Plans Made For Former Foodtown Property

This is what the property looks like today. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

BRICK – Progress on the redevelopment of the former Foodtown property has been made since the Planning Board unanimously approved a preliminary site plan and a minor subdivision of the 11-acre parcel on Route 70, which has been vacant since it was purchased by the township for $6.1 million in 2003.

The site has been split, and the township will get $5 million for the property with each applicant paying $2.5 million. The project is a joint venture and is viewed as one site in terms of upkeep and parking, but would be operated by two separate entities.

Representatives for both developers attended the Dec. 12 Planning Board meeting to present their applications with architectural renderings and engineering plans for their respective projects.

HFZ Brick LLC, a group of investors from Manhattan, are behind “Super Dome South,” to be located at the rear of the property with Peter Tasca operating as property manager/developer. Tasca has experience with another sports dome in Waldwick, New Jersey, which has had “tremendous success,” said their attorney John Jackson.

The 75,000 square-foot dome would be fronted by a two-story 26,880 square foot building attached to the dome via airlock.

The building would have space for classrooms, a ballet studio, yoga classes, physical therapy, training studios, children’s birthday parties, and much more, Tasca said.

The dome would be an indoor, temperature-controlled athletic field where children and adults could play field hockey, soccer, softball and other sports, he said.

Most of the children’s programs would be held after school from 4-9 p.m. with birthday parties held mostly held on weekends, he said. Children would largely be dropped off by their parents, he added.

After 9 p.m., adults could utilize the facility where they could play lacrosse, soccer, softball, basketball and more, Tasca said.

There would also be four indoor regulation-size basketball courts with a mezzanine viewing area and a space for sand volleyball courts.

Peter Tasca will operating as property manager/developer for the sports dome portion of the project. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

The second applicant, M&M Development (Jack Morris, whose company also built Brick Costco) presented plans for three retail buildings fronting the property on Route 70: a 22,978 square foot retail building; two attached retail units of 6,400 square feet, and a separate 4,300 square foot restaurant pad drive-through.

In 2009, the township made a deal with M&M, who had purchased the property with a plan to build a hotel and banquet hall at the site.

Shortly afterwards, M&M said they had been advised by an independent consultant that a hotel was not economically feasible at that location, and proposed a new plan that included 192 condominiums, 19,000 feet of retail space and 72 apartments above the stores.

The governing body did not agree with the amended plan, so in September 2014 Mayor John G. Ducey sent a Notice of Default to the redeveloper for not meeting their deadlines and obligations, which was the first required step to terminate the redevelopment agreement.

Since that time, the township has been mired in litigation with M&M. In February 2015, the council passed an amended ordinance that residential use would be prohibited at the site.

The parties settled out of court, resulting in the split ownership of the site.

The applicants will seek final approval at a future Planning Board meeting where they would provide more details on parking and circulation, landscaping, lighting, deliveries, signage, crosswalks, passive recreational amenities, sidewalks and curbing, stormwater management, fire safety, trash enclosures and pick up, and more.

The timeline for the next meeting was not announced.