“The Shores” and “The Admiralty” — Oceanfront High-Rises Rule the Coast
Seeking to increase town tax ratables — then badly needed to fund a new school — the Monmouth Beach board of commissioners passed an ordinance in 1970 permitting the construction of high-rise dwellings in town. The locations approved for condominium construction were along Ocean Avenue and off West Street and soon-to-be Channel Drive.
The land on the eastside of Ocean Avenue — between today’s two beach clubs (one private, one public) — is perhaps the most prime piece of borough real estate. Starting around 1870, a group of East Coast worthy folks came to town seeking “exclusiveness” and preceded to build the most massive seashore mansions. It was there — where the modern towers now rest — that the architectural grandiosity probably started. More on Monmouth Beach “Wooden Palaces” — HERE.
Ultimately, three high-rise complexes with 500+ units were built in town — known as The Channel Club Tower, The Shores and The Admiralty. The “condominium boom” in Monmouth Beach was short lived, though; by 1972 the commissioners had reversed course and passed a moratorium on high-rise construction.
The Shores — twin-tower, 12-story buildings (both with 66 units) — opened in September 1975. Construction cost was $8 million and Avenel Boulevard, Inc. of Long Branch was the developer. Frederick Norman Fisher of Parlin, NJ was the architect. In the beginning, one-bedroom units were $48,000; a two-bedroom was $72,000.
The Admiralty — a 14-story, 162-unit high-rise condo — endured a decade of construction delays (when unfinished it was called “Skeleton”). Finally opened in 1982, it cost $24 million to develop by Cofas Associates Corp. Back then, a penthouse was $270,000 and a two-bedroom apartment was $126,000. Monthly maintenance fees started at $175. It was perhaps the last Jersey Shore high-rise condo to escape odious state CAFRA construction regs set in 1973. It started out as the “Seacoast Towers.”
Opened in 1973, the Channel Club Tower, an 18-story, 222-unit high-rise near the Shrewsbury River banks, is the granddaddy of them all; with its own photo section — HERE.
Today, about 40% of the Monmouth Beach population lives in multiple-family units (or condos). In addition to the three big tower complexes, others include the Wharfside Manor, Monmouth Commons, Breakwater Cove, and Sands Point North and South.
The images below are devoted to the town’s Ocean Avenue high-rises: “The Shores” and “The Admiralty:”
Today — the Monmouth Beach coast looking south, September 2022.
Sea Side-by-Side — “The Shores” and “The Admiralty” high-rise condos, 2023.
Ocean Avenue looking north from Valentine Street, 1902. All of the “cottages” on the eastside of the road are gone. Replaced by two oceanfront high-rise condos.
Side-by-side along the Monmouth Beach shoreline — “The Admiralty” and “The Shores” high-rise condominiums, 2016.
Monmouth Beach coastal high rises, 2000s.
Monmouth Beach coastal high rises, 2018. About 500 yards of extraordinary territory resting between Beach Road and Surf Road.
Monmouth Beach coastal high rises, 2018. (Frank E. Snead Photo) The MB Club is just south although unseen.
Heading south on Ocean Avenue in a wind storm, Fall 2021.
Monmouth Beach summer sunrise, 2021 (Helen McAndrew Photo).
Dusk along the Monmouth Beach coast and towers, 2017.
Autumn along the borough coast, 2022.
Monmouth Beach coast after a snow storm, January 2022.
Ocean Avenue high rises, 2018.
“Tower Power” in Monmouth Beach — An odd photo angle shows all three borough high-rise condos together, 2016.
First Monmouth Beach oceanfront high-rise sketch proposal, December 1970.
Get Going — High-rise condo construction along the oceanfront, early 1970s. It’s probably The Shores, which broke ground in September 1973. The MB Club is in the background (Louis Tsakiris Photo).
MB Club beach, 1974. The infamous “skeleton” is to the south. Later to be The Admiralty high rise when finished in 1982.
School & Skeleton — The unfinished oceanfront high-rise is visible in the background during the borough’s American Bicentennial celebration in Griffin Park, July 1976.
“Skeleton Shame” — The building project was abandoned in 1973, Red Bank Register, August 1980. Initial developer- owners (Business Investment Group Realty Trust of Valley Forge, Pa.) had defaulted on a $5.3 million mortgage in 1976. FMC Associates of NYC would complete the deal.
The Shores twin towers artist rendering, 1973.
The Shores condo on Ocean Avenue under construction, 1974.
The Shores, 2020. Each tower holds 66-units.
The Shores, 2010s. The sales pitch: “A location at the apex of perfection — for those who demand it.”
The Shores, 2010s.
Sunset at The Shores, 2010s.
The Shores scale model, Feb. 1974.
The Shores condo next door to the infamous “Skeleton” — an uncompleted high-rise condo, late 1970s. It finally was finished in 1982 and opened as The Admiralty. It started out as the Seacoast Towers.
Beginnings of the beach replenishment project at the MBBP with The Shores in the background, 1995.
The multi-million dollar federal sand replenishment project started at MBBP, 1995 (Jack Flaherty Photo).
The Shores condo tennis court, 2018. The facility also has an indoor pool.
The Admiralty high-rise condo on Ocean Avenue under construction, 1970s.
The “Skeleton,” 1977. Today, it stands finished as The Admiralty. Construction began in 1973, was halted for many years due to unfavorable economic times for two separate owners. It was finally opened in August 1982.
The Admiralty aerial image, 2019. When the high-rise finally when on the borough property tax rolls in 1983, it was assessed at $13 million.
The Admiralty (r) next door to the Monmouth Beach Club (l), 1980s.
The Admiralty aerial image, 2020.
The Admiralty from the beach, 2010s.
The Admiralty from Ocean Avenue, 2000s.
The Admiralty, 2020.
Looking up Beach Road, Fall 2021 (Frank Snead Photo).
The MB Club with uncompleted high-rise as a neighbor, 1978.
In the Neighborhood …
Wolverton Atlas of Monmouth Beach, 1889. According to this document, about a dozen mansions stood on the shorefront grounds now covered by the high-rises.
All coastal colors are at play this day in Monmouth Beach, 2020. (Julee Bottcher Photo).
Storm waves crest the Ocean Avenue seawall, 1991.
Beach erosion along Monmouth Beach, July 4, 2020.
Beach replenishment near the condo, 2019.
Monmouth Beach aerial image, 2017.
Back Then …
Cottages on the eastside of Ocean Avenue, early 1900s.
“High Society” — Massive cottages along Ocean Avenue looking north, 1905.
Ocean Avenue summer cottages, 1907.
Ocean Avenue looking north, 1910s.
Large summer cottages along Ocean Avenue looking north, early 1900s.
Before the Towers — eastside of Ocean Avenue in Monmouth Beach where the two high-rise condos would stand, 1950s. Near the top is the old MBBP (Al Lark Collection).