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Sandy’s coming meant ‘all of the rules changed’ for N.J. architecture firms Projects in pipeline may need re-evaluation

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Business had been improving for Stephen Carlidge's architecture firm since more than a year before Hurricane Sandy. That meant his pipeline was being replenished with both residential projects and commercial projects, like a parking garage near a boardwalk in Monmouth County.

“And then the storm hit, and all of the rules changed,” said Carlidge, founder of Shore Point Architecture, in Ocean Grove.

For the parking structure, which is part of a larger mixed-use development, Shore Point had incorporated flood gates well before the October storm, he said — “you can design an underground parking garage to be essentially waterproof. That's not that unusual.” But with new federal flood elevation rules still somewhat in question, the project's developer has hit the brakes for now, he said.

“Rather than push too aggressively, everyone is just kind of sitting back and letting everything shake out, in case there are any changes to the rules that are going to affect how they approach this,” Carlidge said, declining to name the developer.

He also noted that the project is still not in the so-called “V zone” that encompasses buildings at the highest risk for flood — even after the federal government expanded the zones in Sandy's wake. But the developer is still cautious about financing the project if the maps end up changing, Carlidge said.

“So in that sense, it's actually put the project on hold,” he said.

E-mail to: joshb@njbiz.com
On Twitter: @joshburdnj

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