Walters Group Develops Senior Housing on Jersey Shore
Cornerstone at Seaside is expected to revivify a neglected area that has needed redevelopment for years because of the damage from Superstorm Sandy.
By Jeffrey Steele
Developer Walters Group has begun construction on Cornerstone at Seaside, a new age- and income-restricted apartment community in Seaside Heights, N.J. The groundbreaking followed the razing of several buildings that formerly had stood on the site, housing Travel Inn motel, Seaside Lumberyard and a five-family apartment building. The property, at Bay Boulevard and Hamilton Avenue, is expected to revivify a neglected area of Seaside that has needed redevelopment for years.
The 91-unit housing community on one acre will offer high-end, one- and two-bedroom apartments for individuals 55 and older. The income-restricted units will be available to older adults who earn no more than 60 percent of the county’s median income.
“After Superstorm Sandy hit, Seaside was the center of the storm,” Walters Group partner and general counsel Joseph A. Del Duca told MHN. “The iconic photo of the Seaside roller coaster in the ocean is an indelible image. The town is in dire need of redevelopment. Over the years, it has been burdened by old crime-ridden motels. We were able to demolish one of those and replace it with much-needed housing. We love the fact Seaside is a barrier island and is so attractive to senior residents. It will be a high-quality, environmentally-friendly place for them to live.”
He added the internal return on investment is very small compared to a market-rate community. “We are paid a developer’s fee of approximately 7 percent of construction costs and we own the general contractor who makes a profit on the project. The return, all in, is not what you would expect for a market-rate community, but is more than adequate for our business model.”
Total construction costs are $13 million, or $155 per square foot, he added.
The cost of the land on the barrier island was very high, “making the deal extremely tight,” Del Duca noted. Regulatory approvals and the motel demolition proved daunting. Helping offset these hurdles was the cooperative spirit of elected officials, he added.
Color it green
Designed to attain LEED status due to its inclusion of numerous sustainable features, Cornerstone at Seaside is an energy-efficient and green property.
It will feature non-invasive landscaping, will utilize recycled materials during construction and will be situated near local retailers. The inclusion of Energy Star appliances will help residents with long-term reductions in utility costs.
Cornerstone at Seaside is one of several Cornerstone properties either recently completed or underway. In the past year, Walters Group has completed Cornerstone at Barnegat and Cornerstone at Lacey. Meantime, Cornerstone at Toms River is nearing completion, with a September grand opening scheduled.
“Cornerstone at Seaside will address local housing needs by providing high-quality apartments with numerous services and amenities for older adults who are cost burdened,” Walters Group president and founder Ed Walters Jr. said. “This development will allow residents to age in a safe, affordable and well-built home.”