The Ocean Terrace property which has generated interest on the part of investors seeking to build a new, 180-room hotel with a banquet center, may become the subject of a formally-declared area in need of redevelopment.
Under New Jersey’s land use statutes, declaring a property in need of redevelopment involves a request made by the borough council, an investigation and engineering report conducted by the planning board, a vote by the board to uphold the council recommendation, then a final vote on the declaration. The designation allows the borough to customize plans for the redevelopment of a particular property in need, assuming it meets statutory conditions. It is also a first step toward taking a property by eminent domain, however Seaside Heights officials said such a move was squarely off the table in the case of 200 Ocean Terrace, the subject of the request and currently home to the Surfside Motel.
The Seaside Heights borough council last week voted unanimously to authorize the planning board to conduct the required investigation that would enable the site to be given the redevelopment designation.
“We’re not condemning it,” said Mayor Anthony Vaz. “It’s a private owner or corporation that wants to buy it. They want to know if they fit in to the redevelopment plans, so that’s what we want to look into.”
Though discussions have been largely informal, borough council members in the early part of May, for the first time, discussed the potential redevelopment of the parcel, which could represent one of the physically largest projects in borough history. The interest in building a new hotel in town comes from an investor from the Boston area, the mayor said. A rough outline of the proposal envisions a 180-room hotel at 200 Ocean Terrace, now the site of the Surfside Motel, which according to county property records was built in 1971 and encompasses a 24,000 square-foot parcel which consists of three lots.
The matter will be placed on the agenda of a future meeting of the borough’s planning board.
“It’s definitely not for eminent domain,” Vaz reiterated. “We’re looking at it from a standpoint as to whether they can develop it in a way that’s feasible.”
Vaz said the informal discussion about the Surfside Motel site, in addition to the estimate of 180 rooms, also included a banquet facility which could host weddings, corporate gatherings or civic events.