Home Government Trial Begins in Lawsuit Over Brick Foodtown Site

Trial Begins in Lawsuit Over Brick Foodtown Site

14
SHARE
The former Foodtown site off Route 70 in Brick. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
The former Foodtown site off Route 70 in Brick. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The civil trial between a real estate developer and Brick Township began last week, but will take additional time to be resolved, officials said.

M&M Realty Partners, owned by developer Jack Morris,is suing the township after Mayor John Ducey terminated its redevelopment agreement after years of inaction at the site. Ducey, as well as township attorneys, claim M&M violated the agreement in numerous ways, most prominently the failure to formally propose any type of project for the plot, which previously housed a Foodtown supermarket and a Bradlees store.

In Jan. 2013, M&M asked for permission to change the redevelopment agreement it previously signed to allow 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 township council never agreed to change the plan, which currently only permits the construction of a full service hotel at the site. Ducey and members of the council have voiced opposition to additional housing units in town.

ADVERTISEMENT - STORY CONTINUES BELOW


After Ducey terminated the agreement in 2014, M&M sued in an attempt to win back its development rights for the site. The trial began Jan. 11 in Toms River before Superior Court Judge Craig L. Wellerson, Township Attorney Kevin Starkey said. The case is being heard as a “bench trial,” meaning no jury is present.

Wellerson, after a day of arguments, asked the two parties to settle the case out of court and seek mediation if necessary. If attempts to settle do not produce an agreement, both sides will return to court and Wellerson will be tasked with delivering a decision.

What Should Be Built at the Former Foodtown Site?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Brick bought the site in 2003 for $6.1 million after Foodtown closed. M&M, under the agreement, would have paid Brick $7.5 million for the site when they received final approvals to build there. M&M paid for the demolition of the old Foodtown building but had not paid the township for the property, which remains under municipal ownership, since they never broke ground on any construction there. Brick has been unable to find a new developer while the matter is in litigation.

β€œThe redeveloper signed an agreement with the township and wants to change the terms of that agreement to something that we find unacceptable, primarily more residential development,” Ducey said at the time of the termination of the agreement. β€œThis has brought any progress to a grinding halt.”

Should the lawsuit not be settled, the matter could remain before Wellerson for an extended period of time. Starkey said judges often hear arguments in bench trials intermittently when the court calendar allows.


SHARE
  • Patrick Brennan

    Yeah because we need ANOTHER hotel in Brick 2 miles away from the other one on Route 70

  • Mike Morton

    A full service hotel probably isn’t feasible; the study done by Morris in 2012 concluded a full service hotel with catering facilities is not financially feasible. HOWEVER, a mid-scale hotel like a LaQuinta or Holiday Inn Express could work due to lower cost structure/ If the Marriott on Rt. 88 is dead then this could work. .

    • Smokin

      Let LaQuinta have first change since Holiday Express is just up the street give people a choice..

  • Mark Story Jenks

    Much of the former building was ground up and dumped in the concrete recessed loading dock that was in the back side of the slab.
    It’s still there. You don’t notice it unless you walk up and take a look.

  • Glenn

    Anything, other than residential, that will generate tax revenue.

  • Make America Greater

    Leave this site open space.
    Why are we paying an open space tax?
    Keep this site undeveloped.

    • KaayC

      We have that wide open space between the politicos’ ears?

  • KaayC

    We need what was once there – a food store! Walmart for North Brick a total joke. My food shopping dollars currently going to Pt. Pleasant and Wall.

    • Jerseygal

      While I agree – I too shop in Wall and Point – I would rather see a foodstore in an existing structure such as the old Pathmark and a park on the foodtown site due to the close proximity to the Forge Pond.

      • KaayC

        You make a very valid point.

    • Mike Morton

      According to Mayor Ducey there will be a grocery store coming to the old Pathmark store. The owner is in negotiation with 2 chains so an announcement is expected soon.

      • KaayC

        Yes, I am aware. We were also told a hotel would be coming – several years ago on the old Foodtown site. Nothing is ever definite- political time and real time do not seem to jibe.

      • Mike Morton

        You’re right that nothing is ever definite, especially when politics is involved. In this case however, I feel more confident since we have a shopping center owner looking to fill a big, vacant hole in the middle of the center.

  • Jerseygal

    A park would be so nice !