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The New Golden Age of Asbury Park

It’s no secret that Asbury Park has become a magnet for just about everyone. This fabulous city by the sea has earned a reputation as a great place to live, work, and play, and it has attracted people across all demographics.

In recent years, both the downtown district and beachfront areas have enjoyed a remarkable boon, with hip new restaurants, businesses, entertainment venues, hotels, and super trendy residential and professional spaces.

The Asbury Park beachfront area has been listed as one of the best anywhere, with its exciting new eateries and shops that line the boardwalk, art and music spaces, and, of course, its stunning beachfront.

Madison Marquette real estate investment company has had a huge hand in the revitalization of the Asbury Park’s beachfront area, and there’s more to come as they continue their expansion plans for the area.

Peter Tomai, Managing Director for Investments at Madison Marquette, told JerseyShoreVibe that the company recognized Asbury Park’s potential from the get-go.

“Madison Marquette recognized the enormous potential and appeal of Asbury Park when it undertook its redevelopment in 2006,” Tomai said. “Because of Madison Marquette's history as a thought leader and innovator in the real estate industry, the redevelopment of Asbury Park was predicated on a cohesive plan that would transform and restore 400,000 square feet of retail, entertainment and hospitality into a vibrant retail and entertainment destination rooted in the rich history of Asbury Park.”

According to Tomai, the city’s rich and iconic history at the Jersey Shore made Asbury Park fertile ground for redevelopment.

“The Asbury Park Boardwalk holds a historic and iconic position on the Jersey Shore, and Madison Marquette strives to seamlessly integrate the past with the present--celebrating the best of this waterfront community while curating a mix of eateries, artisan maker places, entertainment and unique guest experiences into a thriving whole,” Tomai said.

Tomai says that Madison Marquette has a vision for the area based on its iconic structures.

“Madison Marquette has been re-imagining the boardwalk the historic Asbury Park Boardwalk, which is anchored by the Grand Arcade, Convention Hall and Paramount Theatre to the north and now features seven successful and unique restaurants and lounges, numerous specialty food concepts and dynamic and exciting independent boutiques that fill over 80,000 square feet of retail space,” Tomai said.

Madison Marquette has partnered with Live Nation to bring top-tier talent to five nationally recognized entertainment waterfront venues, said Tomai, including The Wonder Bar, the internationally renowned Stone Pony, and the Stone Pony Summer Stage.

“Madison Marquette is currently working toward the restoration of the Asbury Park carousel and casino which once housed amusements including bumper cars and other popular family recreational activities,” said Tomai. “Madison Marquette is also working to restore the Fifth Avenue Pavilion and re-imagined rooftop bandshell.”

The Arthur Prior bandshell, once a public venue, is owned by the boardwalk redeveloper and sits atop the pavilion of the historic Howard Johnson’s building that is now being transformed into Robinson’s Ale House. that houses a renovated McLoone’s Supper Club.

According to Tomai, the new ale house and supper club will be supported by new retail, food and beverage operations along both the Boardwalk and the rapidly developing Ocean Avenue district.

“Asbury Park residents and visitors alike love the history, beauty and excitement of the Asbury Park waterfront setting,” Tomai said. “Activities that draw visitors to the spot are as varied as the offerings - with some gravitating to the brilliant music scene which offers a diverse set of genres from rock to progressive and beyond. Other visitors love the gourmet dining and affordably priced beach favorites, including our North Eats food trucks, and some come for the activation of the boardwalk that includes weekly bonfires, seasonal fireworks an arcade of vintage pinball machines, bike rentals, and some of the best surfing on the Eastern Seaboard.”

The Asbury Park Boardwalk hosts a number of festivals throughout the year, including the Asbury Music and Film Festival, Asbury Park Beerfest, and Oysterfest.

Madison Marquette is also responsible for The Market, a union of local and national makers, artists, and designers located in the boardwalk’s Grande Arcade in Convention Hall.

“The Market is extremely popular and encompasses Madison Marquette's highly curated retail with micro and emerging brands,” said Tomai. “Shops such as Bettie's Bombshells and our 4th Avenue Pavilion, home to Madison Marquette's Storehouse retail cooperative, attract still more visitors every year. Restaurants such as Anchor's Bend, The Beach Bar, Asbury Oyster House, Mogo Korean Tacos, Tim McLoone's, Stella Marina, Cubacan, Langosta Lounge, Watermark and Pop's Garage are always packed. And, standing room only is the norm for The Wonder Bar and Stone Pony.”

In addition to the renovation of the 5th Avenue Pavilion and ongoing repairs to Convention Hall, Madison Marquette has plans to renovate the 4th Avenue Pavilion to expand retail, food and beverage offerings on the ground level while offering ocean view creative office space on the second level.

“We are pursuing façade restoration of the Arcade and Casino which will allow us to expand our diverse offerings to new and dramatic spaces and this is just the beginning,” Tomai said. “We have several exciting years of activity ahead with new space entering the market every year.”

The old heating plant, which sits on the southern end of the boardwalk, has been the subject of much speculation as to its fate. The jaw-dropping and enormous structure went into operation in 1930 to heat the boardwalk, is owned by Madison Marquette.

“Asbury is blessed with iconic historic buildings many of which were designed by the same famed architects which designed New York’s Grand Central Station, Warren and Wetmore,” Tomai said. “The former steam plant--originally the boardwalk pavilions were all heated with central steam--is one of those cherished icons. New design and engineering teams are currently working on the structure, and the adjacent Casino building, to establish the course of action to not only protect and restore the facades but to actively reimagine and reuse the buildings to further expand the diverse offerings of food, beverage, entertainment and retail available along the Asbury Park Boardwalk.”

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