By Patty Booth O’Neill
There’s a lot of new construction going on now or planned for all sections of Long Branch. Some plans were approved years ago, but still nothing is happening except for a battered banner tied to a chain link fence showing a rendition of what’s to come. On the other hand, when you drive other projects by you’re like, “Where the hell did that come from?
There’s always people who hate what’s going on, some just shrug and say it’s inevitable, and others talk about how beautiful Long Branch is now. But traffic congestion is always a major concern.
On Wednesday, 8am at Richard’s Deli on Brighton Ave. the Greater Long Branch Chamber of Commerce is hosting a breakfast with guest speaker Jesse McGowarn presenting “Complete Streets Transportation Study for Long Branch”.
Why has construction at various sites started then stopped? City Administrator Charles Shirley is very knowledgeable about these projects. “They either ran out of money, became ill or go beyond what their variances allow,” he said. He explained that variances are obtained during different stages of construction “And if you go past what your variances allows you have to restore project back to it’s original condition.”.
Casey Jones Restaurant is now known as The View at Long Branch. Back in the day all the diners knew each other and the owners Marvin and Ed Moses knew them. Families would dine in a train car where their kids could run around without being considered rude or obnoxious. Marvin and Ed would always be happy to tell the story of the old clock displayed in the dining room that came from Grand Central Station.
In 2019 I was taking pictures when Mazza Recycling was demolishing Casey Jones. I asked Jimmy Mazza if he would save the Caboose and bring it to my house. He gave me a peculiar look then called my bluff. “You really want it?” Of course it didn’t happen, but who wouldn’t want that in their yard?
The View will consist of five stories with 36 units and 5,150 sq ft of commercial/office space.
The SICA building on Third Ave. is going strong with an official groundbreaking taking place on Monday. Originally an old cannery, Roberto Ferragina remembers his grandmother working there as a seamstress after the cannery closed and another resident recalls working there sewing coats. The last use for the building was for SICA an art gallery that closed around 2006. The building is about 80 years old and is almost completely demolished by now.
The finished project will be a four-story building with 30 one-bedroom units and 2,542 sq. ft. of office space.
Ocean Gate, located behind Tuzzio’s is in full swing again. They are listed as 1-2 bedroom apartments between $3,300 – $5,500/month.
That seems to be the going rate of local apartment rentals these days. “But there’s really no set price,” Shirley said. “There may be one price at the beginning of construction, but by completion the market could change and so will pricing.” He said that due to changes in the market, a project may start out as condos but could end up being listed as apartment rentals.
A long-awaited project, the paving of Long Branch Ave, is finally beginning. It has needed attention for potholes and flooding since the train trestle was torn down (in the ’80’s?) I feel it was before that and others I talked to feel it was later. Either way the potholes couldn’t be addressed until the flooding was taken care of, and it has.
The city and Kushner seem to have come to an agreement about lower Broadway, but no date on a groundbreaking has been set. Business owners on Broadway are receiving a letter from Elliot Dweck asking if they would like to sell their business. The proprietors weren’t clear whether it was the business or their property he was interested in, so I called Elliot to find out. “I have nothing to do with real estate,” he told me. He said he finds people who are interested in selling their business and finds a buyer. “I’m a matchmaker, if you will,” he said.
So far none of the business owners are interested in selling.