Seaside Heights borough council members voted unanimously Wednesday night to declare the site of the Travel Inn motel, formerly known as the Travelodge, as an area in need of redevelopment, the first step in what will likely lead to the demolition of the building and new construction on the lot where it currently stands.
The council acted after the borough’s planning board threw its support behind redevelopment at a hearing held last month.
“They’re going to tear the whole thing down,” said Mayor Anthony Vaz. “It’s going to improve the complexion of the entrance and exit from town.”
Located on Bay Boulevard near the intersection with Hamilton Avenue, the motel has seen better days. Last year, the motel was operating under the Travelodge brand and was referenced in a widely-circulated Star-Ledger newspaper article that identified it as being one of the borough’s motels in which at least one sex offender was being housed as part of a county-run housing program for the homeless. The article quoted the offender as saying he was employed as the motel’s night watchman. Shortly after the article, the Wyndham Hotel Group – owner of the Travelodge brand – ended the location’s franchise agreement.
Since last year, the building has a new owner that wishes to redevelop the property, Vaz said. That developer is interested in building new housing for senior citizens. The units will be age-restricted and income-restricted, likely to seniors who earn $60,000 per year or less.
“Seaside Heights citizens will have the first shot,” at moving there, Vaz said.
The final design specifications of the new construction will require the customary approvals from the planning board, and permitting.