By ED SALVAS
Friday, February 6, 2015 was a dark day for Janet Mazur and her husband Kurt Cavano as they watched their building on Main Avenue in Ocean Grove go up in flames.
The couple, longtime Ocean Grove residents, were also devastated, but their decision to rebuild was quick and a new, modern three-story commercial and residential building is nearing completion.
Mazur and Cavano call the building at 50 Main Ave. “The Phoenix” as it is rising from the ashes of the old building that was built more than a century ago. Mazur and Cavano are understandably anxious to show off the new building which has four retail spaces on the ground floor and six residential units, three on each of the upper floors. That’s one less apartment than in the old building which had seven units.
Mazur and Cavano sad they began working on the plans a week after the fire, sitting at their dining room table brainstorming ideas with their architect, Mark Alexander Pavliv of the Architect Studio in Ocean Grove and Spring Lake. Ocean Grove builder Jack Green was brought on board to “keep it local,” according to Mazur. Another local business, Davison Rugs, is installing the hardwood floors and carpeting in the hallways.
The building has a total of 12,000 square feet, an elevator and a storage space in the basement for each unit. All the residences have an open floor plan, laundry facilities and balconies facing Main Avenue to provide what Mazur called “a light, airy, beachy feel.” Cavano said some people believe the building is larger than the one it replaces, but he says no, it’s built on the same footprint as the old one.
Mazur and Cavano are now in the process of renting the retail spaces on the ground floor. One will be a restaurant with a mezzanine dining area, and they are looking for businesses that are compatible with the rest of Main Avenue. She said her own shop, Fusion Jewelry also destroyed in the fire, will not reopen. They are targeting May 15 for the official opening.
Once the decision to rebuild was made, Mazur and Cavano began the lengthy process of approvals, permits and legal hurdles. Construction was finally started in September of 2016. The building is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and has sprinklers throughout. They have also met the strict requirements of the Ocean Grove Historic Preservation Commission, maintaining the town’s architectural style.
Mazur said she and her husband hope the building will be an asset to Ocean Grove and that it will inspire other property owners thinking about building in town. Other than Mary’s Place, a respite for women being treated for cancer, it’s the only new recent construction in Ocean Grove. Asked about the cause of the fire, Cavano said it has been labeled “non-suspicious” but no official cause has ever been determined.