planning board entails the three separate buildings–the eight-story Monterey and Barcelona, and the four-story Seville. Paramount has yet another project on the drawing boards for a site just north of Club Premier, one which would entail 190 condo units. And the Kushner Cos., Florham Park, NJ, recently gained approval for 146 condos and townhouses on an adjacent site. Asbury Partners officials say they expect construction to be under way at least on the Club Premier project, and on Kushner’s project, by late summer.In a separate project that isn’t part of Oceanfront Asbury, Emory Realty LLC, a local group, has won final city council approval to redevelop the long-vacant Steinbach’s department store in this city’s Downtown area as a mix of 63 loft-style apartments and 24,000 sf of ground-floor retail. The group takes its name from Emory Street, which borders the site of the 100,000-sf, five-story building.Carter Sackman, managing partner of Emory Realty, has put a price tag of $7 million on the project. He expects work to begin in June and to have it completed approximately one year later.The building itself, which dates back to the 1890s and was originally a hotel, is listed on the national and state historic registers. Acquired by the Steinbach family, it was reopened as a department store in 1912, surviving as such until 1979 when the economic pressures of doing business in what had become a depressed community forced its closure. It has been vacant ever since. The fifth floor will have to be rebuilt as part of the project–it was largely gutted by a fire in the late 1980s, an event which also destroyed the building’s signature clock tower.Emory Realty, which bought the building for $1 million three years ago, is going to get a major tax break as an incentive to complete the project. An ordinance has been introduced in city council which, if passed as expected, would give the developer a 10-year tax reduction of 35% on the finished project.Sackman, meanwhile, may have another project brewing right next door. He’s involved with a partnership that has a proposal, expected to be formally unveiled later this year, to turn the long-vacant Asbury Park Press building into a combination of residences and a parking deck. The newspaper vacated the building a number of years ago in favor of a new, modern plant in nearby Neptune Township.

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