By KENNY WALTER
LONG BRANCH — The third and final phase of Pier Village now only has a few more hurdles to clear before construction can start.
During the July 19 Planning Board meeting, the board approved plans for the third phase of the mixed-use project, which will now be constructed in one phase.
“At the last hearing, we stated that it is our client’s desire to build the whole project in one phase, which is a big benefit to everybody,” said landscape architect Joseph Melillo.
The board approved plans for 57,000 square feet of commercial space, 269 residential units, a 79-room hotel and parking and public improvements to the area, which are being developed by Manhattan-based developers Kushner Companies and Extell Development Co.
The project includes several public amenities, including a 42-foot, ocean-themed carousel, an outdoor stage, a misting area, two concession stands and an area for beach badge sales.
The third phase is located on seven acres of land bordered by Melrose Terrace to the north, Morris Avenue to the south, Ocean Avenue to the east and Ocean Boulevard to the west.
The pair of developers purchased the two completed phases and the unbuilt third phase in 2014 from Applied Development Co.
Applied Development initially received approval for the third phase in 2010, and the city amended the plan again in 2012 for 61,000 square feet of commercial space, 300 residential units and a 68-room hotel.
Despite the board approving the project, Assistant Planning Director Carl Turner said the developers still need the city’s redevelopment agency, parking authority and other city entities to sign off on the project before the developers can obtain the necessary Coastal Area Facilities Review Act permit needed to construct the project.
However, one of the issues for Councilwoman Kathleen Billings, who also serves on the board, is the developer may utilize 289 spaces in the city-owned Chandler and Maps lot at the foot of Broadway to meet their parking requirement.
“I’m still concerned for the city interest on why the city is satisfying your parking requirement using our lot rather than another alternative way,” she said.
According to Turner, the previous owners of Pier Village intended to purchase the Chandler and Maps lot, which was bought by the city in 2015, to provide parking and the city may be compensated under the current plan.
Pier Village currently consists of 492 rental units with more than 90,000 square feet of retail centered on Festival Plaza, where community events such as outdoor fairs and concerts are held.
Kushner Companies is a diversified, privately held real estate organization whose holdings include the Monmouth Mall. New York-based Extell Development Co. is a developer of commercial, residential, retail and mixed-use properties.