In July 2013, the Philadelphia Residential Development Company (PRD) broke ground on The Waves, the first project of its kind in Ventnor City, N.J. Ralph Philomeno, construction manager for PRD, is leading the project, working alongside architectural partner, JKR Partners, and civil engineer, Arthur Ponzio. The unique high-end residential project is being built in place of the old Monaco Motel along the city’s scenic boardwalk.
“We stated demolition of the old motel last summer,” Philomeno recounts. “In November 2013, we started putting in piles. Our goal is to have one model complete by July 2014 and we think the project will be done May 2015.”
Philomeno is working with several subcontractors on the project. Contractors who have worked with PRD on a repeat basis fill many of the trade positions. Otherwise, the team is working with several local contractors form the Atlantic County shore area. The boost to the local construction market has been well received so far. Local officials and community members are pleased with the design and the condos are filling up fast.
A beachfront getaway
When completed, The Waves will offer 27 large and distinct townhomes. Seven will be directly on the beach, with decks that lead right up to the boardwalk. The other 20 are on adjacent side streets and have been dubbed the Beach Block units. Completed homes will range from $750,000 for Beach Block units up to $1,295,000 for beachfront properties. Owners will not pay any condominium association or maintenance fees for the properties once purchased. According to Philomeno, so far, all but one of the beachfront units are spoken for and five of the 20 Beach Block units have been sold.
Future residents can look forward to two spacious floor plans. Both options offer five bedrooms and four baths with breezy open-air decks and modern common spaces. Each townhome comes complete with a garage and Beachfront units offer a carport that can keep an additional vehicle out of the elements. Both options are complete with private lifts, making it easier to haul a suitcase full of beach gear up to the top floor of these the four- to five-story homes.
A hard winter
At this point, Philomeno says he and his team have passed most of the major milestones on the project. “This has been a very difficult build because there is a lot of structural steel involved and the winds make that component more challenging,” he explains. “Because of Hurricane Sandy, the requirements are higher than they were a few years ago. All beachfront units have movement frames so the internal structure will not be damaged by high winds.
There is also a new timber bulkhead along the boardwalk for protection. With that new construction, Philomeno and his team extended the boardwalk into the project. Each unit will have direct access to it. The Waves is the only community on the beach where homeowners will that kind of access to the shore.
While new regulations and structural requirements have had an impact on the team’s process, Philomeno says the greatest obstacle was weather during the winter. “It is hard enough building here in the normal winter, but I have never seen temperatures like this before,” he reflects. “Some mornings we came out and it was only 3 or 4 degrees outside. With the wind coming off the ocean, it was brutal. We just couldn’t work. Luckily, the way it worked out, we got concrete done and had the windows in when the weather was nice and we also got the foundation work done. The cold and wind did hold up our framers, though.”
The coming stages of construction will develop these beachside buildings into attractive homes for 27 families. The finished project is not designed to meet any LEED goals, but does include a few energy saving features such as spray foam insulation to better regulate heat exchange between the homes and the outdoors.
“Our number one goal at the end of the day is to make the customer happy,” Philomeno explains. “The satisfaction of our clients reflects on us. With The Waves and all of our projects, we strive to perform high quality work. We are constantly reworking the details for efficiency and value.” As the New Jersey shoreline makes a comeback post-Hurricane Sandy, this will serve as a landmark project for the region. Philomeno and his team are excited to present The Waves after completion in spring 2015, reeling in a new architectural standard for the community.
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