Residences at South Beach at Long Branch will offer ocean views, some with three-sided panoramas. Amenities and common spaces will be focused on hospitality, while paying homage to South Beach. — Courtesy: FEM Real Estate
By Joshua Burd
Mimi Feliciano recalls spending the early part of her college years in Miami — and how it wasn’t long before she fell in love with everything from the architecture to the lifestyle.
It’s one reason why she and her firm, FEM Real Estate, have grand designs of bringing a taste of South Beach to her home state with its new project, South Beach at Long Branch. Now under construction, the 47-unit, oceanfront luxury condominium complex is designed to both emulate the style of Miami and create a new destination at the Jersey Shore.
“I’m a Jersey girl — and I’m busy with my business up here — but I love the idea of introducing some of that,” said Feliciano, whose firm is based in Montville. “It brings fond memories from my college days.”
It appears as though potential buyers have latched onto FEM’s vision. The firm in February hosted an open house for the project at The Avenue in Long Branch, attracting more than 90 guests who previewed renderings of the lavish condos and common spaces.
Steven Gurowitz, president of Interiors by Steven G., said “the reaction from the people was overwhelming,” crediting FEM for allowing his firm to be creative in the design.
“How I judge my success is by the people that are the potential buyers coming up to me to ask me questions,” said Gurowitz, whose firm is based in the Miami area, later adding: “When people love what they see, they have an interest.”
FEM’s plans call for two eight-story towers connected by a plaza level. Its design includes ocean views with glass exterior walls, some with three-sided panoramas, along with elevators designed to open directly into nearly all of the units and private backyards and garden terraces for some ground-floor residences.
Amenities and common spaces will be focused on hospitality, while paying homage to South Beach. For instance, Feliciano said units will have two to three bedrooms with an optional den, which include kitchenettes and convertible couches to act as a temporary apartment for guests.
“You’ve now got the ability to bring your friends,” Feliciano said. “And everybody likes to crash somewhere down the Shore, but this is kind of upscale.”
The 1.7-acre project is several years in the making. Feliciano traces its origins all the way back to when she and her family were introduced to Long Branch around 2009 and subsequently bought a townhouse in the city.
The concept of actually building there was born a few years later, Feliciano said, when her son was graduating college and wanted to take on a project down the Shore. And while the family had something smaller in mind, a piece of what would become their project site was available and already approved for a four-story, 11-unit project.
Ultimately, Feliciano and her husband Edwin decided to go much bigger.
“We started with the idea that we were going take the 11 units and we would make it like a little haven for ourselves — a really beautiful South Beach style with this one preapproved project,” she said. “But it was such an exciting idea that got bigger.”
City officials, who “have been beyond supportive,” encouraged them to expand the project’s footprint. All told, it required FEM to assemble about a half-dozen parcels to create the canvas it wanted, and Feliciano is increasingly confident there is a market for “this unique lifestyle on the ocean” that is still within commuting distance to Manhattan.
“It’s more of a reality, and it’s exciting because we’re getting feedback,” Feliciano said. “We seem to be attracting a certain type of person that wants this luxury lifestyle and something that’s simple, kind of maintenance-free, highly amenitized with lots of services. So that’s exciting. That gives me even more confidence that we’re on the right track.”