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Oceanport Village Center Awaiting Tenants

OCEANPORT: The borough is still awaiting who exactly will become the first tenants of the Village Center, a new commercial and residential space located at the corner of East Main Street and Port Au Peck Avenue.

Borough Administrator John Bennett said the project is nearing completion, with some administrative tasks to clear out the contract to hopefully be scheduled in the coming weeks.

But who the commercial tenants are is still up in the air. "Nothing has been finalized. We've heard about a bank, but again, nothing is final," Bennett said.

The center will consist of two buildings, with commercial space on the first floor, and residential space on the second floor and half story above.

There will also be 36 residential units; 18 1-bedroom units, nine 2-bedroom units and nine 3-bedroom units. Nine of those units will be set aside for affordable housing

Previously, developer Victor Gourkanti said a 7-11 and Two Rivers bank were planned for the commercial portions.

"The contract has not been completed," said Mayor Michael Mahon.

Those would be two of the spots, but there are other options, but Bennett said recruiting tenants is technically not the administrator's purview. "This is public, and private so it's difficult to encourage," Bennett said. "We can administer it but not market it. We have to walk a fine line."

Bennett said interested parties are encouraged to come in and learn more. One potential business stopped by this week, he said.

"Anyone that has expressed interest has an open door to come talk to us," said the borough administrator.

The update on Village Center was made as part of the borough administrator's report at this week's council meeting. Council members inquired how the residential end was progressing, and when the first families might move in. Particularly, administering the affordable housing units requires coordination, Bennett said.

"They mentioned that they have a list of people, but certainly it has to be done in accord with Affordable Housing which is agreed to, between the developer, landlord and town. But there has to be a third party administrator to that, we have not been privy to who that will be," Bennett said.

Signage for the building, specifically the business signs, were approved by the planning board recently. "They didn't mention whose names would happen to be on the sign, did they?" asked Bennett, trying to find out which if any businesses were close to moving in.

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