The stigma of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” apparently dissuaded homeowners in Avalon and Stone Harbor from renting to a group of entrepreneurs who planned to film an online series about start-up companies this summer.
In February, three Philadelphia-based businessmen announced plans for “Startup Beach House.” They would rent a home for a week in August, bring in five teams of entrepreneurs to stay there and document what they created.
The project was canceled Thursday, though, after encountering too many concerns from landlords that it would somehow be like the popular but scandalous MTV reality series.
“Apparently 10 to 15 geeks in a beach house for a week is too much for the real Jersey Shore to handle,” read a post on the group’s website labeled “’Jersey Shore’ ruins Startup Beach House.”
That note, signed by creators Greg Berry, Mike Bianchini and Dave Drager, said they signed a lease for a home in Avalon in March. When the owners saw an article online calling the project “Jersey Shore for geeks,” they canceled the lease.
Creators signed a lease in April for a home in Stone Harbor, but said the same issue came up. They explained the concept in detail, but the owners still put stipulations on the rental, and the creators said they “did not want to work in such a non-supporting environment.”
When reached by email Thursday, Berry said he was disappointed by the situation but did not want to discuss it further.
“At this point, we are looking forward to the possibility of moving forward with it next summer,” he wrote.
The group had been working with Ferguson Dechert Real Estate in Avalon. Agents there declined to comment on the situation.
In the note on the group’s website, Startupbeachhouse.com, the creators also said that they “despise” “Jersey Shore,” the reality show based on eight housemates living in Seaside Heights during the summer.
“Startup Beach House” originally announced that any filming would be broadcast on the Web and not pitched as a TV show. They were seeking applicants to sign up on their website to take part in the project.
Stone Harbor Mayor Suzanne Walters said she was forwarded an email from the creators of Startup Beach House explaining that their concept would not be aired on television, and the people living in the house would largely be professionals working on laptops.
“We are doing this to promote the entrepreneurial spirit,” the email read.
Walters said it seemed legitimate and OK to her, saying the house they were looking to rent was also not far from the borough’s police department.
“It’s not a ‘Jersey Shore’ or ‘Jerseylicious’ or crazy drinking thing,” she said. “It was them trying to start a business.”
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