BERKELEY – After many years of people asking what will be built on the former Beachwood Mall property, some details finally emerged.
A car wash, three restaurant pads, and three large retail businesses are possible plans for the property, said Ron Aulenbach, director of engineering and planning for M&M Realty Partners, the redeveloper.
The names of the businesses weren’t made public since it is all just in the planning stages.
“There’s lots of interest in this site,” he said, noting that there’s a letter of intent from a car wash. Additionally, M&M has been speaking to a big box retailer. A 14,400 square foot unit would be built on spec.
“I think this is what the governing body and the residents want,” Council President John Bacchione said.
These options were discussed at a meeting that the redeveloper asked for in order to clarify some of the zoning of that parcel.
“We believe the car wash is a permitted use,” Aulenbach said. Drive-throughs are allowed, but the redeveloper wanted to make sure that a drive through car wash would be an accepted use, since the zoning was probably written with drive-through restaurants in mind.
The Township Council – which during this meeting was acting as the redevelopment authority – decided that a car wash was a permitted use in this zone. This meant that the redeveloper could skip a Zoning Board meeting, redevelopment attorney John Novak said.
In addition to that bit of business, members of the council took the opportunity to ask the redevelopers some questions of their own.
Councilman James Byrnes wants to see a bank kiosk on site. It doesn’t have to be a full bank location – since those are being closed throughout the county – but rather something for people to be able to take care of quick banking needs.
“We have three empty banks on Route 9 right now,” he said.
Aulenbach said that a 10-foot area of one of the buildings could house a kiosk.
Councilman Thomas Grosse asked if they were going to do any improvements to Route 9 since it’s already very congested.
Christine Nazzaro-Cofone, planner for the project, said that this is outside their purview.
Township planner James Oris said that the township would require traffic studies.
The potential extension of Western Boulevard was also discussed. This had been suggested by the county many years ago and would provide a route to the Garden State Parkway while skipping a lot of Route 9.
Aulenbach said that the redeveloper would build their portion of it, but it would be the second phase of the build.
The Beachwood Mall is actually on the northern end of Berkeley, adjacent to Beachwood. The buildings were closed years ago and torn down.
Berkeley’s Township Council entered into an agreement with M&M Realty Partners, a venture of two developers, Edgewood Properties and JMP Holdings.
A listing on Edgewood Properties’ website notes that there are units available from 2,556 to 14,400 square feet.