BRICK – Construction is moving forward on several big projects in town that were approved before the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Three of the largest projects are convenience stores/gas stations.
The first Royal Farms in Ocean County is under construction at the intersection of Routes 70, 88 and Olden Road at the site of the former Jersey Paddler. They got their final approval for the project in September 2018.
The 4,600-square-foot food store/gas station is a chain known for their fried chicken. There are 219 Royal Farms located in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and New Jersey.
Wawa will be opening at two new locations in Brick. One is at the corner of Duquesne Boulevard, opposite Target on Route 70, and the other is being built at the site of the former Laurelton Mobile Home Park on Route 88 and Jack Martin Blvd.
Construction at the Wawa at Duquesne is halted as they are awaiting their DOT (New Jersey Department of Transportation) permits, said Township Planner Tara Paxton, who had recently spoken to the property manager there.
“A lot of the DOT staff is on furlough, so it’s moving really slow, so it’s still under review at the DOT,” she said. “They need to have their permit in-hand from the DOT in order to continue with the construction.”
A Panera Bread is also planned for the site.
JSM (Jack and Sheryl Morris) at Martin Blvd LLC, has all their permits in place for a 5,051 square-foot Wawa convenience store/gas station area at the former mobile home park.
Workers are busy at the 12-acre site, which will also include a 4,535-square-foot bank, and a 7,182-square-foot retail building in which a 3,000-square-foot restaurant will be located.
Morris is the president and chief executive officer of Edgewood properties, is a well-known developer in Brick who built the Costco shopping center and who will be developing part of the vacant Foodtown site.
Plans for the former Foodtown site are on hold until CAFRA has reviewed the application. According to Township Business Administrator Joanne Bergin, the application is likely delayed due to the furlough of state employees.
The 11-acre site will be split in half, and will be developed separately, which will include a sports dome and retail space.
Construction of a smaller project – a new free-standing Dunkin Donuts building with a drive-through window at the corner of Folsom Drive and Route 88 – is moving along quickly, Paxton said.
“They framed it out last week and now they’re going to start doing the construction on the facia and the roofing, so it’s moving really fast,” she said. It should be open in the fall, Paxton added.
Also, the foundation is complete and walls are going up for the township’s first free-standing Starbucks, located in front of the Bay Harbor Plaza, inside a jughandle turn in front of the former AC Moore and Burlington Coat Factory.
The .92-acre lot was once the site of a Getty gas station. The 2,325 square-foot building will have three points of access, outdoor seating and 30 parking spaces.
The Building Department has been busy, working through Resolution Compliance on a number of subdivision and minor subdivision plans, Paxton said.
A lot of the residential subdivisions that have been approved over the past five years are being sold off as separate lots to individuals who are hiring their own contractor, and are not being built by one developer, Paxton said.
There have been a few commercial applications where the applicants have requested a time waiver to be heard at a later date that were ready to be scheduled, she said. “They want to have an in-person meeting and they don’t want to have to present over Zoom,” she said.
“It’s a lot busier than I thought it would be [during the pandemic], but it’s definitely slower than normal,” Paxton said.