The redevelopment project that will bring an indoor sports dome, restaurant and retail to the former Foodtown site on Route 70 has been cleared by the state and now requires only minimal local approvals before construction can begin.
“The township has two separate contracts to sell the property to two separate owners,” Mayor John Ducey said at a township council meeting Tuesday night, before the governing body approved two liability agreements with the redevelopers of the property for the purposes of installing utilities.
The project has been formally proposed to the Ocean County planning board; the Brick planning board approved the project in 2019. It includes 122,800 square feet of development that will be divided between the sports facility – to be built by HMZ Brick, a holding company for the “Superdome” facilities in North Jersey – plus two retail stores and one restaurant with drive through that will be built by developer Jack Morris.
The project was proposed in 2017 when the township reached the agreement with HMZ and Morris, ending litigation that was previous brought against the township by Morris after Ducey terminated the company’s contract after years of inaction and an attempt to build apartments at the site. After the new deal was reached, years of regulatory red tape ensued, primarily due to the fact that the development is located next to a tidal waterway (Forge Pond and the Metedeconk River) and along a state highway. Those hurdles have now been crossed, officials said.
“We are through with the NJDOT, we are through with the NJDEP,” said Ducey.
Now, he said, the fate of the project is under local control. The final two steps are obtaining approval from the Ocean County Planning Board, largely a formality over the use of utilities, and the Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority, regarding water and sewer.
Ducey said plans call for stormwater runoff from Brick Boulevard to be commingled with on-site stormwater, treated to remove pollutants and then discharged into Forge Pond.
The bodies are expected to take the issue up at meetings in the near future.
“This thing is ever-so-close,” Ducey said.