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UPDATE: Pier Village Sold?

LONG BRANCH: While nothing has been finalized, there is "significant interest" in purchasing Pier Village, City Business Administrator Howard Woolley said on July 10. However Word has it that it is under negotiations for $200 Million with Kushner Companies.

"It's not yet under contract to be sold," Woolley said on Thursday. "Nothing has been signed at this time."

Woolley said he could not comment on any potential negotiations for the sale of Pier Village or give the name of the possible purchaser. However other city officials have said negotiations are underway, but City council would have to approve any sale.

"The deal is being negotiated, as far as I know, there are many steps," Mayor Adam Schneider said. "There has been a meeting, parameters have been discussed and issues have been put on the table."

"They probably could sell without anything from us, but they can't transfer the tile without anything from us," Schneider added. "We're still fleshing out what we can and cannot do. We have to go through the finances and any deal would have to approved by the Department of Community Affairs."

Schneider said a title transfer would have to be approved by the Long Branch Council. 

Pier Village is currently owned by developer Ironstate Development, formerly known as Applied Development.

The city has been discussing some modifications to the plans to Pier Village Phase 3 over the last few months.

"We're still under discussion with them to move forward," Woolley said. 

Woolley said if the modifications were approved by the council the project would be "much more valuable" to any purchasers of Pier Village.

He said if Pier Village was purchased, a new developer for the property would have to be approved by the city's redevelopment agency, which is essentially the Long Branch Council. 

Schneider said the council would have to go back through the redevelopment agreement previously reached with Ironstate for phases 1, 2 and 3 because some changes have occurred over the years.

He also said a $25 million redevelopment bond was given to Ironstate and that it cannot be assigned to the purchaser from Ironstate.

Construction on the third phase of Pier Village could begin as early as the fall.

The 59,810-square-foot Hotel Lucky is part of the first phase of construction in the new section of Pier Village. The first phase also includes 60 condominium units, 27,905 square feet of leasable retail space, an ocean-themed carousel, boardwalk improvements and infrastructure, a children's play area and a stage.

The project was green lighted by the Long Branch Council in Aug. 2012 after a $24.9 million bond ordinance was adopted to get the project moving.

A PILOT is money a property owner pays to a municipality instead of real estate taxes on the improvement portion of their property. The amounts due are a municipal lien and are collected in the same way as taxes, and the property owners still pay conventional taxes on the land portion of their property.

Structured annual service charges will cover the debt service of the project and the developer has agreed to make payments to the city that cover the projected debt service costs and additional revenue if the construction is delayed.

The money the city is bonding will only make up about 20 percent of the total funding for the project, which will also be paid through the developer's equity and a bank loan. The total cost of the project is $195 million.

The funds provided by the city will be used for certain aspects of construction of the project including the carousel, retail space, on-site parking and the acquisition and construction of a an off-site parking area on the west side of Ocean Boulevard.

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