Posts Tagged ‘Aurora Hotel for sale in Ocean Grove’

The Aurora. Photograph by Maggie and Joe Thornton of Ocean Grove. Special to Blogfinger. ©

By Paul Goldfinger, M.D.  Editor @ BLOGFINGER.net

The web sites Zillow and Trulia say that a sale of the Aurora  (#6 Atlantic Avenue)  is pending after nearly 3 years for sale.    It is listed at $2.1 million, but supposedly the sale price is considerably  less than that.

Here is the Zillow link:

Aurora sale is pending says Zillow

The Aurora was built in 1890.  Ocean Grove historian Ted Bell says that the former hotel is a “national treasure.”  Below this post is a background article from September 2017 on Blogfinger.

The Aurora has 30 bedrooms, 4 floors and a finished basement.  The listing says that it has ocean views on every level and sits on 4 lots. It fronts on Surf and Atlantic Avenues and  has a driveway and a garage.  The lot size is 4,622 square feet.

Inside the building contains  6,615  square feet.  The most recent property  taxes were  $33,979 in 2014.

When the current owner bought it, he changed its legal standing to a single family home.  He became famous for flying huge American flags on both sides of his home.

The word on the street says that a developer will buy the historic building and turn it into 4 luxury condominiums.  Such a plan would require all sorts of approvals at the local level and at the state.  Hopefully this idea is just an unbelievable rumor, but the history of Neptune Township in Ocean Grove suggests that anything could happen, legal or not.

The first issue that comes to mind is that the HPC would never let this building be altered in a major way, and a multifamily condo conversion would be illegal from a zoning perspective.

The second thing is that there would be essentially no on-site parking, so it’s not likely that the  State Site Improvement Advisory Board would ever give this project a “special standard” to make it exempt from the law.

But, if the rumors are true, the public must be told which officials and realtors reassured the prospective buyer;  and what contingencies are built into the offer. We all have a stake in enforcement of the law and protection of our town’s precious architectural history.

Your comments and speculation are welcome below, but remember that so far we have no facts on the table other than that a buyer has been found and the sale is “pending.”  Maybe that buyer has a big family like the current owner.






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January 23, 2018.     This article was posted 4 months ago and is relevant today because of the latest news.  Read it for background.

The Aurora in Ocean Grove

The Aurora in Ocean Grove. 6 Atlantic Avenue.  Internet photo.


Aerial view of the Aurora. Source: Zillow


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger   (updated post from 2013)

The Aurora on Atlantic Avenue in Ocean Grove, NJ is listed as a single family home. It sits on 4 lots with ocean views from 3 levels (and the top.)  The house is still for sale—since 2013.

Built in 1884 , the Aurora  has a garage and room to park several cars  (or maybe two Bentleys).

This grand old hotel is considered a major Victorian historic treasure even when compared to the rest of the country  (per historian Ted Bell.)  It became even more renowned when the current owner converted it to a single family house.  It cannot be changed  back into a hotel.  If you buy it, you will need a few more bathrooms.  We are told that it needs a lot of work inside.

The Aurora Hotel when it was a hotel. They say that Broadway celebrities liked to stay there. (Source–Zillow)

The Aurora is perfect for the man who has everything, including more than one wife; or a playboy with lots of playmates.   And, in case you are wondering if there is enough room, the Aurora also has a finished basement.

So, even though the price has been reduced substantially and seems to be a relative bargain, the issue is what can a buyer do with it?   The current owner purchased the property because he wanted room for his large family, but 30 bedrooms?  That would be one bathroom for 6 bedrooms, which has the potential for some family warfare.

So what would a new owner do with this huge property?

Other uses, besides a single family  house, are technically prohibited because of zoning, including a hotel, a drug rehabilitation facility, a casino,  a brothel, a frat house, a dormitory for Yeshiva students, a rooming house for Camp Meeting religious tourists, a multi-family condominium, a school, or a rooming house.  You cannot rent rooms in Ocean Grove—so Airbnb is out.  And there is no parking for more than 4 cars.

Of course, creative zoning without on-site parking is part of the Ocean Grove/Neptuner culture.  How about Mary’s Place where two single family houses were supposed to go?  It is now a  spa/respite shelter for female cancer victims.  It is officially a single family house with 10 bedrooms.

The Mary’s Place  precedent might work for the Aurora. Turn that into a shelter for some victim group.  The Neptune Zoning Department has proven itself to be very creative under Bernie Haney. They were the ones who found a solution for Mary’s Place, not the Planning Board.  There’s a lot of money going into drug rehabilitation these days.  Del Ray Beach in Florida is such a place.

And how about the Grand Atlantic Hotel which was turned into a home for nuns?  What kind of zoning legerdemain made that happen?    And what kind of zoning allowed Grove Hall to become a conference center/65 room hotel for  visitors to use while attending religious based conferences?

Or consider the North End Redevelopment Plan which was supposed to consist of 25 single family Victorian style houses, but now the plans, after major zoning changes,  consist of 165 residential units including condominiums, an underground garage,  and a hotel.

And then there was the Surf Avenue House conversion into condominiums without parking.  That hotel was officially listed as a single family house before the owner got the designation changed to “hotel” so it could  go condo.    And how about the the Manchester Hotel which was to go condo until it burned down.

That’s the problem with precedents.   The double standards and favoritism in town create precedents.  What’s to stop the Aurora buyers from tapping into the same sort of special treatment?


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