TOMS RIVER – Putting ink to paper officially put the Red Carpet Inn into the township’s possession today.
The property, located at 2 West Water Street in downtown Toms River, was acquired after negotiation with the owner. Kartik Patel, the sole managing member of 2 West Water LLC, the corporate owner, signed over the property.
Earlier this year, 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.
The town wanted to buy it 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. The town is trying to renovate the downtown area and that property is a big part of it.
The motel is apparently closed for business. Once the township takes possession of it, they will change the locks, and try to keep trespassers out, business administrator Don Guardian had said.
“Because it is so close to both Water Street and Rt. 166, it becomes prudent for us to have an engineering firm determine that the building can be torn down without affecting the roadways or bridge,” he said.
Once the building is knocked down, the plan is for the property to be used as a parking lot for now, he said.
“The acquisition of this property is important for a number of reasons,” Mayor Thomas Kelaher said. Not only does it eliminate an eyesore and a police problem, but it will now enable us to begin our long range plan to redevelop downtown Toms River with new businesses and apartments.”
The move was cheered by Alizar Zorojew, executive director of the Downtown Toms River Business Improvement District
“This move sends a major signal to businesses, developers, and residents that Toms River is serious about refining its downtown and better utilizing its waterfront,” he said.