By Neil Schulman
Long Branch — A new design has been proposed for 390 Ocean Avenue, calling for two connected seven-story units of condominiums, amenities for residents including a pool, and an artistic outdoor space near the oceanfront for the public to enjoy.
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Because the project is in a redevelopment zone, it requires council approval. At the Sept. 22 City Council meeting, representatives for the project, on the corner of South Bath Avenue, described their vision. City officials sounded interested, but also asked the developers if they could begin work on improving the existing site.
This is not the first proposal for 390 Ocean Ave. In 2014, the city approved a plan calling for a 12- or 13-story building with 100 residential units, a hotel, and a spa. That would have had underground and above-ground parking.
The new plan, said architect Joe Melillo of Melillo, Bauman and Carmen Landscape Architecture features two stepped-back seven-story towers connected to each other, and underground parking not visible from surface level.
“There is no loss of parking along South Bath Avenue in this design,” he said.
On top of the connecting surface, there will be amenities for residents including a swimming pool, exercise area and gathering space, as well as ocean views.
While the lobby can be accessed from Ocean Avenue for drop-offs and pick-ups, the parking garage entrance for both towers is along South Bath Avenue.
Unlike the 2014 plan, the dumpster is enclosed and not visible to the public.
The designers also want to welcome the public walking along the oceanfront to rest in an area on the east side, which will have attractive landscaping, benches, and art displays such as statuary. The nature of the art hasn’t been decided, and Meillo said they could work with the city on the details of what to show.
Designers said that the seven-story structure should fit in well with nearby buildings, which are generally seven or eight stories.
City Attorney Louis Rainone said the new plan calls for roughly 150 units rather than the 100 previously planned, but because there is no hotel or commercial spa there should be less overall traffic on the site.
Most of the units will be one, two or three-bedroom, though a small number of four-bedroom units may be built as well.
Rainone said that while council is reviewing the plan, they would like to see some improvements to the site. A former pool house still sits there, and they’d like it to be removed.
Developer Ray Stillman said they do not own the property, but are working with the owners, and will solicit bids for demolition. He said the pool house on the lot has become a “graffiti magnet.”
They too want the site to look attractive, especially once finished. “Our overall goal was to create a piece of art,” he said, designed to draw pedestrians to it, and make neighbors happy to see it as well as residents happy to live in it.