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Patch.com: A New Beginning for Ocean Place
A New Beginning for Ocean Place
Ocean Place Resort & Spa holds event to kick off summer
By Christopher Sheldon
Ocean Place Resort & Spa, one of Long Branch's oldest and well-known businesses, kicked off the summer last week with an event that ushered in a new beginning for the hotel.
A celebratory event was held at the hotel, located 1 Ocean Blvd., to celebrate the beginning of the summer season with the ceremonial planting of the 72nd palm tree and the introduction of new management and a new chef.
Ocean Place Development LLC, owners of the hotel, filed for Chapter 11 earlier this year to "put a restructuring plan together" for the hotel according to hotel General Manager Brian Czechowski.
Czechowski said there were two main parts of the restructuring plan and both have come to fruition.
A new management company Coakley & Williams Hotel Management Company, based out of Greenbelt, Md., and a new equity partner, Jeffrey Fernback, president of Fernmoor Homes of Jackson, came on board in April.
Coakley & Williams will manage the hotel and Fernback will help develop a parcel of land around the hotel that ownership has been hoping to build up for years.
"We are now in the midst of putting together an updated plan for the use of the land that will be submitted to the (Long Branch) council for approval in the near future," Czechowski said.
Czechowski said Ocean Place will be in bankruptcy court in July to "make sure those two components are in place and that they are doing what they are supposed to do."
During last week's kick-off event, Coakley & Williams Senior Vice President of Operations Michael Nerlinger addressed guests and said he was happy to see the hotel get a fresh start.
"The hotel has gone through a difficult winter," Nerlinger said. "It excites me to see the property coming back to life."
Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider also said he was excited for the start of the summer season at Ocean Place and the city.
"The hotel is right in the middle of some of the best activity on the Jersey Shore," Mayor Schneider said.
New Executive Chef Michael Giletto, who started working at Ocean Place on April 29, was on hand to showcase some food that he will be serving up to hungry hotel guests.
Giletto who said he specializes in using "farm-fresh ingredients with a sophisticated twist" has been getting to know his new staff for the last month and is happy to report it has been a pleasant experience.
"I've been teaching the guys some new techniques," Giletto said. "My theory about going into a new place is that you have to work your way into it."
He made a good first impression with the grilled oysters and clams on the shell with smoky barbecue sauce that he handed out during the event.
Giletto said guests can look forward to a new menu with some unique dishes such as his personal favorite, gnocchi with sage, brown butter and pancetta.
As the final palm tree was raised and planted outside the hotel near the Tiki Bar, the crowd cheered and knew that the hotel, even with its recent hardships, would continue to be an exemplary business in the Long Branch community.