The Solution Center in Seaside Heights
Ocean County homeowners are excited about the opening of The Solution Center, also known as The Smart Center, in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
Seaside Heights is part of the Jersey Shore barrier islands that were damaged severely during Superstorm Sandy. As of early April, many homeowners and business owners are still displaced and unsure of what steps to take to get back into town and resume normal life.
The Solution Center in Seaside Heights
The Solution Center, appropriately named, is headquartered in The White Pearl Hotel in Seaside Heights. On the ground floor, Home Depot has opened a Home Depot Showroom to assist with the recovery efforts on the island. The Home Depot Showroom in Seaside Heights is the first ever satellite Home Depot opened in a storm-ravaged area. The Seaside Heights Home Depot will be a showroom that will also serve as a place where customers can order anything they want and have it delivered from one of the main Home Depot stores in Brick, Lakewood, or Toms River.
The Solution Center at the White Pearl Hotel is right in the center of one of the hardest hit areas by Sandy, and the prominence of the bright orange Home Depot signs will only help draw people to the building. Of course Home Depot is in a fantastic position to maximize their market share in the area, but they are also providing a much needed service to victims of the storm. Without the Home Depot Showroom, residents and business owners would have to travel across the bridge to get what they need. This store saves them the trip over the Barnegat Bay.
In addition to The Home Depot on the ground level of the hotel, it is rumored that The Solution Center will serve as satellite offices for professional contractors and providers of ancillary services such as engineering and surveying. The hotel will also likely be home to a law firm, an engineering firm, and other specialists.
The idea is to make The Solution Center into a one-stop shop for finding reliable, up to date information about rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy. Even nearly six months after the storm, people are still searching for the right answers. There is a lot of confusion about how to file an insurance claim, what type of insurance claim to file, and how to proceed with the additional dozens of steps in the process, all the way through to hiring a contractor and actually getting a certificate of occupancy to move back into one’s home. These are all of the same questions to which Rebuild New Jersey is also trying to provide answers.
A big question that many homeowners have is what type of adjuster to hire. The insurance company will always send an adjuster, but the homeowner or business owner must remember that this adjuster works for the insurance company, and his or her job is to limit the capital outlay of the insurance company, not to act in the best interest of the homeowner. Two other options are to hire a public adjuster or engage with a law firm that has in-house adjusters to act in the best interest of the homeowner. Both of the latter work on a contingency basis and take a percentage, often 25-50%, of the successful claim.
These are just some of the daunting questions for which homeowners are still searching for answers. In an ideal world, The Solution Center in Seaside will attract homeowners who are looking for information and guidance. The professional firms that have their offices set up in The Solution Center will offer their assistance and point people in the right direction. Then, the homeowners or their contractors can go right downstairs to The Home Depot Showroom to start getting what they need to rebuild.
A big problem with Seaside is that there is so much more than meets the eye. To a casual visitor driving through the streets, they may not look as bad as Mantoloking or Ortley Beach (and they in fact are not), but what many people do not realize is that the insides of most of the houses have suffered extensive wind and water damage, which in many cases makes them unstable and uninhabitable.
The Solution Center is one piece of the puzzle that will eventually be a rebuilt Seaside Heights. It is a fantastic first step in providing residents with not only guidance and materials, but with the confidence and hope that they need as they being the rebuilding process.
As the Solution Center develops, we will keep this article updated with the latest news.