Is The Beachwood Shopping Center Redeveloper Losing Interest?

No news since State Planning Commission approved township's plan in July


Berkeley officials rejoiced in July when the State Planning Commission gave its long-sought okay to the township's massive redevelopment plan.

The plan approval meant that Donato Donofrio - the redeveloper of record - was free to iron out a cleanup agreement with the owner of the dilapidated Beachwood Shopping Center and get started on the redevelopment.

But nothing has happened since then. Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. said after tonight's Township Council meeting he plans to call Donofrio to see if he still wants to proceed.

Estimates to clean up the asphalt plant behind the defunct shopping center, remove asbestos from the buildings and raze the site have ranged as high as $50 million, Amato said.

"Removal will be costly," he said.

The 142-acre site is still currently owned by Priscilla Oughton, daughter of the late James E. Johnson, who built the shopping center decades ago. While Donofrio is the developer of record, he has not signed a contract to purchase the property.

Berkeley's redevelopment plan includes the other three redevelopment areas in the township, also known as "nodes." But the Beachwood Shopping Center is ground zero in the township's redevelopment plan.

The shopping center area is part of the Town Center 1 receiving area, and runs along the highway from the township line near Mizzen Avenue in Beachwood to the C.B. Huntington restaurant, according to a real estate market analysis by Philadelphia-based Urban Partners submitted to the township.

The Town Center 2 portion of the plan includes the ShopRite shopping center and the Shar-a-Dee apartment complex.

The third portion of the project is an extension of a light industrial area along Hickory Lane. The fourth section involves more intensive mixed use development of 73 parcels along Route 9 near Harbor Inn Road, according to the report.

Come back to Berkeley Patch soon for more information on this developing story.

Robert Shepard October 10, 2012 at 06:20 AM
It wasn't built in the 1960s.
Terry October 10, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Good chance the owner of the property is holding things up. My guess it's all about money. Just sayin!!!!!!!!!!
sandy bottom October 10, 2012 at 12:05 PM
yes im sure Donato Donofrio wants it for nothing and is holding out for the town to put the presser on the owner
moonandstars October 10, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Homeowners are subject to being fined for not cleaning up their properties how come there aren't any fines being issued here to clean up this eye sore?
john October 10, 2012 at 02:00 PM
50 million to clean up .......wow that s alot of money....... what could that property be worth ?
Seymour October 10, 2012 at 03:33 PM
That abandoned property is an eyesore. It is B ayville's Main Street. It's appearance has lowered property values in the area and the Bayville, Beachwood residents should be up in arms and stage a protest. In addition there are other properties along Route ( that need to be renovated or torn down. An old Carvel stand and a gas station with a fence around it. The Mall property would be a great addition with a planned community and stores, trees and enough parking.
barb October 10, 2012 at 09:27 PM
I really would like to know if the owner IS getting fined. Does anyone know?
Keeping whats mine October 10, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Who is in whos pocket? If the Johnsons still own it make them tear it down NOW. No ifs ands or butts. Get a set Berkeley!
Random Poster October 11, 2012 at 12:11 AM
with knowing that the property in question needs to be cleaned up before any rebuilding can be done. which will coat a lot of money, i have a random idea(and hope that twp officials might read this post). why haven't the township, current land owner and potential developer all split the cost 3 ways too, at a minimum, demolish and recycle the current structures/parking area. leave the site graded with what ever sand/soil is there, throw down some grass seed incrusted hay and let mother nature reclaim the area back the way she wants, minus the dilapidated structures...a grassy field/wild life area will/should be a little more appealing to people as they impatiently speed their way up and down rt 9.. make it a grassy knoll 'so-to-speak" for the time being, then worry about how to come up with the funds toclean up/re-develop the property in a way that it benefits both Bayville and Beachwood....
Fawkes October 11, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Jason Varano had a clear plan for redeveloping this lot, and then the lilliputian Carmen Amato got elected. Berkeley got what it voted for.
Doris Cauda October 11, 2012 at 01:15 AM
If I remember correctly, this was discussed way BEFORE Varano became Mayor. He was in office for how many years and did NOTHING about that mess even though you say he had a "clear plan". Don't blame Mayor Amato who is in his FIRST term. And..stop bringing politics into everything! You must be another warped, angry Liberal. Libs are always angry.
Fawkes October 11, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Doris, I don't know what makes you think I'm a liberal - I'm actually not. I guess to you extreme right-wingers anyone even remotely objective is "liberal." Also, not blaming Amato because he's in his first term sounds remarkably similar to Obama supporters defending his miserable administration. Sounds like you need a reality check. To address the main misinformation of your post, it was Varano's efforts that got a plan going in the first place. These things take much longer to put together and get going than most people (you included, apparently) think. What takes very little time is to derail a plan, whether it be by incompetence (which is what I believe is at play here) or malice.
Jon October 11, 2012 at 06:18 AM
And Varano was in office for how long and what did he do? Oh yeah, raised my taxes as he drove to his Trenton job, I almost forgot :)
Just another day October 11, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Oh come on....Think before you post. DD doesn't want to pay $50 million dollars to clean up this toxic mess. Would you? I would bet the property owner Priscilla Oughton wants a mint and stiff anyone possible with the clean-up costs. I'll also bet Berkeley would've taken the property via eminent domain long ago but they also don't want to be stuck with the clean-up costs either. Something tells me there is something political, a back door deal with Priscilla Oughton and the township or this would've been a done deal many many years ago.
Just another day October 11, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Yes blame Varano, yes blame Amato and YES blame every mayor since the 60's to current. They all should share the blame for allowing this eye sore to continue to stand. Then jail Priscilla Oughton for being the criminal pollutor.
Patricia A. Miller (Editor) October 11, 2012 at 11:28 PM
No summonses have been issued yet. If and when they are, we will write about it.
Joe October 14, 2012 at 09:57 AM
The enitire JOhnson family has been very difficult to deal with over the years.
Keeping whats mine December 20, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Varano was too far up the Holiday City butts to care anything about "Bayville". Say what you will, the truth has hurt this town.


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