Local landmark Asbury Lanes is eligible to be taken through eminent domain, but representatives of waterfront redeveloper Asbury Partners say it is safe for now.
The Lanes has functioned as a bowling alley since 1962 and is also a live music venue. In the future, it will either stay at its current location be moved to another spot in the city, according to Brian Cheripka of Asbury Partners, which owns the redevelopment rights to the property.
Last week, Asbury Partners reduced the list of properties it may take by eminent domain. Asbury Lanes is one of the seven properties still on the list. [Click here for photos of prominent properties on and off the list.]
Asbury Partners is not currently negotiating with the owners of Asbury Lanes, Cheripka said. Under eminent domain law, the developer must first attempt to negotiate a purchase price for a property. If negotiations are unsuccessful, the property is taken and the price paid to the owner is later fixed in legal proceedings that can culminate in a jury trial, if the matter is not eventually settled.
“Depending on how the waterfront develops, there might be other opportunities for the Asbury Lanes property,” Cheripka said in a prepared statement. “For this reason we chose to include it on our list of potential properties that Asbury Partners might look to acquire over time.
“However, it is important to note that we are not in direct negotiations to acquire Asbury Lanes at this time, so nothing has changed,” he added. “We have a strong appreciation and understanding of Asbury Lanes’ cultural and musical contribution to the City. Ultimately, our long-term goal is to preserve Asbury Lanes’ presence within the Asbury Park community.”
The Ayles family owned and operated Asbury Lanes on Fourth Ave. since 1962. Earlier this year, Ralph Ayles sold it to Asbury investors Patrick Fasano and Vincent Gifford. Fasano owns several buildings in the downtown business district and on Main Street. He also owns the Bond Street bar. Gifford owns multi-family residential properties in the city.
In 2003, Mel Stultz took over management of Asbury Lanes and began to book rockabilly and garage rock bands, which performed on a stage in the middle of the bowling alley, while patrons would bowl on either side. Stultz is no longer associated with Asbury Lanes, which continues to offer live music, bowling and other events such as burlesque.
Asbury Lanes is also known for its early 1960s interior decor. The machines that reset the pins are the originals from 1962.