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Long Branch Buying Land To Add More Parking Near Pier Village

LONG BRANCH: The city council is set to acquire more land that will serve as a new parking lot near Pier Village.

The Long Branch Council introduced a $4.3 million bond ordinance during its Feb. 10 meeting that if passed later this month would allow the city to acquire a large plot of land at the corner of South Broadway and Ocean Boulevard.

The land is privately owned and used to be the home of a lumberyard, Long Branch Business Administrator Howard Woolley said. It is now located in the city's Broadway Gateway redevelopment zone.

Woolley said former Pier Village owner Applied Development, also known as Ironstate Development, had an option to buy the land as part of the third phase of the oceanfront development but never did after Kushner Companies acquired Pier Village late last year.

"The city assumed the option and is pursuing it now," Woolley said.

Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider said purchasing the land is a positive step for the city.

"The money is there to buy it, so it makes sense to buy it now," Schneider said.

Schneider said there is a good possibility that if the city finalizes the deal for the property in the next few months, that the land can be leased to an operator and used for summer parking.

He said the city could decide to sell the property in the future or could simply hold on to the land and continue to use it for parking. If the city does not sell the lot, it could be paved and parking meters could be added.

The Whitechapel beer garden is located next door to the land and will also include a city-owned 600-space parking lot. The beer garden is expected to open later this year.

The Long Branch Council is expected to adopt the ordinance at its Feb. 24 meeting when the ordinance will be subject to a public hearing.

Read more from: Long Branch

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