From coffee to contemporary: Construction begins on mixed-use project in Long Branch

Inspired by Somerset Development is turning old Inkwell Coffee House into 22-unit, mixed-use project 1 block from Long Branch beach

The mixed-use space in Long Branch has everything today’s renter could want: A mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments, private balconies, retail, parking (for tenants and guests), a private roof deck and a short walk to Ocean Avenue.

And it all comes with a nod to the past.

Inspired by Somerset Development wouldn’t have it any other way.

As one of the real estate industry’s foremost innovators in large-scale mixed-use redevelopment, Inspired was the logical choice to renovate the site of the former Inkwell Coffee House, located at the corner of Second Avenue and New Court in downtown Long Branch.

That’s why Inkwell Coffee House’s longtime owner, Anthony Esposito, approached Inspired CEO Ralph Zucker, following its closure in May 2022.

After the acquisition, Inspired filed plans for the redevelopment and secured approvals from Long Branch’s planning board in December 2022. It began the project this month.

“We recognize this site’s storied history as a local landmark for Long Branch and the Jersey Shore, and are working carefully with the township and community members to ensure we honor its past while we work toward a new and successful future,” Zucker said.

The 46,550-square-foot property will include 800 square feet of street-level retail on what will be a contemporary three-story, 22-unit multifamily project.

The construction, which aims to be complete by the summer of 2024, also aims to breathe new life into the area.

“We are excited to begin construction on this new building, which will help meet the significant demand for high-quality housing in the area while fitting seamlessly into the existing fabric of Long Branch’s West End and adding a new sense of vibrancy to this already dynamic area,” Zucker said.

For Esposito, the transformation of the building will serve as both an ending and a new beginning.

He had mixed emotions.

“While we are sad to say goodbye to such a beloved building, we are nonetheless heartened that it will begin a new chapter as an integral part of downtown Long Branch,” he said. “We are happy to partner with a highly respected and accomplished local developer in Inspired by Somerset Development, which understands not just how to create a successful building, but a property that will complement the area’s existing character and add to its status as one of the most vibrant and desirable destinations on the Jersey Shore.”