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LONG BRANCH, NJ-This city’s ongoing redevelopment could be ready to get another major boost. Formal plans were unveiled at this week’s city council meeting for a project that will renovate and expand the existing Ocean Place Resort and Spa and add additional uses to an 18-acre oceanfront site. The proposal carries an estimated price tag of $500 million.

As reported by GlobeSt.com,plans were initially announced more than a year ago by Ocean Place Development LLC, a joint venture of the Arizona-based Tiburon Capital LLC and Orr Partners of Washington, DC. Tiburon had acquired what was then known as the Ocean Place Hilton Hotel from Gem Holding Inc. in 2000.

The fleshed-out plans unveiled this week by development manager Steven Manis for the so-called “Hotel Campus Redevelopment Zone” call for a complete renovation of the existing 254-key hotel and the addition of 60 rooms in a new tower. The hotel’s conference center and banquet facilities would also be expanded.

According to Manis, the site plan also calls for a total of 475 residential units, including 200 condo-hotel units, plus 250,000 sf of retail space, 103,000 sf of office space and structured parking for more than 2,000 cars. The project would also create several new pedestrian-friendly public streets. The architectural firm Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum is on-board for the design.

As part of Ocean Place Development’s pending redeveloper agreement with the city, the partnership would also contribute $20 million toward rebuilding the Long Branch amusement and fishing pier, which extended into the Atlantic Ocean adjacent to the redevelopment site before it was destroyed by fire two decades ago. The new version, to be named the Millennium Pier, would be owned by the city and would not, under current plans, include the amusements and rides that characterized its predecessor. Also part of the pending agreement would be the establishment of ferry service to New York City.

“We are working out the final details,” Mayor Adam Schneider related at the city council meeting this week. “It is a very large project, the biggest so far in Long Branch.”

The project still requires environmental approval under the state’s Coastal Area Facility Review Act (Cafra). Including the approval process, city and redevelopment officials predict that it could take upwards of five years to complete the project.

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