Regrowth, Redevelopment & Rebirth: New Jersey Transit Village-South Amboy

If you or someone you know works in New York City and wants to move to a New Jersey town that is near the train or ferry, I have a place for you! Believe it or not, South Amboy has become a destination for city professionals since it's redevelopment project started in 1999.

Since 1999, a new wave of redevelopment swept through New Jersey's Transit station towns to make use of vacant or underused land. Towns like Morristown, Belmar, Metuchen, New Brunswick and Journal Square/Jersey City have received grant money to improve their transit village and as a life-long resident of the Morristown area, I can totally feel the difference.

Like Morristown and New Brunswick, South Amboy received grant money to start a plan that Mayor John T. O'Leary had envisioned for his hometown. The plan was to bring back the vitality of the harbor town that had become vacant and a destination for bar hopping and strippers:

''We had 60 percent vacancy along Broadway,'' the town's central artery downtown, he said. ''The storefronts were boarded up and shabby, the sidewalks were in bad shape, the lighting was old and burned out. There were water main and sewer breaks all over town.''-New York Times article
"[He sought to] banish bars with exotic dancers in South Amboy, once listed in travel literature as having more bars per capita than any other city in the country."-NYT

With the bus, ferry, Garden State Parkway, and New Jersey Transit all within walking distance from the downtown, South Amboy is a hub for city transportation and a perfect location for a suburb life that many professional are looking for.

With the grant money, Mayor O'Leary started with a new school/library, a senior living facility, a downtown parking garage, and new stores and storefronts.

In 2001, a 136-acre Middlesex County park with a gazebo and playing fields was opened and new housing was erected in Lighthouse Bay-a community of townhouses and single-family homes with Victorian and New-England style architecture. Friends of ours lives in one of the single family homes. One word: Gorgeous!. Back in 2002, when the New York Times article was published, the homes ranged from from $411,990 to $455,990, now they are worth almost $1.3 million. Talk about resell value!

In addition to Lighthouse Bay, you will find another townhouse community called Harbor Village and brand new condos/townhouses called Beacon Pointe which are located just as you drive into town from Rt 9/Rt 35.

If you are currently neighborhood hunting and you want to be close to New York with the option of train, ferry or road, take a drive through South Amboy. Talk to the locals. Wander through Harbor Village and Lighthouse Bay. Stroll along the boardwalk or have a picnic in the park. You'll quickly start to feel at home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just for the record there is no ferry service from South Amboy.Service was discontinued almost two years ago and no one seems to know when or even if it will return.If you ask police,mayors office, vendors even the builders you mention sales-people. No one knows!

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