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LONG BRANCH, NJ-With redevelopment well under way along this city’s oceanfront, local officials are now focusing on what’s called the Broadway Corridor, a zone nearer the city’s downtown. A project that has been in the works for a few years has taken a step forward with unanimous city council approval of a redeveloper’s agreement with Broadway Arts LLC for that group’s proposed 725,000-sf mixed use project. The yet-to-be-named project, for now simply called BAC, will focus heavily on arts and entertainment.

Broadway Arts LLC is made up of a group of local businessmen headed by managing partner Todd Katz, and what the group has in mind is a package that will include two performing arts theaters, one of them the new home of the New Jersey Repertory Co. Also in the mix are close to 200,000 sf of retail space including art galleries and restaurants, parking for 1,500 cars and 500 residential units, 80% of which will be affordable housing.

Actual development of the site is being farmed out to the Washington, DC-based O’Connor and Co., according to Katz. And O’Connor is bringing some of its regular vendors into the project, including architects Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum and general contractor Orr Partners, both also of Washington, DC. O’Connor itself will take care of leasing, marketing and property management.

Both the Broadway Corridor and this city’s oceanfront redevelopment have had major overtones relating to the Kelo v. New London decision. While that decision could have an impact on several residential property owners along the oceanfront, the eminent domain question hovers over a number of business owners in the Broadway Corridor.

City officials could not be reached for comment. However, one of the points Katz made prior to the latest city council vote was that it has been his group’s intention “to include the businesses” in the redevelopment plan. He also indicated that he has had “preliminary discussions with several of them.”

The next step is for the project’s design to be presented to both the city council and planning board. Katz hopes that will happen in time for a spring of 2006 groundbreaking. If all goes according to schedule, completion is slated for late 2007. He has declined to release the project’s cost pending completion of the design and site plans.

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