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ASBURY PARK, NJ-The residential portions of this city’s oceanfront redevelopment are well under way and now the boardwalk-focused retail and entertainment component has taken a big step forward. Officials of the Washington, DC-based Madison Marquette announced today at the ICSC Convention in Las Vegas that they had signed an agreement with Asbury Partners, master developer of Oceanfront Asbury, as the larger project’s called, to fill in that gap. For previous stories, click here .

“We are eager to help restore Asbury Park to its prominence among East Coast beach communities,” said Gary Mottola, managing director and head of investments for Madison Marquette, in making the announcement. “After a two-year process, we selected Madison Marquette because they create amazing retail destinations and can manage complex redevelopments,” added Hugh Lamle, president of MD Sass, the lead investor in Asbury Partners.

The estimated $1.25-billion project involves some 56 acres of oceanfront real estate. The retail and entertainment portion will involve about 500,000 sf of space along the oceanfront, primarily focused on the city’s historic boardwalk, and will also include a lakeside retail promenade along Wesley Lake and a major new hotel. The approval process and land assembly have been under way for several years by Asbury Partners, headed by Larry Fishman.

The initial three residential communities within the redevelopment are under construction, totaling nearly 850 units, and the master plan for Oceanfront Asbury includes a total of at least 3,164 new residential units to be developed. That plan also calls for a preservation of the city’s historic character and its musical heritage, and Madison Marquette and Asbury Partners have hired architect David Rockwell to design the retail and entertainment venue.

“We understand that successful developments respond best to the needs of the surrounding community,” says Mottola. “The needs of Asbury Park residents are foremost on our minds as we polish the Oceanfront Asbury project. This is an ideal venue for our philosophy of development, and although our involvement has just begun, we are already receiving tremendous interest from the retailer, restaurant and entertainment communities.”

As part of the ongoing approval process, Madison Marquette and Asbury Partners are expected to present a detailed proposal to city officials “in the near future,” according to Madison Marquette’s Jeff Ingram. “This redevelopment is now being fast-tracked with a target completion date of 2010.”

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