Long Branch Senior Center gets $2M “beachy” redesign
LONG BRANCH – To tie the senior center into the new architecture at the beachfront, the renovations for the building will follow a nautical design to give it a “beachy style.”
Anthony Scalise, of Parallel Architecture Group, presented the plans to the public, in which “beautiful sweeping rooflines,” mesh with the architecture across the street at the Bungalow Hotel and Wave Resort.
“We were looking to use nautical and deliberate design gestures to celebrate Long Branch and create a presence on Ocean Boulevard,” Scalise said.
In August, the city announced its intention to use the $2 million in redevelopment fees it received from the 290 Ocean LLC high-rise to renovate and expand the senior center. The center’s current building dates to the 1950s and has over 900 active senior members.
“We have a unique opportunity here with a $2 million contribution from a developer. These renovations will greatly enhance the building by doubling the space and will allow for a more robust program with a new technology room and multipurpose room,” Mayor John Pallone said
The center is 6,550 square feet now, but the renovations will double the space to 13,450 square feet. Along with the new exterior look, the technology room, and multipurpose room, the work includes a new lobby area, health screening rooms, fitness room, bigger classrooms, a new garden area and more space for storage.
Councilmember and senior center member Mary Jane Celli said the renovations are long overdue and the pandemic only brought to the forefront the critical need to upgrade the center.
The city wants to start work next year with as minimal impact as possible. There also exists the possibility that the plan falls through. The $2 million is wrapped up in the litigation brought forth by another developer Blackridge Realty, which is suing the city, and its neighbor 290 Ocean.
Blackridge Realty owns 345 Ocean Blvd., a new six-story luxury apartment building on the beachfront.
Both properties are in the Beachfront South Redevelopment Zone, a zone created in 1996 to stimulate new development at the beach. Blackridge claims the city gave 290 Ocean an unfair advantage last year when it amended the zone’s guidelines to change the permissible building heights from 80 feet to 100 feet, increase the allowable building coverage from 35% to 50% and eliminate the density limits.
The lawsuit is also trying to nullify the Redeveloper’s Agreement made between the city and 290 Ocean just after the zone was amended. If successful, it would wipe out the one-time $2 million redevelopment fee from 290 Ocean for impacts on the city caused by the construction of its luxury high rise at the beach.
When Jersey Shore native Dan Radel is not reporting the news, you can find him in a college classroom where he is a history professor. Reach him @danielradelapp; 732-643-4072; firstname.lastname@example.org.