Officials say the roof of the former Merge nightclub on the Boulevard in Seaside Heights has collapsed, forcing the borough to seek a court order to demolish the structure.
Merge has been vacant since the end of the 2012 summer season. A fire damaged the building Oct. 21, 2012 and it sustained further damage in Superstorm Sandy eight days later. Minimal work has been completed on the building over the last six years, and the borough recently placed a fence around the property due to its safety risk. According to a copy of Seaside Heights’ court filing, construction officials noted that a wall was bulging during an inspection and vertical cracks had developed. The fences were placed around the property because the construction official could not determine “when the building will collapse.”
After waiting a year for the building’s owners, John Saddy and Robert Bennett, to make improvements, the roof collapse was the final straw for borough officials. The building has already been formally declared an area in need of redevelopment, a legal process that allows the owner of the property to improve it or the town to condemn it. If the building is condemned, the borough would likely seek proposals from prospective developers.
In addition to Saddy and Bennett, a tax lien on the property is owned by Trystone Capital Assets. All three parties are named as defendants in the borough’s court action, which requests permission from a judge to demolish the building. The motion filed by Seaside Heights’ attorney seeks summary judgment, meaning a formal trial date was not set.