From the Asbury Park Press:
The beachfront developers getting the headlines this summer have been the men showing their money — Metro Homes’ Dean Geibel, who is building the beachfront Esperanza high rise, and Madison Marquette’s Gary Mottola, who is renovating and rebuilding the historic boardwalk buildings and pavilions.
The first builders to come in five years ago — Kushner Cos.’ Westminster Communities and Paramount Homes — aren’t getting quite the same attention.
But representatives of both say they are concentrating on selling the condominiums they have built and will continue to do so despite a housing market that, in Geibel’s words at a business luncheon last week, is “frozen in place.”
Sam Gershwin, president of Westminster Communities, which built its first 91 town homes and condominiums on Wesley Lake, said Tuesday that reports of Kushner Cos. refocusing the company’s commercial and residential investment opportunities in New York City are true but that construction on current New Jersey projects is not being shut down.
“We still have a very vibrant and active construction company ongoing,” Gershwin said. He said there are seven projects in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
“The marketplace is not good,” he said. “We’re building for those people who have bought units and finishing the rest of the buildings we have on the way.”
Gershwin said current buildings in Asbury Park, Cranford and Perth Amboy are being completed.
But at the same time, he said that in Asbury Park, for example, the focus is to get the St. James, the first planned lakeside building, sold out. What happens next on other blocks Westminster has contracted to develop is not clear.
“The St. James building we will finish,” Gershwin said on Tuesday. “When we or someone else can figure out when the marketplace is going to change and people want to buy real estate, we will get involved again. We would look at opportunities.”
“Asbury Partners did file litigation against us,” Gershwin said. “We presently are working with them to come to a mutual, agreeable resolution, and both parties have agreed to adjourn the court actions pending a negotiated resolution.”
Deputy Mayor James Bruno, asked if it was possible that another developer could come in and replace Westminster, said “it is possible — any developer who comes in must be approved by the City Council.”