ASBURY PARK, NJ-It’s been years in the making, and some of its other components are already under way, but the massive $1.25 billion redevelopment of this city’s oceanfront has taken a major step forward with the groundbreaking for its residential component. A trio of developers will build a total of some 3,000 multifamily units over the next several years, all within a few blocks of the Atlantic Ocean.

“We have looked forward to this day, and we can now say that we have entered the first phase of the rebirth of this city,” says Mayor Kevin G. Sanders.

The first residential phase of Oceanfront Asbury, as the project is called, entails more than 525 homes. The larger project, which is being shepherded by master developer Asbury Partners entails a 450,000-sf retail/entertainment component besides the 3,000 homes, plus improved municipal services and a projected 10-year build-out.

The three residential subdevelopers include the Florham Park, NJ-based Westminster Communities, which is initially building the 146-unit Wesley Grove complex on the city’s south shore, en route to an eventual 750 units. The Jackson, NJ-based Paramount Homes, meanwhile, is starting off with the 157-condo North Beach Asbury Park project.

And Metro Homes, based in Hoboken, NJ, is adding an initial 224 units to the mix in what is perhaps the most unusual project to date. The company is taking the skeleton of a high-rise residential building that was abandoned during construction 15 years ago and has stood unfinished ever since, and turning it into a luxury condo building.

“These companies have worked with each other, with us and with local and state government agencies to advance the redevelopment,” says Larry Fishman COO of master developer Asbury Partners. “They have pooled marketing resources and contributed to city events. Their willingness to work together reflects a larger synergy that continues to build around this project.”

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