With the aroma of grilled beef wafting from an adjacent tent and the band, Bug, playing "The Rising" to greet visitors, over the din of cell phone's ringing, Asbury Park’s elected and non-elected leaders officially declared the rumor to be indeed fact, “Asbury Park is coming back!”


Well over a hundred people filled the white tent that stretched the width of Bradley Park as more strained at the entrance, both to hear and to escape the lashing rain.


City Manager Terry Reidy: Opened the ceremonies by thanking everyone responsible, calling it “A Dramatic, Important and Meaningful Day.”  “What benefits one part of the city benefits the entire community.”

Mayor Kevin Sanders: This governing body is taking Asbury Park "out of park and putting it into drive!”  Sanders assured the audience work will be done – is being done – today.”

Councilmember John Hamilton: first councilmember to speak thanked Asbury Partners, the architects, attorneys, etc. Noted “The Rising,” the name for Metro Homes conversion of the c-8 building, is a “Godly word.” Said he was mindful of the citizens here all along who will not be able to afford these units nor the rents as they rise. But he thanked the developers for “coming here to improve life here in Asbury Park.”

Councilmember and real estate rep John Loffredo: “Anyone want to take a guess at how much property values just went up?” He recalled the excitement the city afforded him as a child. Then his voice quivered, “I don’t think I’ve ever had a happier day in Asbury Park than I am today.”

Councilmember Kate Mellina: Of the process said, “Sure the past 39 months felt more like 25 years, but by God we’re here.” Mellina singled out two people as instrumental to bringing redevelopment to Asbury Park: the city’s redevelopment attorney James Aaron, who was in Washington, D.C., and federal confessed felon former city manager Terry Weldon. “The FBI may have taken him out," said Mellina, "but I think heaven got him in there to get us going.” Some of the audience applauded at Weldon's name.

Deputy Mayor James Bruno:  “I don't think I can top that, but I concur with you Kate.” Bruno said he wanted his kids to see an Asbury Park like the one that he knew as a child.

Reidy: noted the crowded tent was what Asbury Park is going to be like - everyone wanting to get in. Referred to the "dynamic tension" during negotiations between the city and Asbury Partners.

Larry Fishman: "A glorious time to be in Asbury Park." Thanked an absent Gov. McGreevey for his "essential" help in promoting the redevelopment and DEP Dir. Bradley Campbell's "personal interest" in making the resources of his office available to the city. "There is a glorious transformation about to take place in Asbury Park." As did Reidy, Fishman referenced critics of the redevelopment plan and bumps in negotiations: "I've been beat up and tossed around. But it's all part of the process." Then he thanked the others in his partnerships, pointing out his brother Glenn Fishman, Martin Sass and others in the audience. (Cherokee Investment Partners was not mentioned.) Fishman said Asbury Park will have $24 million a year in taxes when the plan is complete.

Jeffrey Friereich - vice chair and managing partner of  Kushner Co's Westminster Communities: "Asbury Park's return to the Glory Days has arrived." Wesley Grove residents will be able to shop in the fine stores long associated with this city. "Phase I has commenced already."

Jeffrey Fernbach - president of Paramount Homes: Staff recalls memories of Asbury Park: Said one, It wasn't Christmas until my mother shopped at Newberry's; one had her wedding at the Berkeley Carteret, another her first date on the Swan boat. "All are ready for the renaissance." 

Dean Geibel - managing partner Metro Homes: Credited the written development plan for creating the confidence necessary to draw developers.  Noted specifically his reliance on the "Number One Planner in the Land, Mr. Dwaney" (Andreas Duany. According to internet searches, Duany is not a professionally trained or licensed planner.)