TWO GROUND-UP REDEVELOPMENT PROJECTS GET FINAL APPROVAL – THE RENAISSANCE, MONROE CONDOMINIUMS WILL BRING 98 NEW UNITS

By: Jill Bartlett - Asbury Park Sun

A project that will continue redevelopment along Springwood Avenue and another that will see a full-block built out along the city’s waterfront both secured green lights from the city last week.

At their Nov. 24 meeting, the Asbury Park Planning Board voted unanimously to grant final approvals on The Renaissance, a 64-unit, four-building affordable housing development slated for Springwood Avenue, and The Monroe Condominiums, a 34-unit residential condominium complex.

The three- to four-story Monroe condominium complex completes development on the block bound by Sewall, Grand, and Monroe avenues and Heck Street. It will built on the eastern end of the block, adjacent to K. Hovnanian’s South Grand townhomes which received approval in June. Miami-based design firm Oppenheim Architecture + Design conceptualized the structure.

After years of failed projects, seeing development persevere and the city’s first major residential project approved for Springwood Avenue in decades can only mean the city is still moving forward. Planning and Redevelopment Director Donald Sammet said he is pleased with current redevelopment progress and expects the city will keep moving along apace.

“I think we are doing very well,” he said. “Things are moving forward and downtown is still very healthy.”

Springwood redeveloper The Michaels Organization has applied for project funds in the form of tax credits through the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency [HMFA], and Sammed is “extremely confident” the group will secure the funding for a 2015 groundbreaking. A funding announcement is scheduled for mid-January, he said.

Renaissance will see a mix of 64 residential units designed by East Orange-based KNTM architects built across vacant lots within the Springwood Avenue Redevelopment Area, between Memorial Drive and Atkins Avenue. Phase one will bring four 32-unit townhouse buildings and one four-story, 32-unit multi-family building with residential support space on the first floor. Support space includes a multipurpose room, computer room, management offices and a health suite along with limited retail space. An approval to subdivide a portion of land from the Asbury Park Housing Authority is required for the second phase. No plans have been presented for that phase yet.

“We’re still focusing on phase one,” Sammet said.

Sammet said the infrastructure built on Springwood laid the groundwork for projects like the Springwood Center, the Community Center at Springwood and Ridge avenues, the expansion of the Sister’s Academy and the as-yet-unbuilt Springwood Avenue Park.

Springwood Avenue redeveloper Interfaith Neighbors has plans to construct a cutting-edge 47,000 sq. foot “arts-centric” structure on the southwest corner of Springwood Avenue and Memorial Drive and is currently in talks with the city’s housing authority to acquire additional land to help satisfy a parking requirement for the site, Sammet said.

There are no other ground-up applications left for the Planning Board to review this year. At their final meeting on Dec. 8, the board will vote on a request to amend the Main Street Redevelopment Plan to allow a microbrewery to occupy a store front on Main Street. The current plan forbids light industrial businesses to operate with Main Street frontage.

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