Cape May Herald
Second Grand Condo Wins Fast Approval from Lower Planners

By Jack Fichter

DIAMOND BEACH — Lower Township Planning Board granted Achristavest and Mita preliminary site plan approval June 19 to build another Grand of Diamond Beach condominium project, Grand South, a 12-story, 98-unit project, next to the building under construction in Diamond Beach.

It will “essentially” be a twin to the building presently under construction, said Frank Corrado, attorney for the project. Grand South will occupy the site of Pier 6600 hotel.

The board approved Grand South, which required no variances, in 30 minutes. In contrast, approvals for the first Grand entailed multiple meetings that stretched over three years.

The project received a waiver for a drive aisle in the parking garage being one foot smaller than township regulations, but which conformed to state rules.

Mita said he was “committed long term to Lower Township and Diamond Beach.” He said he expected to spend another decade or more here, especially “given the market conditions.”

Architect Victor DePalo said Grand South differs from the first Grand building by including a ground level parking area as well as a second-level parking garage.

Grand South will have an elevated pool with a view of the ocean and a second, interior pool, fitness area and meeting rooms.

DePalo said the building would have space for eight retail stores with eight parking spaces off Rochester Avenue. He said Grand South met density requirements and could have had as many as 147 units instead of the proposed 98.

All township lot coverage and setbacks requirements were met, said DePalo.

Project Engineer Vince Orlando asked for a waiver for a regulation that only permitted entrances to the stores from the interior of the building. The waiver will also allows entrances from the street and include a plaza area with chairs and umbrellas.

He said a catch basin planned for the property would improve drainage.

Mita told the Herald he expected to break ground for Grand South in about five years and considered it phase three of the project. Phase one, the current building under construction, will be completed in 12 months, he said.

Phase two of the project, Grand West, a smaller five floor, 63-unit condominium across Atlantic Avenue, will break ground in four years, he said.

No members of the public were present to comment on the project as compared with a meeting room full of residents in the past, meeting after meeting.

Pier 6600 Hotel will remain open until the groundbreaking for Grand South, said Mita.

He said he predicted the national economy would not improve for another two years.

The Grand is the most successful condominium in the county in terms of sales with about one-third of the units sold, said Mita.


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