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Berkeley Township Eye Sore May Soon Disappear

If you drive Route 9 through Berkeley Township, chances are you’ve passed that dilapidated eye sore of a shopping center.  That may soon be changing as plans for a major overhaul are afoot.

Berkeley Shopping Center
Berkeley Shopping Center (Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media NJ)

It was once home to a supermarket, bowling alley and a Woolworth store.  For the last ten years, it’s become more and more run down.  The Beachwood Mall.  It sits right at the entrance to the Township from the Route 9 side and with each passing year, seems to get worse.

There are no businesses open in that shopping center with the exception of a food vendor.  The roof’s are caving in, there are exposed beams and twisted metal.  Many residents have voiced their displeasure about this and the town is actively working to knock it down and start totally fresh.

 

 

The State Planning Commission will meet to discuss the redevelopment of the plaza as a possible town center.  The Township was told they can’t move on it till the state budget is approved.  Berkeley Mayor Carmen Amato says it’s been five years in the making and they can’t wait to get started.

Amato says “it was one of my ideas when I was on the council before I took over the Mayor’s post.  We are really excited about this.  The possibilities are endless and it’s about time something gets done with the site.  It would have happened sooner but there was lots of red tape in the way.”

Amato and many other Township officials see it as the perfect way to bring in ratables and jobs to the community.  He says “we are hoping to see some box stores, small businesses, maybe some restaurants on the site.”

One of the biggest stumbling blocks will be the area known as Johnson’s Pit behind the shopping center.  The site once housed an asphalt factory and there are concerns of soil contamination.  Amato tells WOBM News, they have every intention of cleaning it up first and have already had talks with the State Department of Environmental Protection.

The meeting between the town and the state planners will take place sometime in July.

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