New Jersey seaside town breaks development drought

(The Asbury)

Asbury Park, N.J. opened its first hotel in 50 years.

The Asbury, a 110-room hotel, opened in what was formerly a vacant Salvation Army Retired Officers Home. Designer Anda Andrei and hotel operator David Bowd worked on the property, and iStar Inc., which is developing the hotel, spent roughly $46 million in transforming the property, which at the time of its foreclosure had $8.5 million owed to it.

The hotel has a variety of different accommodations, from traditional guestrooms to ocean view suites with bunk beds that can sleep up to eight guests. The hotel also has an operational policy that allows guests to check in at any time of day.

“It’s all part of elevating the customer experience and trying to make the waterfront great,” Brian Cheripka, SVP of iStar, said. “You have this eclectic community. This urban vibe. This little city by the sea, and there’s this opportunity to get it right.”

Asbury Park was a once-popular seaside town that began to suffer economically after the opening of the Garden State Parkway, a highway that provided access to other beachfront locations in New Jersey. However, the location had begun to see signs of life as of the early 2000s with new condominium developments began to appear and the city saw a revival of its restaurant scene.