Long Branch Partners LLC are still “welcomed to return to the council with new plans for the property”
By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
February 24, 2021
Long Branch – During the virtual council meeting on February 24, a resolution was introduced that would eliminate the developer agreement and take away a 30-year tax abatement for the owners of the property on lower Broadway between Liberty Street and Ocean Blvd.
The property is currently owned by Long Branch Partners LLC. Back in 2017 they were given the green light to develop the four blocks. The plan was to build 590 market rate rental or for sale multifamily units, 99,500 square feet of commercial shops and over 1,200 parking spaces. Part of the development agreement also included that 30 affordable housing units would also be built on the property.
Louis Rainone, city attorney, said that this matter was discussed in closed session and the administration asked that it be put on the agenda that night. “Last June there was a request to transfer the property to another developer, that request was granted. But the redevelopment agreement was never signed and the project was never started,” Rainone said. “We rescinded that resolution.” He added that time they also put the property owner, who is the designated developer, on notice that they were in violation of their redevelopment agreement because they had not commenced the development in accordance with the timeframes of the project schedule. “Nor did they provide us with an amended project schedule,” said Rainone. He said that the city believes they have given them plenty of time to get the project off the ground. “The administration feels the time has come to terminate this agreement and basically go back to the drawing board.”
In terminating the agreement Rainone said that it gives the city a chance to reevaluate that project that was “planned and conceived ten years ago” during a different economy and circumstances. “We are asking the council to add that item to the agenda tonight and approve it. This would terminate the redevelopment agreement and tax abatement,” said Rainone.
Long Branch Partners demolished all the vacant and rundown buildings and leveled the area which the city used for beach parking during the past two summers. Last year they reached a deal with Kushner Cos., to transfer the redevelopment deal, properties and liquor licenses to them.
The relationship between Long Branch Partners LLC and Kushner Cos., soured and ended up in court. Kushner Co. claim that Long Branch Partners LLC did not fulfill its end of the contractual obligations and was planning on keeping the $750,000 deposit and then selling the property to a third party.
Long Branch Partners is an affiliate of Diversified Realty Advisors which has Nicholas Minoia is a principle owner and managing partner. The Link News reached out to the company, but they have not responded.
Broadway Arts Center LLC was the very first developer of that tract of land. In 2013 Todd Katz, one of the principals of the development group was excited to undertake the project which included, at that time almost 200 properties, several vacant lots, and 72 acres of the Broadway Corridor. However, one year later, due to the economy, Long Branch Partners LLC took over.
Rainone stated that the developer is always welcomed to return to the council with new plans for the property.