Mayor John G. Ducey and the Township Council has terminated the agreement for the redevelopment of the former Foodtown site in an effort to move the stagnant project forward. In response, M&M at Route 70, LLC, the firm chosen in 2009 by the previous governing body to redevelop the site, has filed a law suit to prevent the termination of the agreement.
“It has been eleven years since the Township purchased the old Foodtown and nearly six years since M&M was selected to redevelop the site. And yet the property remains vacant; a financial burden that cannot be allowed to continue” said Mayor Ducey. “The Council and I want to see this site developed as soon as possible. It is unfortunate that the redeveloper has chosen to sue the Township and further delay progress on the site.”
M&M at Route 70 was chosen in 2009 after submitting a proposal that included a 120-room hotel, retail space, a grocery store and two restaurant pads. After being selected as redeveloper and entering an agreement with the Township, the firm attempted to amend their original agreement to eliminate the hotel and construct a 192-unit condominium complex. They cited research that claims the market would not support a hotel.
“What is unfortunate is that while M&M has delayed and proposed condos, a developer is seeking approval to build a hotel less than a half-mile away,” said Mayor Ducey. “This demonstrates that their claim that a hotel couldn’t succeed in Brick Township is false.”
In September, Mayor Ducey sent M&M a Notice of Default as the required first step to the termination of the redevelopment agreement. Mayor Ducey cited the complete lack of progress on the site. In accordance with their agreement, M&M was to have purchased the site from the Township over four years ago and commence construction over three years ago. Instead the land continues to generate no taxes while the Township repays the debt that should have been paid off when M&M purchased the land. The Township has paid and continues to pay about $465,192.00 each year on debt service for the land and has spent $3.9 million to date due to M&M’s failure to move this project forward.
“Neither the Mayor nor the Council were in office when this property was purchased by the town or when this firm was chosen to redevelop the site nearly six years ago,” said Council President Lydecker. “We are in office now and our main priority is the best interests of our community. We want to see the property developed privately. We want to see it back on the tax rolls.”
“Six years is long enough to wait, especially when there were at least five other developers who bid to do this project. If one of them were chosen, I am sure there would be a completed project by now and we wouldn’t be dragged through litigation because we are doing the right thing for the taxpayers of Brick,” adds Mayor Ducey.