Following a lengthy lawsuit filed by M&M Development LLC against Brick Township a settlement has been reached and the former FoodTown property on Route 70 has a brighter future.

 

The developer sued Brick over a termination of contract in 2014 and brought the township to court over the matter.

Mayor John Ducey says the reason the contract was terminated because no work was getting done.

"We were stuck in a lawsuit because we terminated the contract because the person didn't build anything," said Ducey. "Now we've settled the lawsuit."

He adds terms agreed upon within the settlement resulted in M&M LLC building retail stores on a parcel of the land where the FoodTown once stood on Route 70 in Brick Township.

"The retail...that was apart of the settlement, you have to live with it," said Ducey. "I know there's going to be great stores there because the developer has a great reputation for putting tenants in his properties that are sustainable tenants."

Plans are still in the preliminary discussion for what stores will end up opening up in this new plaza.

"We haven't heard anything about what businesses will go in," said Ducey. "There's just what they call 'three-pad-sites' and they didn't do a lot of work because until the contract was approved with the council (which they did on May 23), they didn't want to do a lot of leg work and spend money."

Brick Township will get five-million dollars in total for the land after selling it to two developers, M&M to build retail stores and HFZ Brick,LLC to build a Rec-Center.

The privately-owned property will be split into two payments, one per developer to pay back Brick Township.

Two-and-a-half million dollars from each developer for their portion of the land.

It begs the question as to why Brick Township would sell the land for a million-dollars less than they did in 2003 for a hardware store.

Ducey explains the $6,000,000.00 was more than the land's total value back then and deemed a necessity to stop a Home Depot from being constructed there.

The price they've just sold it at this year is slightly above the assessed value of $4,800,000.00 and the township actually turned down an offer of $7,500,000.00 by a developer who wanted to construct a multi-use project featuring 192 condos.

The transaction of the land relieves the township of a hefty financial burden, Ducey explains, in which the they sold to borrow the purchase price that cost them over $500,000.00 a year in interest.

Add that to its absence from the tax rolls and he estimates it may have cost them around $11,000,000.00.

On a brighter note, he says there is a buzz around town with residents eager for the opening of the Rec-Center.

"It's going to include fields for lacrosse, soccer, softball and flag-football," said Ducey. "There's going to be room for our cheer-leading squads, there's going to be ceramic studios, yoga studios and dance studios as well. They'll be all sorts of indoor activities and the developer is talking about having the indoor wave called 'the flow-rider' so people can surf year-round."

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