First steps begin in what's expected to be a long process in removing the Beachwood Shopping Center in Berkeley Township. Mayor Carmen Amato Jr. said owner Priscilla Oughton is in the process of pre-demolition work and has hired a contractor for the Route 9 site. "They're in the process of removing all the materials from the building and in the process of taking the metal to a licensed recycler, he explains"

However, hazardous materials must be addressed as part of the cleanup process, according to Amato.  "Obviously the building has asbestos in it so they're going to have to get a licensed asbestos company to come in and remediate the asbestos. So that's still going to take a little time."

There is light at the end of the tunnel. Amato said he and Township Council Members have named redevelopers for the sight. "M&M Partners and Lennar Homes have together put up a $25,000 escrow account with the township, explains Amato. Our engineers, our planners, our attorneys are working on a redeveloper agreement and also we're still in the process of working with the state because we did receive plan endorsement last summer."

Berkeley officials have been holding Oughten's feet the the fire.  She's faces over $2-million in fines for fire code violations as a result of the dilapidated condition of the site that worsened after a fire that ignited during Superstorm Sandy.