Acquired by the borough in Oct. 2022 for $1.1 million, a derelict motel and single-family home which share a single odd lot in the middle of a residential neighborhood will be demolished.
The borough council on Wednesday voted unanimously to solicit bids for the demolition of the two structures on the property – one, a a single family home located at 229 Franklin Avenue, and the other, an eight-unit motel/apartment complex that stands literally in the backyard of the home.
Last year, the state provided the borough with a $1 million grant to fund the demolition of private properties – residential or commercial – in town that qualify as blighted or are otherwise in disrepair or a safety risk. Those funds will be utilized to take down the two structures.
“We do own the property at this point – we’ve owned it for four or five months,” said Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz. “All of the tenants are out. They agreed to sign an agreement to be out by Saturday and they have all been vacated.”
Indeed, just several weeks ago, there were people present in the building when a Shorebeat reporter took photographs of the site – specifically, both children and adults had been occupying an upper-floor unit in the decaying building, flanked by Christmas lights running across the living space as seen from the ground.
That situation has been abated, however.
“Billy [DPW Commissioner] and DPW went there on Monday and boarded the building up,” said Vaz.
Vaz said the estimates for the demolition of the structures came to between $110,000 and $120,000, beyond the state’s legal bidding threshold. Therefore, a formal bidding process must be undertaken instead of a negotiated price with a local firm.
“We’re going to have to do a formal bid specification,” said Vaz. “We’re working to create the redevelopment plan, so when we’re ready to sell it, it’ll have a plan to goes with the sale.”
The property was approved by the borough’s planning board to become a formalized area in need of redevelopment under state land use law. This allows the borough to be specific in what types of properties can be built on the parcel.
The property is located within the low-density residential zone, which permits single or two-family residential homes on parcels of land that must be 1,800 square feet in area. At 5,227 square feet, the property well exceeds the minimum and, theoretically, could be subdivided to accommodate multiple homes.
The two buildings had long pleagued borough officials as well as law enforcement.
“Within the past two years the units at the subject property have been without approved certificates of occupancy while renters were present,” a report from an engineering firm handling the redevelopment designation stated. “The buildings have also lacked basic fire safety equipment, which is especially significant given the ongoing reports of fire damage to furniture, appliances, and walls. Some units have also lacked access to essential services, including a functioning stove, and hot water furnace. These conditions and other maintenance issues have persisted at the property, despite action taken by the borough’s code enforcement office.”