A Hardee’s fast food restaurant in Brick Township’s Bay Harbor Plaza shopping center was supposed to have marked the beginning of the burger chain’s comeback in New Jersey, but never materialized. This week, the township’s zoning board is scheduled to hold a hearing on the business that will be built in its place.
Meadowbrook Realty, owned by Michael Ferri, of Hartford, CT, will seek permission Wednesday night to build a Valvoline Instant Oil Change location on the pad site on which the restaurant was approved to be built in 2014. It is unclear why Hardee’s never opened the Brick location. Officials have told Shorebeat the site was largely abandoned after some construction began, ultimately resulting in a violation notice being issued by the township’s code enforcement officer. A message seeking comment from Hardee’s, which was rumored to been considering opening the Brick location under its Carl’s Jr. brand, was not returned.
The oil change and car maintenance facility being proposed by Meadowbrook will take up 2,111 square feet in the northwestern corner of the shopping plaza at a pad site. The building is proposed to be one story with a basement, featuring three service bays with pits below, a storage area, an office, waiting room and sections reserved for employees. A counter-clockwise drive aisle will encircle the premises.
The facility requires a use variance from the board, as automotive maintenance stations are a conditional use in the B-3 zone, where the site is located. The project also requires variances for its front yard area, side setback, impervious coverage, a parking area setback as well as three minor deviations to accommodate signage.
Wednesday night’s hearing is likely to shed some light on what caused the demise of the Hardee’s proposal. In a letter to both officials and the applicant from CME Associates, the board’s engineering firm, Meadowbrook’s representatives will be expected to discuss the history of the property, including “why the [previous] project was never completed.”
The meeting, which will be conducted via Zoom, begins at 7 p.m. and can be accessed at the board’s website.