A derelict, decaying building that once housed a busy nightclub will be demolished by Seaside Heights if its owner do not improve and secure the site by Memorial Day weekend, officials said Wednesday.
The former Merge nightclub, located at 308 Boulevard, has sat empty since it closed in 2012. Local businessmen John Saddy and Robert Bennett own interests in the property, and previously assured the borough that the property would be secured for safety purposes and its exterior improved aesthetically. Their plan, which raised doubts among local residents given the condition of the site, was to rehabilitate the building and either sell it or reopen a business there.
The owners made their promise to the borough in January, but no work has been completed, according officials. Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz said after months of inaction, he reached out to the contractor who is supposed to be working on the building, who told him the job is still in limbo.
“He’s not sure if it’s even worth fixing up,” Vaz said, adding that the contractor believes it could be cheaper to demolish the building and construct a new one.
The building’s roof is dotted with holes, a tarp covers one portion that is caved in and the front door is rotting. There are visible cracks in the foundation and walls.
Mayor Anthony Vaz said the agreement the borough made with Merge’s owners dictated that the township would move to condemn or demolish the structure if improvements were not completed by Memorial Day weekend.
“That’s what we said we were gonna do and we’re going to keep our word,” Anthony Vaz said.
“We had set [the deadline] by the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, and the contractor they hired said to us that his recommendation would be to demolish the property,” said Christopher Vaz. “At this point, I think we need to move forward.”
The building has already been declared an area in need of redevelopment, a precursor to condemnation. The demolition of the property would not necessarily be a taking of the property itself, however a lien would be placed on the deed in order to make the borough whole when it is eventually sold or developed.