Update (3/4/21): After publication of this article, iStar reached out with a statement clarifying their plans.
“Several years ago, iStar retained Esrawe Studio and Rojkind Arquitectos to develop potential beach club concepts. While their design concepts were considered, iStar elected to move in a different direction and work with Handel Architects on the plans that were submitted in December 2018. We continue to work with Handel Architects on the current design that is before the planning board. The older concepts were released without our knowledge.”
A fresh design has been unveiled for a long-discussed oceanside resort along one of the Garden State’s more prominent beaches and the scheme will soon be considered by the city’s planning board.
Esrawe Studio and Rojkind Arquitectos, two Mexico City-based firms, recently divulged their proposal for the Asbury Beach Club. The potential facility would be located just a few blocks north of the city’s Convention Hall at 1500 Ocean Avenue, directly east of the North Beach condominiums.
The vacant land, currently fenced off to the public, is owned by a subsidiary of Manhattan-based iStar. The company is behind several local projects including the Asbury Ocean Club Hotel and won approvals last summer to construct a new development near Wesley Lake dubbed the AP Triangle Townhomes.
Asbury Beach Club is a collaboration between the aforementioned Mexican studios, Cadena Concept Design, plus American firms Anda Andrei Design and Slade Architecture. The endeavor would develop both a private section on the southern portion of the land and public amenities at the property’s north end, also connecting the city’s boardwalk with an existing beachfront playground near the parcel.
The two-story facility would be supported by umbrella-shaped concrete columns and the lower level is set to be clad in reclaimed wood to match the original boardwalk. Changing rooms, exclusive cabanas, and an outdoor sand gym would be housed on the private lot’s lower level, while that portion’s roof would double as an elevated pool deck reached via several staircases.
The cast-in-place concrete structure would provide the proposed amenities about 15 feet above the boardwalk and would include an outdoor grill complete with a bar area. Portions of the development set aside for the public include seating areas with shade canopies, showers, and restrooms.
The Asbury Beach Club proposal has been discussed by the city’s planning board as far back as May 2019 and the recent reveal of the new scheme seemingly scraps a previous version that was designed by Handel Architects. That edition was criticized by some residents as out of character with the city, with NJ Advance Media reporting on a group dubbed Save Asbury’s Waterfront as leading the opposition.
The fresh ideas for Asbury Beach Club are tentatively scheduled to be heard by the city’s planning board during their April 5 session. The 7 p.m. meeting is currently slated to take place inside the City Council Chambers at 1 Municipal Plaza, which would mark the first in-person conference the board has held since the COVID-19 pandemic shifted discussions to a virtual setting.
UPDATE (3/4/21): Asbury Park has updated the hearing date for this application as “to be announced” and a spokesperson for iStar says the Handel Architects version of the proposal is the one that will be considered by the planning board in the future.