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New Developer Interested in Acquiring Broadway Arts Center in Long Branch

Diversified Realty Advisors have purchased note for property

The redevelopment of Long Branch's Broadway Arts Center redevelopment has been stalled for several years, but a new developer has stepped up and could possibly take over the project.

The financial problems and foreclosure proceedings for former Broadway Arts Center developer Broadway Arts Center LLC have halted the project, but a group called Diversified Realty Advisors have purchased the note from them, City Businesses Administrator Howard Woolley said.

"They haven't foreclosed on the property," Woolley said. "So its not in their ownership as of yet."

Woolley said if Diversified Realty Advisors does foreclose on the property, the city could sign a redevelopment agreement with the group.

"We're currently talking with them about what has to be done and what they are interested in doing," Woolley said.

The Broadway Arts Center includes almost 200 properties, several vacant lots and 72 acres of the Broadway Corridor and encompasses area east of Liberty Street to Long Branch Avenue. The plan to develop the area included adding 70 new shops and restaurants, 500 residences and the performing arts theatres.

That plan could be altered by Diversified Realty Advisors and the city. Any new plans for the area would have to be approved by the Long Branch Council, because the area is located in one of the city's six redevelopment zones. The others are the Hotel Campus, Pier Village, Beachfront North, Beachfront South and Broadway Gateway.

Woolley has said the eventual developer for the Broadway Arts Center would have to select which "decaying" building would be demolished.

The Long Branch Council changed the zoning designation of the Broadway corridor last summer.

"The two blocks that encompass the Broadway Arts Center are still designated as an area in need of redevelopment, the rest of the Broadway corridor has been converted into an area in need of rehabilitation," Woolley has said.

He explained that there are two primary distinctions between the designations. The first is that in an area in need of rehabilitation, eminent domain cannot be utilized. He said the mayor and council have already made a policy decision not to utilize eminent domain further in Long Branch, but that this zoning designation officially prohibits its use.

The second main distinction is that long-term tax abatements are no longer available for anybody building in an area in need of rehabilitation.

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