An ongoing lawsuit between a real estate developer and Brick Township will go to trial next month, according to a docket schedule released by the Ocean County court.
Discovery ended last month, and a trial date has been set for Oct. 3 in the case, which centers around Mayor John Ducey’s decision to terminate a redevelopment agreement between the township and M&M Realty Partners, which is owned by developer Jack Morris.
Brick terminated a redevelopment agreement with Morris’ company after, officials said, Morris failed to meet deadlines after years of waiting for a project to be formally proposed. When the company did propose a project, it was a residential condominium and mixed retail plan, which was rejected by the township council. Ever since, the future of the plot of land, which is still township-owned, has been the subject of a lawsuit filed by Morris and a countersuit filed by the township.
Ducey’s action to terminate the agreement cited M&M’s failure to pay a required $100,000 deposit on the property, plus a number of missed deadlines that were set by a previous township council for the property to be redeveloped.
“There were six years of inaction,” said Ducey, at the time. “Even the Hoover Dam was built in less time.”
M&M never built anything at the site, nor did it ever formally submit a plan for redevelopment to the township planning board. In 2013, M&M asked the township council to change the redevelopment agreement to allow the construction of a 192 unit condominium complex, approximately 19,000 square feet of commercial space and 72 rental units over top the commercial space at the site. The council never voted to change the agreement, which currently only permits the construction of a full service hotel at the site.
M&M said a hotel was not viable there, and has sued Brick in order to retain its status as redeveloper.
No money has ever changed hands, as M&M was only responsible for paying the $7.5 million purchase price after a development plan had been approved by the township planning board. M&M did, however, fund the demolition of the Foodtown building which fell into disrepair after the store closed.
The trial is set to be held Oct. 3 at 9 a.m. in the court room of Superior Court Judge Craig Wellerson.