1 Chelsea Avenue, Long Branch, NJ
320 Rental Residences | 103,280 Sq. Ft. of Retail
Start Date of Construction : November 1, 2003
Development Completed : Still Ongoing
In the late 1990’s, an attorney from Jersey City, Brian Doherty, suggested that I look at the Long Branch oceanfront. I was very fond of Long Branch, having spent summers there when I was a boy, in the very same Italian neighborhood that was to be redeveloped. Since my time there, the neighborhood had become an oceanfront slum. I liked the prospects of restoring Long Branch, as other than Sandy Hook, it was the first true ocean beach property available for redevelopment on a large scale. It was also close to the population centers of northern New Jersey and Staten Island.
"Met with Jane Thompson, Pratap, Gregory, Joe Cicala and Peter DeWitt regarding the planning for Long Branch. We focused primarily on the retail, but also discussed building design and Beachfront North. The main issue is traditional retail instead of national and regional chain stores.”
January 8, 1999
I met with the business administrator, city councilmen, the mayor and a planner consultant. The city had already designated a redeveloper for the “Beach North” condo townhouse parcel, 15 acres running from an old hotel to the public “President’s Park” on the ocean, about two blocks deep.
"Met in Long Branch with Mayor Adam Schneider, City Council President Anthony Giordano, Planner Carl Turner, and Brian Doherty. We went over the redevelopment zones for Long Branch. They were very interested in a new developer coming in and taking over the Pier Village and Beachfront South areas. Kushner had Beachfront North and a commercial guy had Broadway/Gateway, but both projects appeared to be stalled. I promised to get back to them with a plan.”
October 27, 1999
I submitted a plan for Pier Village with my nephew, Applied executive Gregory Russo, as project manager. Pier Village ran south from the old hotel, about three blocks deep off the ocean. The vision was of a densely developed center that included apartment complexes, retail stores, restaurants, and, ultimately, hotels. The retail portion was difficult, as the city consultant wanted to exclude national or regional chain stores. He wanted a mix of independent and unique shops. We also proposed a plan for the “Beach North” condo project because the designated developer had not come to an agreement with the city. We won both projects.
"Attended a City Council meeting at which we were designated redeveloper of all parcels Beachfront North and Pier Village."
February 22, 2000
Gregory and I set about negotiating both agreements and getting the financing which included various government and special sources such as the NJ Housing Finance Agency and the Casino Control Commission Fund, which aids development in New Jersey.
“We settled on 44 units within the complex on the ocean front at 80% median income and 44 units off site with 60% or 50% median."
September 6, 2000
However, in September 2001, I was under investigation. With both developments designated to Applied and in place, I turned the project lead principal of Long Branch over to my son, David. Greg continued as project manager. I promised the Mayor and City Council the project would be completed. Construction began just before I went to prison.
Pier Village was sold November 2014.