By Liz Sheehan |
LONG BRANCH – At an informal hearing on July 18, the city’s Planning Board heard a proposal to demolish a commercial building at 200 Ocean Ave. and replace it with 26 4-bedroom condominiums and a sports club.
The building is currently home to the popular hot dog restaurant, WindMill, and a Krauszer’s convenience store. Three other storefronts and a second floor are empty and available for lease, according to a broker’s website.
Carl Turner, assistant planning director for the city, said the board’s reception of the proposal was “very favorable.” Although when asked if plans for the proposal were available, he said there was “nothing we have to show” because it was an informal presentation.
Councilwoman Kathleen Billings, who is also a planning board member, said Tuesday the board’s reaction was “fairly favorable,” but no opinion could be formed until when and if the whole proposal was submitted to the board.
She said many informal presentations of proposals are made to the board and never heard of again.
John Giunco, of Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, P.C., Red Bank, was the attorney at the presentation to the board. His office said he was on vacation and a staff member said there was “no comment” when asked the name of the client Giunco was representing before the board regarding the 200 Ocean Ave. property.
Turner said the owner of the property was Morris Matalon, whose son was at the presentation. The city tax assessor, John Butow, confirmed Tuesday that Morris Matalon was named as president of the 200 Ocean Boulevard Corporation, owner of the property, when a deed transfer was recorded on the property in 2015. He said any communications about the property are sent to a post office box in Livingston.
Matalon could not be reached for comment.
“We really don’t have very much more information than you have,” said Rena Levine Levy, owner – along with her brother, Steven – of WindMill, when asked about the board presentation.
Levy, who is the daughter of one of the founders of the original WindMill in the West End section of the city, said the restaurant has been in that location across from Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park for 30 years.
Asked if she had spoken to the owner of the building, Levy said she did not know who the owner is. She said she communicates with 200 Ocean Boulevard Corporation through a post office box in Livingston.
Levy said the restaurant would continue to do business as usual.
“It’s not a slam dunk,” that the proposal would be carried out, she said.
Darcy Durham of Haddonfield was exiting the WindMill on Tuesday with her husband and several children, one of whom was celebrating a birthday there. “I can’t stand having condominiums taking over so many locations,” she said.
Although she lives in North Jersey, Durham said she visits WindMill regularly when she is at the shore, as does her husband.
“I would totally miss” the WindMill if it wasn’t here, she said.
This article was first published in the July 27 – Aug. 3, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
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