NJ Developer: Our Luxury Market Is Short on Product

Roy Stillman on what’s fueling demand for condos in the Garden State, plus details on his latest project.

Roy Stillman on the luxury market in New Jersey
High-net-worth buyers are finding more investment and lifestyle upside in real estate on the Shore, where you can see Manhattan across the bay but still have pristine beaches,” said Stillman. Image courtesy of Stillman Development

The luxury market has proven quite resilient over the past few years. After a short dip in the wake of the pandemic, condo demand quickly rebounded fueled by buyers’ need for more space. Today, projects located in smaller cities near large urban centers, are sought-after investments.

In Long Branch, N.J., a 132-unit luxury condo project is set to rise on the oceanfront, catering to high-income buyers looking for upscale residences that provide easy access to New York City. The developer behind the high-rise that is set to be completed in 2026 is 390 Ocean LLC, which comprises owners from Stillman Development International, Surrey Equities and Gotham City Real Estate Services.

In an exclusive interview with Multi-Housing News, Stillman Development President Roy Stillman talks about his company’s new condominium development and dives into what is fueling demand across the broader luxury market in New Jersey.

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Tell us more about the vision behind The Atlantic Club. How are sales going so far?

Stillman: Our vision for The Atlantic Club is to deliver a meticulously crafted residential enclave inspired by beach serenity and charm but with a sophisticated sense of style and elegance. We decided to embark on a new development in Long Branch because of its convenient location, prime shopping, robust entertainment options and fine dining. The project sits on one of the last existing development sites of oceanfront land and is unique because of its vast frontage and nearly 4-acre size. It is a spectacular and unique site.

Our main focus when designing the building was to create as many homes as possible with direct or nearly direct views of the ocean. We are very proud of our accomplishments because 128 out of our 132 homes have direct or nearly direct views of the ocean. Additionally, each home has large balconies or terraces which allow residents to enjoy the views and fresh air from the privacy of their home. We are currently heavily active in sales, in fact, we just announced the sales of both penthouse units. The Atlantic Club is slated to break ground this spring, and we cannot wait to deliver a resort-style living experience to the community of Long Branch.

Tell us more about the elements that will make The Atlantic Club stand out among other luxury residences along the Jersey Shore.

Stillman: The 75,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenity space at The Atlantic Club far surpasses other buildings located in Monmouth County, N.J. Included in the amenity space is an expansive pool deck with sunbeds, fire pits and barbecue grills; a fitness center with dedicated studios for spinning, cardio, yoga, and weight training; a business center; a wellness center; a game room with billiards and poker; a dedicated virtual reality game room and sports simulator; billiards, card room, cinema; Grand Lounge with ocean views, private party room, pet spa, music practice room and a children’s playroom.

Additionally, each residence will boast high-end features and finishes, making every unit a prize. The design will include white oak-style flooring, recessed lighting, high ceilings with floor-to-ceiling windows, custom cabinetry, state-of-the-art integrated kitchen appliances, and bathroom spaces with imported porcelain marble.

The Atlantic CLub Pool Deck
The pool deck at The Atlantic Club. Image courtesy of Williams New York

What’s the buyer pool you’re targeting? Who will be living at The Atlantic Club?

Stillman: The buyers at the Atlantic Club span the Tri-State area. Most of our buyers are from Monmouth County, Northern New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York City. Residents range from their 30s to 70s and are either families eager to experience a summer at Long Branch or semi-retired older couples. These buyers desire resort-style living with luxury entertainment environments and high-end conveniences …

Art seems to be an important part of this residential project. Why is that?

Stillman: A real estate project is like a large sculpture that takes a lifetime of travel, visiting museums and finding inspiration to bring to life. To create a building that will evoke emotion in its users, tenants and visitors, developers need to incorporate art in every aspect.

We envisioned a project with unique artistic touches throughout, harkening back to a past sense of opulence and grandeur on the Shore. When residents first walk in, they will be greeted by a 3,000-square-foot lobby with a marquee entrance that rises to a height of more than 18 feet and features soaring, tailored glass and textile installations inspired by the ocean’s sense of fluidity and dynamism.

The lobby’s vision will be curated by Cristina Grajales, owner of the famed Cristina Grajales Gallery, who will not only reimagine the lobby into a gallery but the building as a whole. Cristina has also engaged Christophe Côme, a notable French glass sculptor, and Jorge Lizarazo of the Hechizoo atelier, both of whom have their work featured in Chanel stores throughout the world. These artists have created new works specifically for the project.

It’s no secret that the economic context and the financial landscape are quite difficult. Have you encountered any challenges until now?

Stillman: The luxury multifamily market is seeing a lack of inventory, making the properties available in high demand. In New Jersey specifically, we are seeing inventory so low that despite interest rates, 12.5 percent of homes in New Jersey have sold above the listing price. With median home sales rising over 8 percent year-over-year, luxury buyers are proving that the New Jersey market still has a lot of growth potential.

On the Jersey Shore, high-net-worth buyers are beginning to seek amenities and conveniences typically found in condos in New York or Miami. In Long Branch, an area known for its beaches, entertainment and dining, we are seeing a shift toward luxury developments. Overall, Monmouth County has long been a desirable place to live, and The Atlantic Club stands out as a one-of-one property in this region.

The ATlantic Club Terrace
A terrace at The Atlantic Club. Image courtesy of Williams New York

Are there any specific strategies that you employ to ensure that your luxury developments align with market demand and stand out in a competitive landscape?

Stillman: Our feeling is that there is always a demand for the best work. The Atlantic Club’s design aesthetic, amenities and proximity to the beach make it stand out among a burgeoning crop of luxury at the Jersey Shore, but it is also a project that could only exist here. The aesthetic and feel of the project are deeply tied to its oceanfront location on the Shore and the sophistication of New York’s high-rise market.

What trends do you expect to shape the New Jersey luxury market going forward?

Stillman: For the luxury market in New Jersey, we are seeing a rise in pieds-a-terre and, globally, in resort-style, turnkey residences that remove friction from buyers’ busy lives.

New Jersey has long been a natural next step for those looking to migrate out of New York City, but the high-net-worth buyer is looking for a home with resort-style amenities, which is why single-family homes may not be best suited for this. Today’s luxury buyer wants the conveniences and perks that a luxury development offers, particularly as luxury buyers increasingly own multiple ‘second homes.’

In particular, high-net-worth buyers are finding more investment and lifestyle upside in real estate on the Shore, particularly in Monmouth County, where you can see Manhattan across the bay but still have pristine beaches. By ferry, car, or train, New Yorkers can get to the Jersey Shore in just over an hour—and towns like Asbury Park, Long Branch and Sea Bright, among many others, offer a livelier scene and upscale dining options. To meet the demand, the Shore is seeing unprecedentedly elevated condos coming to market, as New Yorkers want beach homes that have views of the ocean—a hard thing to find along the East Coast—but are also turnkey and feel like a resort.

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