The Rossis – Washington Township residents who run the Dairy Queen in Emerson – own several residential properties in Asbury Park. They began to invest in the Shore resort six years ago, before a $2.5 billion redevelopment project began to revitalize an area along the Atlantic Ocean that has slid into ruin for the past 30 years.
Where others saw a city choked by poverty and crime, where earlier redevelopment initiatives had foundered, the Rossis saw opportunity.
“I thought, Water,” Toni Rossi said. “Eventually, this city has to turn around, like Hoboken, Jersey City, Miami. Everything built on the water turns around.”
The Rossis and North Jersey businesses, such as Metro Homes of Hoboken and Westminster Communities, an affiliate of the Florham Park-based Kushner Cos., have answered the siren call of redeveloping the moribund resort that was once the destination for honeymooners and families looking for a bargain vacation at the Shore.
Few of the redevelopment projects currently under way throughout New Jersey are as dramatic – or closely watched by developers and real estate investment firms – as the one in Asbury Park. Nearly a dozen developers are betting that new luxury condominiums, restaurants, concert halls, clubs, bars and retail stores will revitalize the beachfront city.
When the current phase of redevelopment is complete, 3,164 new residential units will have been built in Asbury Park. Its 1¼-mile waterfront along Ocean Avenue will be radically redesigned as a mixed-use spread of boardwalk pavilions, retail shops, restaurants and multistory luxury condos, comprising more than 450,000 square feet.
Madison Marquette, the national retail company working with Asbury Partners, the city’s master developers, predicts that more than $2.5 billion will be spent on the waterfront renovations alone.
By JAMES QUIRK, NorthJersey.com