The Long Branch Planning Board gave unanimous site plan approval to Second Avenue Warehouse LLC, the final step needed to bring Whitechapel to the city's Broadway Gateway Redevelopment Zone.
The project will include a beer garden, restaurant, brewery, indoor and outdoor art spaces, gardens and event space. Phase 1 of construction will include all the major infrastructure work. Project Principal Preston Casertano has said the beer garden will be open to the public once phase 1 is completed in about 12-18 months. The entire project is expected to be completed in about 18 months.
Project architect David Cunningham said the 3-story warehouse at 15-17 Second Avenue will be deconstructed to one floor and that a courtyard would be built in its place using salvageable materials from the demolished upper floors. The walls of the first floor will remain around the courtyard.
The main entrance of the building will be located in the rear of the property where a new parking lot with over 600 spaces will be built.
“I’m contributing a piece of my land to the city to take care of my parking requirement,” Castertano has 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.”
The board questioned the reuse of an old elevator shaft as a tower with an "artistic light" on top.
Casertano said the light will "glow" but will not give off bright light. He said he anticipates artists projecting images onto it and it being used in creative ways as a "beacon for the city."
He said the brewery will produce three or four "standard flavors of beer" and that were will be some seasonal brews in the future.
Beer will not be the only thing served as Whitechapel will have a full restaurant and he said also wants to have homemade sodas.
The event hall be able to be used an art space, meeting space, or even a pop-up restaurant.
The roof of the build will feature a garden where herbs, fruits and vegetables used by chefs will be grown. Casertano said the rooftop garden will absorb water and help reduce storm water runoff in the area. He added that rain water will be collected in cisterns and used to water the rooftop garden plants.
Casertano said he hopes his project will help bring other developers to the Broadway area of the city and get more people into the area.
"I think it will give people a reason to cross Ocean Boulevard," he said. "I think it will bring life back to Broadway."