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ASBURY PARK, NJ-Kushner Cos., which largely got out of the residential business with the sale of its 17,000-unit apartment portfolio in October, aiming to focus on New York office trophies, has now removed itself from the local redevelopment scene as well. The Florham Park-based company has agreed to sell its three-phase Wesley Grove condo project to Madison Marquette.

The Washington, DC-based Madison Marquette is no stranger to this oceanfront city, currently serving as lead developer for the retail and entertainment portion of the 56-acre Oceanfront Asbury redevelopment, focusing on the city’s boardwalk area. With its apparent takeover of Wesley Grove, the company is making its initial foray into the residential business. Terms of the pending sale, which still requires the expected approval of the city council, were not released.

“We believe strongly in Asbury Park,” Gary Mottola, president of property investments for Madison Marquette, tells GlobeSt.com. “This acquisition is part of our larger plan to become more involved in the waterfront redevelopment zone. Wesley Grove is now a Madison Marquette project. We’re going to completely finish all of the units, and we will improve its overall look and beautify the entire area.” According to a spokesman for Madison Marquette, the company “has scheduled a major press conference next Monday to announce details of the plans and the broader vision for improvements at the waterfront and Downtown.”

Kushner, through its Westminster Communities group, started work on Wesley Grove in late 2004 as one of a trio of developers involved in the residential portion of Oceanfront Asbury. Kushner’s three-phase project was to have entailed 750 residential units and 35,000 sf of retail, altogether costing about $150 million to build.

What’s in the ground so far is a block of 91 units, 22 of which have been sold but not built out. Work at the site had largely come to a halt in October when Kushner bailed out of most of its residential portfolio. Locally, Kushner had taken title in mid-2006 to three additional parcels adjacent to the existing Wesley Grove construction, with the intention of building out the subsequent phases. Madison Marquette’s acquisition includes the existing construction and the undeveloped parcels. Kushner could not be reached for comment by deadline.

The deal comes just week after Metro Homes, citing the weakness in the national mortgage market, announced that it was halting work on its Esperanza condo tower, also within the Oceanfront Asbury redevelopment zone. City officials have since warned the Hoboken-based Metro Homes that it was in default of its development agreement. That situation has yet to be resolved.

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