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Redevelopment Plan For Historic Long Branch School Headed To Zoning Board

LONG BRANCH: A developer's plan for the historic Church Street School, at 465 Church St., will soon be presented to the public.

According to a public notice, the developer, Jemal's Church Street School, LLC, will be before the Long Branch Zoning Board of Adjustment on Nov. 9 to apply for site plan approval and several variances, including a use variance. The plan was originally scheduled to be unveiled during the board's Sept. 28 but the date was pushed back.

A use variance is required because the developer is looking to "adaptively reuse" the building so it contains 16 multifamily residential units. Multifamily units are not allowed in the R-3 zone where the Church Street School is located.

The building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1891 so the developer is bound by not just local zoning laws but several layers of bureaucracy for projects at historic sites such as this.

"The existing School building and grounds will be preserved and restored in a manner consistent with original historic conditions to the maximum extent possible," according to the public notice.

Jemal's Church Street School, LLC, closed on the property earlier this year after successfully acquiring it via auction from the Long Branch School District in 2014.

The 16,634 square-foot building, on a 1.45-acre lot, was previously the home of Long Branch Primary School No. 3, but has been vacant for some time.

The family behind Jemals, Salvatore said, is associated with a 9-million-square-foot portfolio, much of which is the renovation of historic properties in the Washington, D.C. area such as the Wonder Bread Factory, Woodies Building and the Coliseum.

Douglas Jemal, currently has two historic buildings from the former Takanassee Beach Club site at his home at 900 Ocean Ave., Long Branch. He is restoring the Captain's House from the 1870s and the 1903 Port Huron House.

The developer also recently was the high bidder for the Star of the Sea Lyceum School, which is also owned by the Long Branch School District.

Read more from: Long Branch

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