AVALON – Two legendary Avalon bars, the Princeton and Whitebrier, along with a full square block of real estate they sit on, are currently listed for sale, ownership confirmed.
The lots, which are between Dune and Ocean drives and 20th and 21st streets, collectively make up about three acres. The Princeton was a hotel dating back over 100 years and later became the island’s go-to nightclub for generations.
The Whitebrier, another popular bar and happy hour spot, has been open in its current location for 20 years and was previously operated on the beachfront, with a hotel, by the same owner. Both bars also offer upscale dining indoors and outdoors.
The sale also includes the Sea Grill, a steak and seafood restaurant between the Princeton and Whitebrier. The Sea Grill has not been opened since the Covid pandemic. A buyer would also get a now vacant lot off Ocean Drive that used to be AJ’s Antiques and Z’s Deli before they closed after summer 2019.
Anthony Zurawski owns the Whitebrier and the vacant lot beside it and two of his children, Scott Zurawski and Liz Tracy, own the Princeton and Sea Grill. The Princeton also includes the Circle Tavern and Rock Room.
The family agreed to an upcoming sit down for an exclusive interview with the Herald where they will talk about the decision to list the properties. That article will run in the Dec. 14 edition.
In the meantime, ownership released the following statement:
“The Zurawski family owns two separate parcels of land in Avalon, The Whitebrier complex and The Princeton/Sea Grill complex and have received multiple unsolicited offers. The family decided to seek professional representation with CBRE to guide them through the process. This three-acre site offers a great opportunity for continued economic development of downtown Avalon.”
The sale would include the businesses and liquor licenses, according to the listing, as well as the real estate.
The Zurawskis have recently been vocal to the planning board about their desire to build a boutique hotel in the downtown business district. Current zoning there does not allow for hotels, which are all pushed down to the far south end of town, where it meets Stone Harbor.
Anthony Zurawski presented a plan for a boutique hotel across the street from the Whitebrier to the Planning Board in 2016, but got the thumbs down.
The idea has recently been revisited, but so far the final approvals necessary to build a hotel on these lots from the borough’s government have not been handed down.
The planning board in July said it would be reconsidering the Master Plan, with regard to the B-1 district, which includes the Whitebrier and Princeton. At that meeting, a capacity crowd went back and forth over the issue of hotels in the downtown.
Those for the idea cited ways a hotel would improve the declining foot traffic in the business district and declining sales for many local businesses. They also said it could improve the shoulder season, the way the Reeds has in Stone Harbor.
Opponents, many from 22nd Street, cited concerns, mostly over parking and traffic.
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