Trip Brooks, the representative of Sackman Enterprises who oversees many of that company’s historic renovations of Asbury Park buildings, said Friday that Sackman went under contract in June to buy the five-story Kinmonth Building at 710 Mattison Ave. with a year’s deadline.
Besides office space, the building, built in 1911, housed the Savoy vaudeville theater. In the 1930s, movies started being shown and for many years the Savoy was part of the Walter Reade group of movie theaters in Asbury Park. Eventually, the theater went dark, as did most of the downtown until the past decade’s revitalization.
“Our plans are to take it through the approval process with the city,” Brooks said on Friday. “Our idea is to restore the old office section with offices related to theaters. We will have a production company and a Savoy Club.”
The Kinmonth Building, when purchased, will be added to Sackman Enterprises’ downtown buildings that company president Carter Sackman has bought and completed historic renovations. That list includes the Steinbach Building, the Post Building, the old Asbury Park Press Building and most recently, the 550 Cookman Building, which is on track to be completed and open with retail, apartments and four cinemas that will seat a total of 650 and include the renovation of the historic adjacent Seacoast Trust Building.
The Savoy will be a 1,000-seat theater, Brooks said, and is important in the Sackman mix for the downtown, which has been primarily residential and retail.
The city’s Arts Coalition of Asbury Park worked hard in 2005 to buy the Kinmonth Building from owner Michael Fornino but could not come up with the $250,000 required as a down payment to hold it. The price tag at that time was $5.1 million.
Brooks declined to say how much they have contracted to pay Fornino. The Neptune resident and longtime Asbury Park businessman purchased the building with partner Jerold Wagenheim in 1980.
Fornino could not be reached for comment Friday.
“I think it’s a very exciting project,” Mayor Ed Johnson said. “The Savoy is really one of the last of the historic theaters at the Jersey Shore. Asbury Park was always known for its grand theaters, which were torn down one by one.”
“To (Tripp and Carter’s) their credit, they have been methodically taking those steps and they’re taking them in one of the worst economic environments since the Depression,” said City Manager Terence Reidy said.“People come and look at the city and there’s this real legitimate sense of momentum and commitment that feeds on itself.”
Sackman Enterprises must build a new parking deck downtown as its projects are completed and the city fills up with people and cars.
“The renovation of the 550 Cookman Building has pushed the demand for the new parking, and the Savoy will push it right over the top,” Reidy said.
Nancy Shields: 732-643-4229; firstname.lastname@example.org
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