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Developer Ready To Build Long Branch Beer Garden

LONG BRANCH: The developer for a long-proposed beer garden, brewery and restaurant is ready to get his project started and is now just waiting for approval from the city.

Project Principal Preston Casertano, of Second Avenue Warehouse LLC, is looking to convert a warehouse at the corner of Second Avenue and Broadway to the beer garden.

The beer garden, named Whitechapel, is the second major project for the Broadway Gateway redevelopment zone. A CVS was approved for the lot to the northeast of the proposed beer garden last year.

“Whitechapel is about revitalization and renewal,” Casertano said at the May 27 Long Branch Council meeting. “It’s about adaptive reuse of salvageable materials and turning a 100-year-old commercial building into a creative event space that will feature indoor and outdoor art spaces, a restaurant featuring a beer hall and brewery, a shaded garden out back, a rooftop farm, and the reuse of our elevator shaft to a tower with an artistic light on top.”

Casertano said musical performances, yoga, weddings, book signings, small conventions and seminars could be held in the event space. He said there would also be "free scheduled space" for Long Branch community activities and a rooftop garden where herbs and hops used in the brewing process will be grown.

Casertano said the 3-story building on Second Avenue would be deconstructed to one floor and that a courtyard would be built in its place using salvageable materials from the demolished upper floors.

“Whitechapel is going to be done in five phases, but a bulk of the work will be done in phase 1,” he said. “When phase 1 is complete, we will be open and ready for business.”

The remaining phases will include the creation of the garden in the rear of the property, additional landscaping, the rooftop garden, a green wall in the courtyard and possible expansion of the brewery.

Whitechapel will have to be approved by the Long Branch Council at the first meeting of June and the Long Branch Planning Board because of its location in a redevelopment zone.

Casertano said once final approvals are given, phase 1 will take about 12-18 months to build. He said the additional phases will be constructed more quickly. Once completed, it would become the first beer garden on the Jersey Shore, and the fourth in the state with others located in Hoboken and Jersey City.

Casertano said there will be municipal parking in the rear of the property.

“I’m contributing a piece of my land to the city to take care of my parking requirement,” he said. “You will be able to enter the project from the Ocean Boulevard side, park your car, come into the garden, come into the gallery, walk through the courtyard and go down the rest of the way to Broadway.”

Long Branch Business Administrator Howard Woolley said the parking lot will have about 300 spaces.

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