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Latest News - May 2014

May 16, 2014
$2M loan may revive shuttered Union Beach restaurant wrecked by Superstorm Sandy
Source: Daily Reprter
By: Wayne Parry

A landmark Jersey shore restaurant that was demolished by Superstorm Sandy and moved inland, only to shut down when business was slow, may have a future after all.

New Jersey's Economic Development Authority on Friday approved $2 million in loans for Jakeabob's On The Bay, the bar and restaurant on the Union Beach waterfront that was smashed to bits by the Oct. 2012 storm.

Owner Gigi Liaguno-Dorr opened a new eatery in rented space last year, called Jakeabob's Off The Bay, but shuttered this March due to slow business and an inability to find financing to rebuild. The shutdown became a depressing symbol of the difficulty some businesses and individuals still have as the second summer after Sandy approaches.

Now, Liaguno-Dorr says she hopes to start rebuilding by the end of this year — 10 feet higher than before.

"We're definitely on our way," she said. "This is a good thing. But we're pretty reserved about celebrating because we've been so guarded through this whole thing."

By now, Liaguno-Dorr had hoped to have construction underway on an elevated replacement for Jakeabob's at its original waterfront site on the Raritan Bay. But a dispute with her bank over an escrow account (they applied the $453,000 from a flood insurance payout to the outstanding balance of her mortgage) used up all the money she planned to use to start rebuilding. And she said insurer Lloyd's Of London, with whom she had a $1.2 million policy, offered her $9,657 — with a $10,000 deductible. She is suing the insurer, which has declined to comment on her case.

The funds approved by the state include $297,131 in working capital and a $1.5 million construction loan from the Stronger NJ Business Loan Program, as well as a direct loan of up to $400,000 from the authority to refinance an existing mortgage

"This project is an example of the complex financial situations Sandy left in her wake and the sacrifices that so many business owners have had to make," said Michele Brown, the agency's CEO. "However, it also helps to illustrate the compassion, selflessness and community spirit that businesses have demonstrated over the last year and a half. Our team has worked hand-in-hand with this business to help them rebuild at their former location, and we are thrilled to support the return of this fixture in the Union Beach community."

Liaguno-Door is anxious for the money to arrive. But first, she said, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development has to review the loan.

She's not sure when Jakeabob's might re-open, except that it won't be any time this year.

Another $2 million in loans were approved for a Mexican restaurant in Long Branch, a motel in Seaside Park, a lumber and hardware store in Seaside Heights, and a pediatric medical day care center in Berlin Township that the state said suffered wind and water damage from Sandy.

 

 


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