The “coming soon” sign may now have been up for a while, but officials assure that progress is being made at the former Foodtown site on Route 70 in Brick.
The site, which has been vacant for the better part of the last 20 years, is going to be redeveloped with a sports dome in the rear of the property and a retail complex in the front. Earlier this month, the township council approved an agreement that allows each business to be accessible by way of the other, a necessity for them to operate. The holdup in shovels breaking ground, however, is mainly due to the myriad permits required by state, county and local government agencies.
Mayor John Ducey said the Ocean County Planning board is now reviewing a deed that was prepared by an attorney, and permission is still needed from the Ocean County Soil Conservation District as part of a larger state permit under the Coastal Areas Facilities Review Act, known as CAFRA.
Additionally, the project was recent the subject of a hearing before the Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority. The authority “had some questions” about the project that are being resolved, said Ducey, and once those resolutions are complete, the sewerage plan for the site must be approved by the Ocean County Utilities Authority.
The CAFRA approval application was submitted July 5, Ducey said, and because of the site’s unique location off a state highway, next to Forge Pond and across from the Metedeconk River, reviews must be conducted by the state DEP’s wetlands office and the flood hazard office.
The good news is that the state Department of Transportation gave its approval to the project, and the minor – yet very necessary – agreement on cross-access from the front of the site to the rear has been taken care of.
“It’s another step in the process, and at least we all know we can get to the sports dome,” the mayor joked.
The approvals will almost definitely take the start of construction into the new year. Previously, township officials have said they are hoping work will be underway in the spring of 2020.
Once all approvals are in hand, both developers will write checks for $2.5 million each ($5 million total) to purchase the property outright from the township, its current owner.