Master waterfront redeveloper iStar Residential outlined its plans for a new 16 story high-rise at the former Esperanza site during Tuesday night’s Technical Review Committee [TRC] meeting.
“This obviously has been a long time coming,” said iStar Senior Vice President of Development Brian Cheripka. “We said all along that we were going to take our time and work our way up to this project…We strongly believe that now is the time to deliver this project to the community.”
Designed by Gary Handel of Handel Architects, headquartered in New York, the mixed use development on Ocean Avenue includes retail space, a boutique hotel, luxury condominiums and a three-story parking garage.
The conceptual plans include a sleek, contemporary design in natural hues that capitalizes on the use of glass panes to contrast the horizontal bold balcony lines on the hotel and residential floors. Along the first three floors, wood paneling and metal decorative screening provides an element of translucency while hiding the three-story garage. The wood panels could be used to showcase local visual artists’ work.
“The design of the building was really inspired by the beach,” said Handel [above at top at the TRC meeting] . “It was really the idea of creating a modern expression of beachfront vernacular.”
As presented Tuesday, the details include 128 residential units, 58 hotel rooms, and 400 plus parking spaces that separate the public and retail spaces from the hotel and residential spaces. The 22,000 square-foot retail space on the ground floor utilizes 100 percentage of its Ocean Avenue frontage, and 12,000 square-feet of ancillary space on the second and third floors will be used to house a gym, spa, and bicycle storage, among other things.
The first three floors’ 10-foot setback increases by 50 feet at the fourth floor where the 2-story hotel space begins. Floors six through 16 will house the residential units with penthouse homes having access to the rooftop mezzanine.
Two outdoor spaces will include landscape, lounging areas complete with fire pits, a year round swimming pool, and a bar, said project landscape developer Tom Bauer of Melillo and Bauer Associates in Brielle.
“The key design principal and objectives of the waterfront redevelopment plan is to bring the city back down to the oceanfront,” project planner Keenan Hughes said. “Obviously by finally finishing this very iconic and signature project along Ocean Avenue…its extending Asbury Park’s special Oceanside character in a contemporary way.”
Project architect Handel, a specialist in mixed-use buildings designed to support urban density growth, has been recognized for his work in Boston’s downtown, as a founding board member of the New York’s Friends of the High Line and for his work with the National September 11 Memorial.
“This project is extremely important to us because we believe architecture and design matter and can make a difference in the transformation [of a community],” Handel said. “We know moving forward it can be that catalyst for change.”
The development, now referred to as 1101 Ocean Avenue, has had two false starts dating back 15 years, said Hughes, the project planner.
“From a planning viewpoint, this has long been identified as an opportunity to do something special along the waterfront,” he said.
The originally proposed Ocean Mile project in the late 1980s included shuttering Ocean Avenue and the failed Esperanza include a second 11-story tower, Hughes said. This plan requires no variances, he said.
“I hope that you would agree that this is a better alternative,” said Hughes.
“We believe in Asbury Park’s potential as a one-of-a-kind place to live, work, visit and invest,” said Jay Sugarman, iStar’s founder and CEO, in a news release. “We’re excited to harness its character, beauty and heritage to build a future full of promise. And we’re eager to share it with the world.”
The project must now garner approvals from the Planning Board, City Council and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection under the Coastal Area Facility Review Act [CAFRA].
Overall creative responsibility for iStar’s waterfront projects is now in the hands of Anda Andrei, formerly director of design with hotelier Ian Schrager’s company, according to the iStar news release.
Andrei is “hand-picking” the architectural and design professionals for iStar’s projects “who understand how to shape Asbury Park’s future while celebrating its one-of-a-kind character,” the release stated.
“Asbury Park has a soul that makes it unique in America,” said Andrei, whose past projects include the Delano Miami, Royalton New York and The London EDITION. “There’s a love for that behind this project. We’re mining the incredible history and one-of-a-kind character to amplify what’s already here.”
Sugarman cited the uniqueness and excitement of Asbury as a motivator for the design professionals Andrei is tasked with selecting.
“The opportunity to design almost a mile of oceanfront land almost never comes along,” Sugarman stated in the release, “and to have that opportunity in a place with as rich a history, as beautiful a setting, and with such iconic venues and architecture as Asbury Park, gives us a chance to do something really special. I know everyone on our team is committed to making that happen.”
The Asbury Park Sun is affiliated with the triCityNews newspaper.