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Your Comments on the Supplemental Agreement Between the City of Asbury Park and Asbury Partners - passed on 4/5/06

The supplemental agreement with Asbury Partners leaves more questions unanswered. What is particularly troubling is that the public was only given a summary presentation of the agreement and will not be able to see the full document until it is signed by both parties. Despite this fact, the Council passed a resolution approving the agreement. That is another thing, a resolution, which requires no public perusal or comment, was used to supplement or amend and agreement which was adopted by ordinance. The latter affords prior public disclosure and comment. Is this legal? 

The supplemental agreement outlines "initial projects" costing approximately $6 million with Asbury Partners required to deposit 25% of that sum in escrow. I note that these projects include work to the 5th Avenue Pavilion, the Casino, the Power Plant and Convention Hall. Last year, Jim Aaron, the city's redevelopment attorney claimed that the cost to restore the Casino alone would exceed $30 million. Let no one be fooled that the supplemental agreement (as presented to the public thus far) provides for ANY financial guarantee that Asbury Partners will complete the full restoration of these buildings as called for in the original agreement. Beyond these "initial projects" the supplemental agreement only provides that the City will have a "voice" in determining the scope and guidelines for their restoration. While the agreement implies that financial penalties will be set for not completing this work, none are put in place now. Why? The council went this far, why did it not set a schedule for all of the work that was promised 4 years ago and obtain financial guarantees for its completion?

Unless the actual agreement has more "teeth" than what was presented to the public on April 5, then I am afraid we once again got the short end of the stick in this deal. The supplemental agreement specifies that Asbury Partners needs two years to place the remainder of the benches on the boardwalk that were promised 4 years ago. I have little faith in a development entity that needs 2 years to erect 130-140 benches. If it takes that that long to do so little, I can only imagine how long it will be before we see our historic structures restored as promised. We probably will not see it in our lifetimes as long as Asbury Partners is the master developer and as long as we continue to have a council that refuses to play hardball.

Daniel F. Sciannameo, MAI
Albert Valuation Group New York, Inc.
330 West 38th Street, Suite 611
New York, NY 10018
(212) 490-1188 ext 206
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