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BELMAR, NJ-Site work has started for Belmar Seaport Village, a $500-million mixed-use redevelopment in the downtown area of this oceanfront resort community. The redevelopment involves two sites at 500 and 800 Main St., and work officially began late last week with the demolition of an auto dealership at the 800 site.

“This is the first visible step toward revitalizing our downtown and making it a model of smart growth and sustainable design,” says Mayor Kenneth E. Pringle.

“It will set a standard of how redevelopment should take place between the public and private sectors,” says Thomas Walsh, president of the Gale Construction Co., Florham Park, a subsidiary of Mack-Cali Realty Corp. “We’ve spent considerable time and effort meeting with Belmar’s municipal leaders, business groups, downtown property owners, business owners and citizens.”

The master developer is Gale Belmar LLC, which won that designation in early 2005, as reported by GlobeSt.com. At the time, it was an affiliate of the Gale Co., and Mack-Cali inherited the project when it subsequently acquired Gale. Ongoing development is being managed by Gale Construction.

In its first phase, Belmar Seaport Village is starting out modestly. Demolition on the one-acre auto dealership site is paving the way for 38 condo and townhouse units, 9,500 sf of ground-floor retail space and 67 covered parking spaces, with actual construction expected to start in Q1 2007. While the site plan continues to evolve and requires additional state and local approvals, the completed Belmar Seaport Village will be many times that size and scope. The build-out is estimated by Gale officials to take between seven and 10 years.

According to Walsh, Gale Belmar’s series of public design workshops has resulted in the creation and adoption of the Belmar Seaport Village Design Guide, which will be applied to all of the project’s phases. The guide’s elements include a green design program, a retail master plan and a plan of streetscapes, pocket parks and green roofs. And, according to Mayor Pringle, his community has simultaneously launched a town-wide sustainability plan focused on long-term economic, cultural and environmental goals.

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