A prominent town along the Jersey Shore is considering a project that would revitalize their waterfront by adding housing, a hotel, and a waterfront promenade, but officials who initially welcomed the proposal have indicated it might need some changes before moving forward.
Last year, the borough of Belmar put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) to redevelop their municipal complex and the surrounding area. The RPF was triggered when the owners of three adjacent properties expressed interest in pursuing their own joint development plan and the total project area includes the Belmar Arts Council building, Belmar Paint and Decorating, Doughboys Wood Fired Pizza, Klein’s Fish Market, Strollo’s Italian Ice, and all the businesses in the Shark River Place complex.
A proposal from DOBCO Development initially emerged last month via a report in The Coast Star and some details and renderings of the project have been released. The proposal is the first of two responses Belmar received from the RFP and if it moves forward, the borough will work with DOBCO to move the existing municipal complex elsewhere.
DOBCO’s project looks to make Belmar more of a year-round destination by building a 108-room hotel that would rise about 50 feet at Fifth and Main streets. A 13,000-square-foot conference center with a 200-person ballroom and four meeting rooms would be included in that portion of the plan to go along with 135 garage parking spaces.
Besides the hotel, three mixed-use buildings consisting of residential and retail space would be built just west. Two of the structures would include a total of 235 market-rate units consisting of one-, two-, and three-bedroom spaces, while the third would consist of 136 apartments dedicated to senior housing. A total of 65,000 square feet of retail space would be located on the first floors of the three buildings.
As part of the scheme, a community amphitheater and waterfront promenade would be built along the Shark River that includes space for a ferry terminal that would service New York City. 900 total parking spots would be created within the project, 100 on the street and another 800 housed in garages along Seventh Avenue.
The current plan would require some amendments to the town’s existing Seaport Redevelopment Plan, but it sounds like the proposal could be changed if it moves forward at all. Belmar Mayor Mark Walsifer recently told the Asbury Park Press that concerns about parking and traffic have weighed on him in terms of the scope of the project. “I’m just trying to protect the borough,” Walsifer told the paper.
Belmar did receive a second response to the RFP for the Seaport’s redevelopment that will be evaluated in the coming months when the possible future of the neighborhood could become a little clearer.