Boutique Hotel Planned for Landmark Building in Asbury Park

 

This is a rendering of a proposed renovation at 714 Mattison Ave., Asbury Park where the Savoy movie theater once operated.

This is a rendering of a proposed renovation at 714 Mattison Ave., Asbury Park where the Savoy movie theater once operated.

By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI

Sackman Enterprises has developed plans to construct a boutique hotel in the landmark Kinmouth Building which once housed the Savoy Theater on Mattison Avenue in Asbury Park. A hotel would be a first for the city’s downtown.

The developer had previously proposed building micro residential units at the site but believes a hotel would be more beneficial to the community. A discussion of the proposal took place last week at the City Council meeting.

Andrew Karas, representing Sackman Enterprises, described the proposed boutique hotel as a “luxury” one and added that customers would have access parking at 711 Mattison Ave.

He also said building a hotel would provide employment for a significant number of people on a year round basis, which the former proposal of micro units would not do.

Having a hotel downtown would increase year round tourism to the city, he said. And it would be unique.

“I don’t know of any hotels that have been located in the downtown,” said Don Stine, president of the Asbury Park Historical Society. “They were all at the beachfront.”

The plan also calls for a rooftop pool and to qualify for a liquor license would have to have a minimum of 100 rooms.

Michael Fornino of Neptune who formerly owned the building with a business partner said the building was built “like a fortress.”

“The outside walls are 22 inches thick,” he said. “It can accommodate almost anything you want.”

The building dates back to 1911 and was built by Walter Reade. The design of the five story structure was influenced by the works of Louis Sullivan. It was host to many famous plays and players including John Barrymore, Helen Hayes, George Abbot and Shirley Booth. In 1931 it was converted into a motion picture movie theater. The theater’s original dressing rooms, located under the stage and orchestra pit, still remain.

In other business, Karas also outlined other proposed changes at 574 Cookman Ave. and 711 Mattison Ave. Sackman is asking for relief from the 45-feet maximum height allowed in the Central Business District. Karas noted that many buildings in the CBD are of varying heights giving the skyline a “staggered” look.

Architect Obi C. Agudosi, AIA, of Newark based OCA Architects, Inc. presented renderings of the buildings along with construction details.

The facade at 574 Cookman Ave. in Press Plaza, known as the Barry Slott building, will maintain the historic look of the building on the bottom half but have a more modern look on the three upper floors, each of which will have six residential units.

Karas explained that the modern design is created to complement the historic look in the absence of being able to replicate it.

“It’s iconic and reflects the direction that Asbury is going,” he said.

The permitted height in the Central Business District is 45 feet. Many buildings, however, are higher, giving what Karas called a “staggered” look.

Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn asked if any of the units would be affordable and Karas said it is a possibility.

At 711 Mattison Ave. 51 residential units are planned along with a total of 188 parking spaces, most on the ground floor, which was the reasoning behind increasing the height to 50 feet, five feet above the 45 feet allowed.

Karas said only 87 parking spaces are required for the project but the developer is adding more to accommodate residents of 574 Cookman Ave., which is nearby.

All three of the plans are conceptual ideas at this point and were presented to council members for their feedback before possibly moving forward on them.

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