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Monday, June 17, 2024

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Plan Calls for New Avalon Restaurant and Bar

The property

By Shay Roddy

AVALON – A new restaurant and bar could soon be coming to the old Coldwell Banker building, at the corner of 27th Street and Dune Drive.
An application was turned in earlier this month to the Avalon Planning and Zoning Board, revealing a plan to transform the former real estate office into a restaurant.
The property owner confirmed to the board at a hearing earlier this year that he owns a liquor license and plans to use it at the Dune Drive location. The liquor license was last active at Jack’s Place, a longtime watering hole that closed after summer 2017.
Edward Kennedy, the man behind the recent application, acquired the liquor license in January, for $2 million, according to the Avalon borough clerk’s office. He purchased the corner real estate office that same month.
The plan indicates the stand-alone one-story building on the property will remain, but the interior will be gutted and transformed. A wrap-around patio will be added, and the former office’s parking lot will be modified to an outdoor seating and hangout area.
Renderings on file in borough hall indicate a Mexican theme for the restaurant, with the sign on the building reading “masataco” and wicker pendants depicted hanging above patio tables.
On the wrap-around patio, plans account for 34 seats, with an additional 82 seats in the courtyard, which will replace the former parking lot. There is also a lounge area, with an outdoor fireplace, at the back of the courtyard.
The courtyard would border Avalon’s branch of Sturdy Savings Bank to the north and a duplex to the west. Across 27th Street is Pirate Island Miniature Golf. The property is zoned “B-1,” part of the downtown business district.
Indoors, most of the building will be the kitchen and restrooms. There is a small dining room with 20 seats and a bar with 10 indoor stools, which appears to open to the courtyard. Plans also show an open kitchen, with a wood-burning oven and five stools at the kitchen counter.
The application includes a variance request to add a 320 square-foot detached shed, which is larger than the 120 square-feet allowed by the borough. The only other variance request is to allow 30 maximum tables, when 23.5 is what’s allowed.
A street entrance off Dune Drive for the parking lot would be eliminated, resulting in five additional street parking spaces. Seven off-street parking spaces would be maintained, with one entrance to the lot, off 27th Street.
The 13,650 square foot property was acquired for $3.1 million by 2688 Dune Drive LLC earlier this year, according to public records. 2688 Dune Drive LLC is managed by Kennedy. Kennedy did not respond to requests to comment for this article.
He is not apparently involved in any other local business, but he is president of a successful business in the healthcare sector and is connected to a residence in Stone Harbor, records show.
Kennedy had applied to the Planning and Zoning Board in the spring for a site plan waiver, so that he could open for the summer, with temporary outdoor seating and food and drink service until 10 p.m.
The board approved the waiver at its May meeting, but the plan never came to fruition, and the property has not been operational as a restaurant since it was a hamburger stand, close to 30 years ago.
In May, Kennedy testified to the board that the concept would be casual, family-friendly seafood dining. It appears, based on the newly submitted renderings, the concept has changed. However, few details are available, since there has not yet been a hearing and there is no reference to the proposed theme in the narrative included with the application.
The application will go in front of the Planning and Zoning Board for approval and testimony from the applicant at an upcoming hearing. It is unclear if the timeline will allow the business to be ready to open in time for this summer, though construction fences are already up, a large dumpster is present in the parking lot, and some work on the exterior patio appears to have begun.
To contact Shay Roddy, with development and business tips or other story ideas, email sroddy@cmcherald.com or call (609) 886-8600 ext. 142.

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