Starfield Companies was born from a vision and unwavering commitment to deliver on promises made to communities decades ago.
Starfield’s roots in reshaping and reviving neighborhoods stretches back over a decade with their leadership as executives of iStar and the Master Developer in the Asbury Park Waterfront redevelopment project, in Asbury Park, New Jersey – one of the nation's most ambitious urban-revival initiatives. Once a grand, seaside resort, Asbury Park’s waterfront had suffered decades of economic decline, characterized by numerous acres of vacant land, abandoned and underutilized buildings and desolate streets.
Starfield Companies was formed upon the recent merger of iStar and Safehold and the creation of Star Holdings (the parent company of iStar Residential). Starfield was created in part to help complete iStar Residential's redevelopment efforts in selected markets, including Asbury Park. iStar, and now iStar Residential, has been involved in the redevelopment of Asbury Park since 2006.
iStar entered the Asbury Park market in 2006 as a lender to the redeveloper of the oceanfront.
As a result of the financial crisis in 2007, the redeveloper failed to perform and meet its obligations to iStar, and the community. Sensing an opportunity for transformational change, iStar CEO Jay Sugarman, building on decades of real estate experience and more than $40 billion of transactions, made the decision to acquire the company.
Brian Cheripka was appointed to lead this enormous undertaking, with David Furgal joining shortly thereafter. Together, they brought innovative strategies to real estate development in Asbury Park. Working in tandem with some of the world’s leading architects and designers, the result was an economic renaissance that is still accelerating investment across the entire city of Asbury Park.
Understanding Asbury Park’s incredible history and unique character – from its multiple music venues like the legendary Stone Pony, to galleries and independent-minded local retailers and chef-owned restaurants, the team was instrumental in conceptualizing and implementing an unconventional, far-sighted approach to transform the City with a multimillion dollar proposal spanning over 20 projects.
Notable properties include: the town’s namesake hotel The Asbury – the town’s first hotel in 50 years, the restoration of legendary bowling alley-turned music venue Asbury Lanes and the redevelopment’s Asbury Ocean Club Surfside Resort and Residences – the long-awaited luxury residences and boutique hotel. Asbury Ocean Club condominiums sold out at record breaking prices - serving as a milestone for the City. Cheripka and Furgal also worked to overhaul area infrastructure, including $8M extension of the iconic boardwalk, new landscaping, sidewalks, street lighting and added parking along the oceanfront. The team also worked with City officials, Asbury Park businesses, cultural institutions, entrepreneurs, artists, and community groups to nurture the town’s character and help it realize its potential as an incredible sense of place.
While big promises had come and gone in Asbury Park, Starfield leadership delivered.
Since 2010, the waterfront has seen increased tourism by 300%, new residential homes, hotels, retail, and entertainment venues, and investments to strengthen Asbury Park’s tax base, creating meaningful employment, and a foundation for future economic success across the City.
Through its long-term vision, leadership and unwavering commitment, a new era was ushered in for the iconic Jersey coastline, solidifying the town as a one-of-a-kind place to live, work, visit, and invest. Going forward, Starfield’s goal is to continue to focus on strategic investments that create stability and sustainability in Asbury Park and will establish a solid foundation for the City’s future growth. We are deeply committed to preserving Asbury Park’s distinctive character, and legendary past, while creating successful and responsible development projects that will move the City forward.