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LONG BRANCH, NJ-The redevelopment of this city’s oceanfront is expected to take another mile-long step southward along the Atlantic Ocean under plans unveiled late last week before the city council. The redevelopment effort, to date, has brought hundreds of new mid- and high-rise residences and a major retail component to the central and northern portions of the city’s oceanfront, although the northern stretch has been stalled by eminent domain issues.

The latest plans focus on the Beachfront South area of the city’s planning map. Plans developed by the city and homebuilder K. Hovnanian Shore Acquisitions, an affiliate of the Red Bank, NJ-based K. Hovnanian Enterprise, call for more than 360 residential units arrayed over five buildings on three sites totaling 12 acres. The largest portion, under plans jointly unveiled by city officials and Hovnanian reps, calls for three crescent-shaped buildings with more than 260 units.

A fourth building of up to eight stories with add about 40 homes to the mix, and a low-rise structure would add another 60 or so homes. The three sites would be united by a joint clubhouse and recreational facilities.

As the plans were unveiled, city council president Anthony Giordano indicated that the design, as well as the estimated price tag for the project, could be finalized by the end of the year. The process began in the summer of 2004 when the city and Hovnanian signed a preliminary agreement on the area’s redevelopment. Among other things, that agreement called for Hovnanian to pay $10 million for the redevelopment rights.

And eminent domain is not expected to be an issue here. According to a Hovnanian spokesman, the company is close to settling with five current owners and is “actively negotiating” with several others.

The three residential sites will also be linked by a new mile-long stretch of heavily landscaped oceanfront boardwalk, a city project. The design is being done by SOSH Architects of New York and Atlantic City, and by local landscape architect Thomas Bauer. It will connect with, and its design will be similar to boardwalk fronting Pier Village, Applied Development’s mixed-use residential/retail project just to the north.

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