South Amboy still waiting on progress of Manhattan Beach


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SOUTH AMBOY — Manhattan Beach could break ground any day, but the developer needs to secure a contractor before proceeding.

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That update is what Business Administrator Camille Tooker told resident Barbara Pasternack during the Oct. 19 City Council meeting.

Pasternack — who is running as an Independent for the First Ward council seat — asked about the status of the waterfront project, which was first publicly announced in the fall of 2014.

Manhattan Beach was initially slated to break ground in the second half of 2015 and would contain a maximum of 1,750 rental units on the former Amboy Aggregates site and an adjacent parcel from the city. The city-owned land was purchased for $3.8 million; the Amboy Aggregates purchase was a separate, private deal.

Pasternack said she had spoken with a representative of Sherman Financial Group, who is funding the project, and that conversation led her to have concerns about why the project had not yet started.

Tooker explained that Sherman bought out its original partner and contractor, O’Neill Properties, and is in the process of sourcing a replacement contractor.

“They are looking for someone they feel would be a better fit for the project,” Tooker said.

However, her explanation fell short for Pasternack.

“So, we’re nowhere?” Pasternack asked.

“What do you mean, ‘nowhere?’” Tooker responded.

Pasternack said she was referring to doing the remediation work on the site or breaking ground. She said that her contact at Sherman told her that a reassessment of the remediation work was required.

Tooker clarified that the remediation work is only being done on one part of the site, so work could begin at any time on other parts of the site. However, she agreed that Sherman was likely doing a reassessment of the remediation that the new contractor would need to complete.

Pasternack also pointed out during her comments that Amazon is expanding its Carteret facility and asked if the city had any plans to move away from residential development and consider those type of projects.

“That was a big deal,” Pasternack said of the Amazon deal, adding that the project came with employment opportunities. “Do we have any thoughts about doing something like that?”

“Carteret and South Amboy are very different,” Tooker pointed out.

Pasternack said she understood, but wanted to know if the city was interested in moving ahead with development projects that are not residential.

“We entertain every type of interest,” Tooker responded, adding that the city is open to all forms of development. “We don’t just say we’re only going to do residential.”

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