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Redeveloper Of Battered Beachwood Shopping Center Backs Out

Township's immediate focus for Route 9 South eyesore is code compliance, mayor says

Thanks, but no thanks.

The redeveloper of record for the dilapidated Beachwood Shopping Center on Route 9 South has walked away from the project, Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. said.

Township Council President James J. Byrnes was informed by Donato Donofrio that he was no longer interested in redeveloping the site because of the poor economy, Amato said.

"I asked him if he's still interested, he said they are done," Byrnes said. "With the economy and the amount of money they would need to invest..."

The news was a blow to ratable-poor Berkeley and its massive redevelopment plan. The long-vacant, battered shopping center was ground zero in the redevelopment plan. It's been an eyesore on Route 9 South for many years.

"It's unfortunate," Amato said. "I know he's made a large investment already. Our main concern right now is bring the property up to code."

The site is owned by Priscilla Oughton, daughter of the late James E. Johnson, who built the shopping center decades ago. The site has been a bane to more than one township administration over the past 15 years.

Township officials recently cracked down on Oughton and sent her a letter demanding that the site be demolished and cleaned up immediately. One of the stores caught fire at the height of Superstorm Sandy.

Her lawyer fired back with a response claiming some of the damage was a result of the storm and asked for more time to inspect the site.

The township's years-long quest to have the redevelopment plan approved ended in July, when the state Planning Commission unanimously approved it.

The Beachwood Shopping Center - dubbed Town Center 1 - is just one component or "node" in the township's massive redevelopment plan. The Berkeley Plaza shopping center, which has ShopRite as the anchor store, and the land around Frederick Drive and the Shar-A-Dee apartments is designated as Town Center 2.

The third portion of the redevelopment plan is the 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.

barb December 19, 2012 at 06:53 PM
not just an eyesore but a dangerous building! someone is going to get hurt there and then the owner MIGHT do something, is that what we are waiting for? when do the fines start?? this is crazy, tear the thing down!!
Clyde December 19, 2012 at 07:15 PM
When a hunk of that tin roof blows off and slices someone's head off she might take it seriously.
Clyde December 19, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Don't codes and ordinances apply here?
barb December 19, 2012 at 07:27 PM
wonder how much she pays in taxes on this land and "building"
dniece68 December 19, 2012 at 07:55 PM
should of let it burn to the ground.....better then looking at that mess now. Of course the owner will blame "SANDY" because nothing was done to her before this....It has been a nasty place foras long as I been here (20yrs).
Josie noman December 19, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Fines should have been enforced years ago. This past summer weeds growing in the parking lot were higher than some area trees.Sandy didn't cause the damage the place has been falling apart for years evenback when Jimmy's brother was renting the land behind it for asphalt plant and he tried to keep it is shape.
stuffin December 19, 2012 at 08:15 PM
There are walmarts in tr and lacey, no walmart for you. Nobody has said anything about the old woodhaven building, That one seems to be going down the same road as the beachwood center.
Chief Wahoo December 19, 2012 at 09:22 PM
could have seen this one coming from a mile away.......nice job Amato
david December 19, 2012 at 09:58 PM
I am not in favor of towns condeming properties and aquiring, but in this case I would agree! A cleaned up empty lot or possible a temp park would be better than what it is now!!!!!
dave December 19, 2012 at 10:22 PM
put more tattoo parlors, pizza places and "we buy gold stores"
Cathy December 19, 2012 at 10:33 PM
TARGET!!!!!!!!!!! Knock it down and build a Target!!!
Random Poster December 19, 2012 at 10:56 PM
and a lowes too!!
Dixie Normus December 19, 2012 at 11:15 PM
I heard its going to be a humungous pawn shop
m.s December 19, 2012 at 11:26 PM
make it a drive in movie theater
MrSaturdayNightSpecial December 19, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Use eminent domain, knock it down, and tow away that tetanus hot dog truck and let nature reclaim the space.
Laci December 20, 2012 at 01:29 AM
"Donato Donofrio was no longer interested in redeveloping the site because of the poor economy." Wonder where he's mind set was 2 years ago since the economy has been in the sh*tter for the past 6 years. Atleast a Spirits Liquor store took over the original Toms River National Bank branch. More than sure he has interests in Spirit Liquor stores through out Ocean & Monmouth counties. He got what he wanted.
Sandra December 20, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Some of the roofing must have been removed and sold to the highest junk yard for scrap metal. This would never happen IN Beachwood. We would not tolerate it. if the Berkeley Governing Body are afraid of the owners lawyer than they need to get NEW HARD ON CODE VIOLATIONS individuals. I might just have to show up at the meetings in their town and bring it up and up and up....publicly.
Keeping whats mine December 20, 2012 at 10:58 AM
That place is the "crown stool" of Bayville. I agree with level remove and plant grass seed.
Poindexter McSmash December 20, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Maybe a township recreational center?
Joe Semiraro December 20, 2012 at 02:01 PM
The Beachwood Shopping Ctr. is a health hazard that the owner is doing nothing to address. Perhaps the Mayor can find a legal way to have the property condemned, tear it down, and sue the owner to recover the cost of demolition. The Township should not be subjugated to the whims of Ms. Oughton.
VoiceofReason December 20, 2012 at 06:23 PM
It truly is an eye sore to say the least. I partially agree with putting a Target in, but wouldn't want to take away from the small businesses, although there are few in that area anymore. Get rid of everything from the abandoned Carvel, to the bank remade into a liquor store, so tacky. Put in a restaurant or two. Something useful. Not another strip mall with an Asian nail salon, a pizza joint, a dry cleaners and tax store. Our town and the neighboring towns have become so redundant that you have to travel elsewhere to find a decent eatery and shopping center. I'm all for an outlet mall or something fun. No more trash. And while you're at it, take down that filthy dump Roy Rogers too!
VoiceofReason December 20, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Sad but true. She could care less. Shes sitting on daddys invesment and doesn't give two sh*ts about what it looks like.
VoiceofReason December 20, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Haha - Redundant Route 9 ! So pathetic.
VoiceofReason December 20, 2012 at 06:26 PM
now THAT is a great idea.
earsforward December 21, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Berkeley should tap into the brilliant business minds of the commenters. Perhaps they will invest their money on " Town Center 1 " damn the economy.
Mike December 21, 2012 at 02:15 AM
The best thing to go there is NOTHING. You know they will not do anything with the road. It is a traffic mess to go by there now, imagine if there was a Walmart or Lowes? Forget it, it would take 45 mins to get to TR. Level the place and make it a park. Be careful of what you wish for...especially if you drive on Rt. 9.
barb December 22, 2012 at 12:10 AM
someone put a fence up today! not much of one but it's a start, ty!!
seasoned-and-reasoned December 22, 2012 at 10:40 PM
"Saturday night special", how appropriate a handle for a jerk who likes to shoot his mouth off. Sounds like you're jealous you didn't have the idea, the stones or the means to open a business of your own so you criticize a family that did. Loser!
Alen James December 22, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Sandra Go to the Quick Check on Windward Ave and Rt9 and look aross the srteet. The old gas station is just as bad an eyesore only on a smaller scale. That and the empty stores are the new look of Beachwood.
Dj Alexander January 12, 2013 at 01:47 AM
Not to mention when it caught fire during the storm our first respo nders were all in danger for an abandoned building that has been an issue for years. So sad I would love to see the place knocked down and get some good small businesses up and running.

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