iStar restored and reopened Asbury Park’s beloved Asbury Lanes in May 2018. The building was in poor condition with structural and mechanical issues, which included a crumbling roof. After first purchasing the building in 2013, iStar worked with local partners to keep the venue open. Unfortunately, by fall 2015, the building was in considerable need of a complete renovation and needed to be closed for repairs. With the help of Anda Andrei, and the design team from Bonetti Kozerski, iStar set out to re-imagine this important venue. iStar’s goal was to preserve the unique character of the original Asbury Lanes while bringing it back to life with a modern twist that would elevate it to a national stage. Recognizing its significance to the local community as an independent music venue, iStar partnered with renowned entertainment booking agent, The Bowery Presents, to bring both national and local acts to the Lanes.
Based on the strength of their partnership at The Asbury, iStar selected David Bowd and his team at Salt Hotels to handle Asbury Lane’s daily operations. In conjunction with the venue’s opening, Salt Hotels hosted another session of their job-training program, Salt School™. There were 120 local participants in the program. From the program, nearly 100 local residents were hired to work in part-time and full-time positions at Asbury Lanes.
The immediate success of Asbury Lanes hasn’t gone unnoticed. Condé Nast Traveler has heaped praise on the renovated venue, saying, “Your summer in Asbury shouldn’t be complete without visiting the newly renovated Asbury Lanes… It’s a hallmark of Asbury’s ongoing revitalization, and it seems like a hell of a lot of fun.” iStar partnered with Bruce Springsteen, Portugal. The Man and Tangiers Blues Band for a special performance to re-open the venue. A select number of tickets were given to the local community through a lottery. iStar also donated to the local Boys & Girls Club. At the opening celebration of Asbury Lanes, Bruce Springsteen told Variety, “We didn’t know if we would ever see Asbury come back or not in our lifetime, so it’s been a joy watching what’s been happening in town over the past 10, 15 or 20 years.” All proceeds from the Grand Opening of Asbury Lanes went to the Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County, helping to solidify Asbury Lanes identity as a place where the community comes first. Since then, the team at Asbury Lanes has continued to be a leader in bringing the community together. In memory of the late Brian Holland (an employee at The Asbury and a resident of Asbury Park), Asbury Lanes created a talent show to raise money for Garden State Equality Ball, raising $30,000 at the inaugural event.
Beyond restoring a building with cultural and community significance, Asbury Lanes contributes to the overall economic well-being of the City. The venue has created 45-50 permanent jobs and generates $60,000 in annual property tax revenue.