The former Foodtown property off Route 70 is going nowhere fast thanks to the latest legal maneuver by the property’s former redeveloper, Mayor John Ducey warned.
M&M Realty Partners has filed a lis pendens on the property, a formal notice that there is pending legal action revolving around the land in question pertaining to an ownership interest. A lis pendens is not a new lawsuit or claim to the property, but a notice that is forwarded to potential buyers or their financiers which, presumably, would hold up a sale on the land.
M&M filed its lawsuit after Ducey announced he was terminating the company’s agreement with the township on the basis that numerous deadlines were not met. M&M reached a stalemate with township officials after they asked to be able to build 192 condominiums and retail space on the site instead of a full-service hotel, as required by the agreement. When the township council – the only entity that would be able to change the agreement – refused to do so, no more proposals were heard from M&M.
“We’re stuck, now, in what seems like this never-ending process,” Ducey said this week, adding that there has been only minimal activity associated with the litigation since it was filed 11 months ago. “There hasn’t been much activity, the court system takes a long time.”
The filing further complicates and, will likely further delay, the township finally getting the plot of land back on the tax rolls. Brick purchased the Foodtown property in 2003. The agreement with M&M was forged in 2009 under what was then an all-Republican council. Democrats took control of the council after winning a majority in the 2011 election.
The lis pendens was filed Oct. 28, according to a copy of the document obtained from the Ocean County Clerk’s office.