Mayor John G. Ducey is proud to announce that the Township of Brick has reached an agreement on the future of the Foodtown Property. The agreement divides the property into two parcels, with one slated to be the future home of a privately developed and operated indoor recreation center and the other being for retail development. This agreement ensures that no residential units will be built on the site.
“This is an exciting and momentous occasion. The future of this property has been uncertain since the Township purchased it fourteen years ago,” said Mayor Ducey. “By reaching this agreement, we are finally moving towards the ultimate goal of having this commercial property developed privately and generating tax revenues for the township.”
This agreement is the result of good-faith negotiations with M&M at Route 70, LLC, the firm that was chosen by the previous Council to redevelop the property. Mayor Ducey terminated M&M’s agreement in late 2014. M&M later sued the Township. Following a court hearing, the sides entered negotiations and ultimately reached an agreement that was satisfactory to both sides.
The Township will receive $5 million for the sale of the property with the two developers paying $2.5 million each. All of the costs for developing the site and constructing all improvements will be paid by the redevelopers and not by the township. Mayor Ducey said that putting the property back on the tax rolls was a top priority for his administration.
The agreement divides the property into two parcels. M&M will be designated as the redeveloper for the front parcel. That will include three retail pads. The second parcel will be developed as a privately-built and operated indoor recreation center by HFZ Brick, LLC.
“An indoor recreation center has been on this community’s wish list for a long time. There have been close calls and broken promises on that front,” said Mayor Ducey. “This agreement puts the town on course to finally have a recreation center.”
The recreation center will include indoor fields for soccer, lacrosse, flag football and other sports. It will also include basketball courts as well as various rooms for birthday parties, dance and yoga studios and other activities based on residential input.
Having the property privately developed was a priority for Mayor Ducey. “The Township should not be the in the real estate business and the property should never have been purchased. It was not pristine land; it was a developed site. The potential costs for the township to develop this site or create a park would create a substantial burden for taxpayers and that is not something I would do.”
The agreement also brings to halt the legal procedures that could have stalled movement on the site for years to come. “It was important to reach an agreement and take the future of the property out of the hands of the courts,” said Mayor Ducey. “Not only could this have taken years, it could have resulted in the courts approving something we did not want on the site, namely residential units. As such I want to thank and commend everyone who worked to come to this agreement.”
Mayor Ducey sites the more than $20 million it cost to acquire and redevelop the Traders Cove property as an example of the high cost of redevelopment. “For that amount of money, the Township could have created a recreation and community center on the Foodtown site years ago,” said Mayor Ducey. “That was not the choice that was made.”
The Township Council will vote on the resolution authorizing the agreement at their May 23 meeting. Upon its authorization, the agreement will take effect immediately.
The Foodtown property was purchased by the Township for over $6 million in 2003 to stop the construction of a home improvement store.