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$30 million development could transform Pleasantville's Lakes Bay
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$30 million development could transform Pleasantville's Lakes Bay

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PLEASANTVILLE — For the past five years, the city has hosted the Sunset Wine & Beer Tasting at Lakes Bay Marina, which features live music and a dance competition.

But the character of the 16-block marina district could change soon as one of the biggest projects in the city’s history is expected to go before the Planning Board this spring.

Marmora-based Scarborough Properties is proposing a $30 million project that would feature one-and two-bedroom apartments, dredge the marina to put it back in use and add passive recreation amenities to the field near the old high school.

“We are preparing and packaging information so that in the next 60 to 90 days we can make a presentation before the Pleasantville Planning Board,” said M. Sean Scarborough, one of three partners in the company with his two brothers.

Mayor Jesse Tweedle Sr. would like to see progress in the long-planned development of Lakes Bay as part of his legacy in his last year in office.

The desire to improve the Lakes Bay area dates to at least the previous administration of the late Mayor Ralph Peterson Sr.

The marina district has had longtime infrastructure problems, including old, narrow streets, poor drainage and flooding problems.

Scarborough Properties purchased the property from the city Dec. 31 for $200,000, Scarborough said. The company designed and built the $125 million surgical pavilion at Shore Medical Center in 2011 in Somers Point.

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The firm operates Harbor Cove in Somers Point and Cape May Marina in Cape May, which is more in line with its plans in the city. The company also operates the private, nonprofit Paddle Club in Cape May.

Scarborough’s project on the more than 25-acre site in Lakes Bay would improve the area in three ways.

First, the marina would be dredged, so it can become functional again.

“We could potentially dredge by July 2,” Scarborough said.

The idea would be that people could make use of the 50-slip marina and boat ramp for free this year if they were willing to make a rental commitment for next year, Scarborough said.

Second, the site of the old public high school would see the construction of market-rate residential housing with commercial retail and a restaurant with outside dining also possible.

The project calls for building 180 apartments with private funds. A single bedroom would be in the $1,300-a-month range. A two-bedroom apartment would be in the $1,500 range, Scarborough said.

Besides a clubhouse and a pool, the plan is to construct a public space where a street fair or an art or wine festival could be held on the water’s edge, Scarborough said. An area could be set aside where artists could donate sculptures for a couple of years or other attractions for the area, he said.

Third, Ty Helfrich Field would be kept as a place for passive recreation, but improved. The development of the field is encumbered by the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres Program, which was created to meet the state’s recreation and conservation needs.

“This is a diamond in the rough,” Tweedle said.

Contact: 609-272-7202

VJackson@pressofac.com

Twitter@ACPressJackson

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