Friday, April 07, 2006

In the News: Asbury Park in New Pact to Restart Development

Over the past year, the CMRC has worked extensively with the Surfrider Foundation and Ford Foundation in an effort to assist in the redevelopment of Asbury Park, NJ (see note below). The City of Asbury Park, once known as a playground for the wealthy, had fallen into challenging economic times in recent decades, but is now again reclaiming its place as a destination on the Jersey shore. However, past attempts to revitalize the city have been wrought with corruption and failed miserably leaving shells of former buildings as a constant reminder. The most recent wave of redevelopment, headed by Asbury Partners LLC., appears to be on its way to recreating the waterfront and downtown, but is being watched very closely by City officials as to not repeat previous failures. This recent NY Times article explores the most recent development efforts and how the local community is working with the development community to assure that the revitalization goes forward to completion this time. JB

Note: The CMRC has been working with the Surfrider Foundation and Ford Foundation to explore the impacts of coastal development on low-income communities and recently completed a report providing potential solutions that increase public access and sustainable job opportunities based on opportunities available at the shorefront. Stay tuned for updates on that effort at and here at the Blog.

April 7, 2006
By Ronald Smothers

ASBURY PARK, N.J. - Asbury Park's hopes of redevelopment have been frustrated by more than a decade of failed plans, bankrupt developers and corruption.

But the city's prospects took a step forward this week when it reached a new agreement with its development partner to speed the refurbishment of the city's sagging Convention Hall, dilapidated casino and Boardwalk pavilions, and to quickly resolve disputes that have bogged down progress in the past.

The agreement is a result of nearly six weeks of negotiations between city officials and Asbury Partners, its redeveloper, after council members and others grew impatient with the slow pace after the city turned over the Boardwalk buildings to the company in 2001.

Critics of Asbury Partners had threatened to press for the developer's ouster if there was no agreement on strict timetables to complete the work and assurances that the developer was financially able to do so. Under the contract, Asbury Partners is to oversee the redevelopment of the buildings and a 56-acre parcel of shorefront.

The developer has also agreed to put in escrow an amount equal to 25 percent of the estimated $6 million in work on the Boardwalk buildings, obtain performance bonds for each project and provide periodic financial statements detailing its net worth and any significant changes in its finances.

One of the key provisions of the new agreement, said Terence J. Reidy, the city manager of Asbury Park, was a dispute resolution process that involves an arbitrator with the power to settle disagreements and to dictate remedies. The goal is to resolve disputes within 60 days. Mr. Reidy said that the only recourse for the city in past disputes had been to find the redeveloper in default, a move that often led to court battles.


City of Asbury Park

Asbury Partners, LLC

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