Home Government Is the Traders Cove Restaurant Deal Fair for Taxpayers?

Is the Traders Cove Restaurant Deal Fair for Taxpayers?

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A proposed bar and restaurant to be built at Traders Cove Marina in Brick, NJ. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
A proposed bar and restaurant to be built at Traders Cove Marina in Brick, NJ. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

When a new restaurant opens up next year in Traders Cove Marina and Park, will its owners be paying enough in rent to Brick Township’s taxpayers?

A number of residents – who said they were both in favor and opposed to the restaurant plan – voiced concern that the $75,000 annual rent Chefs International would pay on the site was below market rate, especially since the company will not pay  additional property taxes to the town above the lease payment.

The lease between the township and the company calls for $75,000 per year, with a 2 percent escalator each year, for 24 years. Chefs International plans on building an outdoor, seasonal restaurant on the site, which will feature dock-and-dine opportunities, fire pits and sand lounges.

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“It doesn’t make any sense, and it’s very unfair to the taxpayer,” said resident George Scott, adding the fact that the restaurant will not have to purchase a liquor license should have been considered when determining rent.

Township Attorney Kevin Starkey said the restaurant will be able to obtain a license directly from the state since they are located on publicly-owned property.

“It breaks down to $6,250 per month,” said Richie Campbell, another resident who spoke. “This restaurant is going to easily surpass River Rock and be the most popular bar in Brick. “There are businesses on Mantoloking Road that are abandoned and are commanding more of a lease payment than that.”

The lease of the property includes a unique way of calculating the $75,000 fee. While technically the restaurant will have to pay property taxes, that amount will be credited to the rent, so no matter the property tax assessment, the restaurant will pay only the $75,000 each year, Starkey said.

Mayor John Ducey the rent was determined through a comparison with the 9th Avenue Pier restaurant in Belmar, which is also leased by Chefs International at a publicly owned marina. The annual lease there is $100,000.

“In Belmar, it’s a major road, Route 35, and there are a bunch of different successful restaurants in the area that people can walk to,” said Ducey. “Because it’s not on a major road, there’s no history of a successful restaurant being that far down on Mantoloking Road, and the fact that people can’t walk there … the agreement was down to $75,000.”

Because the restaurant will not have walls, it will only be able to operate seasonally, added Ducey.

“When you do the June, July, August, September four month period, you’re talking $17,500 a month,” he said.

The $75,000 figure falls in the middle of what other bars and restaurants are paying in property taxes in Brick.

River Rock paid $47,921 in property taxes last year, the former Pilot House/Riverwatch restaurant paid $84,865, Brick House Bar and Grill paid $37,539 and Used to Be’s paid $18,781. All of those establishments are typical buildings and operate year round.

Ducey said it should also be noted that Chefs International will spend $2 million constructing the facility at the marina.


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  • Smokin

    Not going to be worth the argument..2 million to build and not going to return $ for years .

    • J W

      Oh, I doubt it. After about 4, they should break even before interest. I know what kind of business McLoones Pier House does. You’re paying for the real estate at places like this.

  • J W

    It’s money in pocket, so it’s at least going to pay off some of this boondoggle that the former mayor got us into. The rest of the real estate on Mantaloking and Adamston Roads that might be rentable for a restaurant is just pine scrub land with no water front access. It’s going to be vacant no matter what.

  • Susan LaDuke

    I love Trader’s Cove and spend lots of time relaxing and walking the park. I am in agreement that the town needs the revenue but, the current deal on the table is absurd. To agree to only $75,000.annual rent is giving this away. Especially when it includes a very expensive liquor license and no additional taxes for the lessee. I am certain they could more than double this fee and still find an interested restaurant for this prime location.
    Brick officials- don’t give away this deal….make it service the township’s residents and be profitable for all, not just a gift for the business. Was this ever open for bids?

  • Surfrider

    This area was meant for taxpaying townspeople to enjoy and bring the kids. It is nice back there. The whole argument in the beginning when they wanted to put in many many townhouse or condos, forget which, did not want to commercialize or over develop, which is what they want to do now. I want the park to remain, and so do many others! I think it is disgraceful. So much has disappeared from this area along the bridge and on barrier island it is just disgraceful ! We don’t need all this crap on the waterfront there! Dan, you should show in the rendering all the commercial docks! and boat storage, and SMALL existing parking lot…………..

  • Surfrider

    So much of the original landscape has disappeared……….