WARETOWN – Nearly a year and a half after an accidental fire took down a local house of worship-turned-liquor store, the owner is finally rebuilding.
If you’ve driven along Route 9 through Waretown (otherwise known as the Township of Ocean), you might have noticed that the long-vacant plot of land is finally starting to see some development.
According to Louis Fisher, construction official for the Township of Ocean, the owner of the former Buy Rite site is in the process of rebuilding another liquor store. The owner is B&D Waretown Realty, same owner of the previous building, according to the township tax assessor.
What was once a church became a Buy Rite in 2010. The building was recognized locally for retaining its unique shape as a church once converting to a mega liquor store.
Located at 580 Route 9, the 9,000 sq. ft. retailer suffered major fire damage in June 2018.
Representatives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office told Jersey Shore Online at the time that the fire began on the outside of the building, along the east wall, just south of the entrance. Members of the Waretown Volunteer Fire Company previously said that the blaze was a difficult one to conquer given the size of the building and the high interior ceiling.
The fire was eventually ruled accidental by officials, leaving the Buy Rite a charred skeleton of its former structure.
The building remained untouched for some time and passersby could see the burnt remnants of the building in a pile of rubble along Route 9. This was eventually cleared away, leaving the property empty and ready for new use.
It wasn’t until February 2019 that the owner was given final approval to rebuild. Construction broke ground back around April/May 2019, said Fisher.
While there is no completion date set just yet, progress is being made on construction.
According to Fisher, the cost to rebuild landed in the $500,000 range.
This particular corridor of Route 9 will be seeing lots of new development with the addition of the new liquor store as well as the recently approved Cornerstone at Waretown project.
Cornerstone is located right next door to the anticipated Buy Rite at Block 41, Lot 42.01 and construction has already begun, said Fisher. Cornerstone at Waretown will consist of 55 total units, 43 townhomes and 12 affordable housing units.