Long Beach Island locals and vacationers alike have no doubt noticed the development as they arrive on the island. In the next few years, the island will be home to a redesigned bridge system, a brand-new hotel, luxury condominiums, and a shifted traffic pattern. The entrance to Long Beach Island is changing, and here is how it will affect you.
Hotel LBI is the newest project from Cedar Bonnet Hospitality Group, a local company affiliated with Mercer Management that also owns and operates Bonnet Island Estate, Mallard Island Yacht Club, as well as The Holiday Inn and The Mainland. The company has assembled a local team to design and construct the new hotel, working with Dever Architects of Ship Bottom as well as consulting architects Craig W. Brearley of Manahawkin and James Foran of Hamilton.
Once completed, Hotel LBI will be one of the East Coast’s premier hotels and event facilities. The design concepts for the interior and exterior depict a world-class hotel that would rival any other along the coast. The premium accommodations and facilities are expected to bring a new audience to the island, boosting tourism and providing hundreds of jobs for the community.
Hotel LBI will offer facilities that are available year-round including breakfast, upscale dining, rooftop deck, luxury pool with a retractable roof, hot tub spa, numerous bars and cocktail lounges. The Hotel is also designed to host weddings and other celebrations for visitors and locals alike.
While there has been some chatter about the size and scope of the construction project, the size of Hotel LBI will be similar to historic LBI hotels of the early 1900’s, including The Baldwin and The Engleside. In fact, much of the inspiration for Hotel LBI was drawn from these beautiful Victorian hotels. The Hotel LBI team believes that the new hotel will reinvigorate a part of our tourism industry that has been largely forgotten since those grand hotels disappeared.
The finished Hotel will give the entrance to the island a much-needed facelift. Construction began in the fall of 2017, and the framing and exterior are well underway. If all goes according to schedule, Hotel LBI will be open for business in the Spring or Summer of 2019.
After you pass Hotel LBI and head east towards the ocean you will quickly see that the long-vacant lot at the center of the causeway is empty no more. The scruffy grass and gravel where the gas station once stood has been replaced by The Arlington Beach Club: a brand-new luxury condominium development.
The Arlington Beach Club will be comprised of 24 luxury condominiums designed by LBI resident Nicholas Garofolo and local architect Jeffery F. Wells. Like Hotel LBI, the design of the Arlington Beach Club was also inspired by turn of the century architecture.
The condominiums will each feature 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and will be offered in two distinct styles: Windward and Leeward units. Amenities will include men’s and women’s locker rooms, a poolside tiki bar and cabana, luxury hot tub, common area with BBQ gas grills, and a private deck for each condo. The condominiums are currently listed as starting at $639,000 for first floor units.
Fun history lesson: The name “Arlington” can be found on a few locations in Ship Bottom, but where does it come from? In the early 1800’s, LBI consisted of several small towns including one known as “Beach Arlington”. These towns were later consolidated into larger townships, and Beach Arlington became a part of Ship Bottom, where The Arlington Beach Club now sits.
Construction of The Arlington Beach Club is moving quickly, and the development is expected to be completed and open for residents by November/December 2018.
As part of the new bridge project, NJDOT will be implementing a traffic redirection program for the entrance of LBI.
The project will improve the traffic flow on and off the island and reduce the frequent flooding that impacts the causeway area. From the Boulevard to the bridge, 8th and 9th Streets will be widened within the existing right-of-way to accommodate more traffic. Perhaps more significantly, the state is doing away with the one-way traffic circle, restoring two-way traffic on the Boulevard and Central Avenue.
To reduce the frequent flooding along the entrance to the Island, the State is removing the old, clogged drainage system and installing a new storm drainage system. New sidewalks will be installed along the impacted roadways to accommodate pedestrian traffic.
All of this sounds great – improved traffic flow, no more traffic circle, no more flooding. The bad news? It’s going to take a while. The project is expected to start in 2020 and take 3 years to complete.
Since the construction of the new bridges started several years ago, the entrance to our beloved Island has been, shall we say, less than beautiful. However, the new Hotel LBI and Arlington Beach Club will provide an impressive architectural entrance to the island, and the new road system will alleviate many headaches that residents and visitors face throughout the year. Check back in the next issue of Bay Magazine for an update on these and other LBI development projects.