A meeting place for Millville By the Sea

Date Published: 
May 2, 2014

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Company representatives and local officials gather with the giant scissors used to cut the ceremonial ribbon opening Millville By the Sea’s new amenity center. Pictured, from left, are: Steve Maneri, Millville Town Council; Doug Smith, president of Miller & Smith; Debbie Rosenstein, vice president of Christopher Companies; Chuck Ellison, vice president of Miller & Smith; Joan Bennett, Millville Town Council; Gerald Hocker Jr., Millville mayor; Dale Hall, vice president of Miller & Smith; Gary Willey, former Millville mayor; and State Rep. Ronald Gray (R-38th).Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Company representatives and local officials gather with the giant scissors used to cut the ceremonial ribbon opening Millville By the Sea’s new amenity center. Pictured, from left, are: Steve Maneri, Millville Town Council; Doug Smith, president of Miller & Smith; Debbie Rosenstein, vice president of Christopher Companies; Chuck Ellison, vice president of Miller & Smith; Joan Bennett, Millville Town Council; Gerald Hocker Jr., Millville mayor; Dale Hall, vice president of Miller & Smith; Gary Willey, former Millville mayor; and State Rep. Ronald Gray (R-38th).Residents of the Millville By the Sea development achieved an enhanced sense of community this week with the debut of their Lifestyle Center. The main clubhouse and exercise center opened with an April 26 ribbon-cutting. When finished, the “campus” will also include a crab shack pavilion, pool and pool house.

Although a brutal winter didn’t help construction timetables for Miller & Smith, the McLean, Va., developer aimed to build what people would use.

“We tried to identify what was important to residents. [They] wanted an opportunity to … socialize,” said Chuck Ellison, project manager and company vice president.

That means lots of small sitting areas, from a sunny game room to a pub area with pool table and darts. People can lounge near a fireplace, bar, big-screen TV or kitchenette.

Residents crowded around to pick up their new building passes.

“It’s just like a big family gathering place, and that’s what we wanted,” said part-time resident Dave Collins. “We’ve been waiting for it. It’s wonderful. I can’t wait for the pool to open.”

An outside company will also plan this summer’s recreation, until the neighborhood social committee gets going.

Eventually, two companies will be selling homes within Millville By the Sea: Miller & Smith and the Christopher Companies, said Debbie Rosenstein, vice president of sales and marketing for the latter.

The second phase of Sand Dollar Village just opened, with Summer Wind and Lake Side Village coming later this year. Other neighborhoods have not yet been detailed for the nearly 800-acre development, which originally planned for 3,000 homes.

The housing industry had struggled beginning in 2008, but Miller & Smith picked up the Millville project more recently from a previous operation, creating a “first-class job” that State Rep. Ron Gray (R-38th) said was appreciated.

As many of the property owners become year-round residents, Millville Mayor Gerald “Gerry” Hocker Jr. encouraged them to get to know their local representatives better.

“The Town of Millville — we’ve enjoyed the relationship we have with Millville By the Sea,” he added. “Our town staff is always available, as is the council.”