TOMS RIVER – The Red Carpet Inn, which was closed down by township officials for numerous violations, is likely to be demolished toward the end of summer, officials said.
Purchased in November, the property is located at 2 West Water St. in downtown Toms River. In 2018, the town authorized a $4.8 million bond ordinance. Of this amount, $3.3 million would go to purchase the property, and the rest will go toward remediation.
At the May 28 meeting, the Township Council awarded a contract to Site Enterprises Inc. for the demolition of the hotel, in an amount not to exceed $345,000.
Township engineer Robert Chankalian estimated that the demolition could be as soon as the end of July.
There are a lot of difficulties in bringing down a building of that size because it is so close to West Water Street, and the bridge over the Toms River.
Business administrator Don Guardian said in its place there will be a landscaped area, with a berm. This would help flood mitigation in the area. Some of the lowest downtown businesses had several feet of water in them after Superstorm Sandy. Also planned for the spot is parking and kayak storage. A part of the property will likely be taken off to improve the movement of traffic in the area.
Removing this hotel is part of the township’s redesign of the downtown area to include street-level shops with several floors of apartments above them, plus transportation and recreation amenities.
The town purchased the Red Carpet because of a history of drug use and prostitution there. Officials once said that it had been visited by police 750 times over the course of two years. In November 2017, police filed a public nuisance charge against the hotel for knowingly conducting or maintaining a location where illegal activity takes place or by creating conditions that endanger public health or safety.
It was one of three run-down hotels that have been closed recently. Another is the Parkway Motel, formerly the Americana, located at 925 Route 166. The living conditions were considered unsafe due to mold, electrical hazards, trash, pests, and parts of the ceiling missing.
Yet another is the Pine Rest Motel on Route 37. The electricity was shut down and the hotel and cabins on the property were deemed uninhabitable.