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After Condo Proposal, Officials Plot Next Move for Foodtown Site

Moore: Hotel plan will be examined again before decision is made

A proposal by a redeveloper to build 192 condominium units, 75 rental units and about 19,000 feet of commercial space at the former Foodtown site on Route 70 was met with immediate controversy after it was announced last week.

But nothing is set in stone, officials say, and the issue of how the site should be redeveloped is still up for examination.

"It's not a dead issue," said Council President Bob Moore.

Though M&M Realty Partners was selected as the redeveloper of the site, it is still owned by the township and the official redevelopment plan calls for a hotel and banquet facility to be constructed there. In order to build condominiums or otherwise change the plan for the site, the council would have to adopt a revised plan. That has not happened yet.

"This has been going on for over 12 years now, so I want something to go in there that everybody in town can take advantage of," said Moore, who acknowledged opposition to the condominium plan which played out at the council meeting as well as on Brick Patch.

"Everybody forgot about the other 200 condos going up not even a mile away," said Moore, referencing Nobility Crest, a development which will be built in the area behind the Brick Township post office on Chambers Bridge Road.

Those condominiums were originally approved as age-restricted, but that project's developer sued the township under a state law passed after the 2008 mortgage crisis which allowed for unbuilt, but approved, age-restricted developments to be converted into non-age-restricted developments. The township eventually settled with the developer to drop the age restriction in return for fewer units being placed at the site.

The idea of sticking with some version of the original plan for the Foodtown site – a hotel and banquet hall – is not off the table.

"If a hotel is not financially feasible, we need to sit down with the redeveloper and renegotiate the terms of the contract so a hotel does become financially feasible," said Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis, who said his administration will review any proposed changes to the redevelopment plan.

Business Administrator Scott Pezarras has said that studies which declared the hotel project as being infeasible were based on a full-service hotel. Some have wondered whether a smaller hotel and banquet hall could be a workable option.

Ultimately, while the administration can weigh in, the decision on the plan will remain in the hands of the township council.

Moore said blueprints for a hotel, at some point, had been drawn up, and they should be reviewed.

"I personally want to see the drawings in my hands. I'm a contractor, so I know how blueprints will play out," he said. "If the big shots say, 'listen, it's not going to work, there's no way and I guarantee there's no way,' then I can see that. But some people say it might work out well."

Acropolis pledged his cooperation in working with the township council to reach a workable solution.

"I'll work with the redevelopment entity [the council] to make sure they encompass the things we originally wanted in this plan," said Acropolis.

What's for sure is the fact that the debate over the future of the site will continue for now.

"Nothing's going to happen overnight," said Moore.

rainbow87t February 02, 2013 at 07:36 PM
My almost 14 year old daughter has said, "Why don't they build an indoor sports complex like the one at Goodsports in Wall?". Goodsports is fun and makes plenty of money, I am sure, with its indoor sports leagues, training/lessons, birthday/sports parties and summer camps. Why not keep the money right here in Brick, instead of driving up the Parkway to spend it in Wall Twp.? Nothing against Wall, but Brick Township and its residents could benefit, in monetary and healthful ways if there were a place in our own backyard.
clamdigger February 03, 2013 at 12:36 AM
foodtown went in the crapper because it was too old to do anything with after the shop rite went in, that was the nail in the coffin or them. now the property is $7M...add in any construction costs you're talking huge $$$ and any investors will want an immediate return, not wait for decades to start reaping rewards on a strip mall leases. no family run business will be able to make it there, anything corporate will be a big gamble. a professional medical plaza would go over real well there,possibly a state of the art surgi center.
Dhanson February 09, 2013 at 04:09 AM
What is the next public town meeting for foodtown discussion We all need to go!
BrickGuy February 12, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Beautify Brick/Friends of Forge Pond... Katherine Lockwood & Mike Morton will be holding a meeting at 7pm [ALL ARE WELCOME] @ the Brick Diner [formerly the Ocean Queen] on Rt. 70, next to the Jersey Paddler. Discussion for the evening will be the Foodtown property. [906 Route 70 Brick, NJ 08724]
can't say who February 17, 2013 at 06:22 PM
There was a reputable scrap dealer who wanted to tear down food town FREE FREE FREE. The cost of steel would have put a handy profit in his pocket. If it comes to M&M trying to screw the township, M.G. will be willing to testify of the worth of the steel. M&M would have to submit scrap revenue and let the town see how much they made.

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