Once a major shopping destination, the downtown has struggled to attract and maintain businesses over the last 30 years.
But now, an ambitious new redevelopment plan that would create a walkable downtown for the Ocean County town, complete with hundreds of new apartments and condominiums, along with businesses such as craft breweries and distilleries, has been proposed.
Longtime business owners are cautiously enthusiastic about the proposal, which has been incorporated into the township’s newly revised master plan.
Among some of the ideas included in the downtown revitalization proposal are:
- Increase the economic base of the downtown by encouraging the construction of multifamily housing in the area, including free-standing buildings as well as apartments that would be located above stores and restaurants;
- taller buildings of varying heights would be permitted downtown, with 50 percent of structures to be two to four stories high, 20 percent five to seven stories, and 10 percent eight to 10 stories;
- developers will be encouraged to provide shuttle services to NJ Transit’s bus station on Highland Parkway;
- the West Water Street post office could be redesigned and moved to the corner of Irons and Water streets; the post office would be a three-story building, with six stories of residential housing on top. That would allow for more parking in the area as well as more residential development next to the post office.