Downtrodden Asbury Park Attracts Upscale Development

Inside the Stone Pony. Mr. Springsteen’s debut album was called “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.”

After their daughter left for college, pharmaceutical professionals Darrell and Shawn Drennan planned to sell their home in Belle Mead, N.J., but they weren’t sure if they wanted a summer beach house or a full-time residence near the shore. Last May, they got both, paying $690,000 for a four-bedroom in nearby Asbury Park. “You have the conveniences of the city,” Mr. Drennan said, “and the privileges and the beauty of the beach.”

Long considered desolate and crime-ridden, Asbury Park has transformed in recent years, luring second-home buyers—largely millennials and empty nesters who want walkable, urban living in a vacation destination. Home prices are up, a long-stalled redevelopment of the waterfront is beginning to take shape and the restaurant scene is booming: Residents have to make reservations at eateries like Pascal & Sabine even in the off season.

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