Coming Together at Junction Hall
A top priority for Interfaith’s Business Development Center Director Roger Boyce is to help create and carry out projects to sustain economic growth for Asbury Park businesses and residents.
To that purpose, both Boyce and Co-Executive Director Paul McEvily have served in recent years on the Board of Trustees at Second Life Bikes, the popular community bike store on Main Street that brings together many people in need of low cost bikes and repairs.
Executive director Kerri Martin runs safety and bike repair classes and a program where young people 12 to 18 years old can work 15 hours learning the mechanics of bike repair and then claim a bike as their own.
Two years ago, Kerri faced losing the large warehouse space she had leased at 21 Main Street when the owner decided to sell the building. The price: $750,000.
At first, the trustees tried a crowd funding campaign, raising just $45,000. Then Boyce put together an innovative partnership, pairing Second Life Bikes with the successful downtown Asbury group, Cowerks, a high tech hub looking to expand the office space leased to entrepreneurs, designers and programmers.
It worked. The two entities formed a holding company and purchased the building of 7,470 square feet, closing their loan with New Jersey Community Capital in December. Cowerks renovated the second floor mezzanine into eight private work offices and a conference room using a $240,000 loan from the NJ Economic Development Authority for their expansion construction. Coming up soon is the addition of the High Voltage Café known on the Asbury Boardwalk this past summer to have a new site in the building on the first floor.
They’re calling 21 Main Street “Junction Hall.” According to a business plan, the project “builds community for an underserved population while attracting high tech skilled population to the same venue. This creates a bridge between two groups that often are apart which undoubtedly will provide the economic and social impact needed.”
The new partnership also means that Cowerks and Second Life Bikes have a real estate stake at the city’s southern gateway and a future potential of developing the building site up to eight stories.
Categorised in: What's New