One of the final hurdles before two high-profile properties in Seaside Heights can be redeveloped has been overcome.
Over the course of the last two weeks, both the borough’s planning board and borough council gave their seal of approval to redevelopment plans for the properties that housed the former Karma nightclub and an attached restaurant, as well as the Belmont Motel, an establishment located roughly behind the borough’s police headquarters and fire station.
The adoption of the redevelopment plans means that the companies that either own, or wish to acquire, the sites can formally submit plans to the council and, ultimately, present a proposal to the planning board which would be considered at a formal hearing. The redevelopment designations of the two sites also allows the council to enforce mandatory financial solvency disclosures from the future redevelopers, require proposals to come within pre-determined specifications as to what can be constructed, and establish tax abatement agreements, if necessary.
The once-raucous nightclub, which gained fame via MTV’s “Jersey Shore” has not operated since the borough revoked its liquor license in 2018. Its owner later declared bankruptcy, leading to the site being auctioned off in 2020. The building still stands, however it has been largely abandoned for several years.
In March, a group of investors informally proposed their vision for the site that would comply with the overall redevelopment plan adopted for the Boulevard business district. Under the proposed plan, the nightclub building and a connected restaurant would be demolished in favor of a mixed use complex that would front the Boulevard and stretch the entire length of the area between Hamilton and Webster avenues. The project’s architect, Jason Hanrahan, told borough council members that the construction would center around an “active streetscape” that will breathe new life into the business corridor while also serving as the foundation to a five-story, 52-foot residential complex that will feature myriad amenities, including a top-of-the-line rooftop observation deck and an indoor pool facility.
Hanrahan said he expects there to be up to three commercial units on the first floor – likely a cafe or destination restaurant, and potential retail – between 800 and 1,700 square feet each. Above the first floor will be four stories of residential development, consisting of 36 dwellings, the deck and the indoor pool. The large space that the nightclub once took up allows the mixed-use development to fit within the redevelopment plan, combining a “downtown” feel with a modern theme.
“We’ll condition the space properly, we’ll have proper glazing, and this is intended to be a full year-round building with amenities year-round – not just the summer,” he said.
More information on the Karma proposal can be found in our previous story here.
Unlike Karma, the Belmont Motel no longer stands in Seaside Heights. The borough tapped funding from a state grant aimed at demolishing deteriorating buildings to raze it several months ago. The Belmont was located just north of the borough’s police department headquarters at 128 Sheridan Avenue. It is now an empty lot.
“The redevelopment plan for the former Belmont Motel property is a townhome project,” said Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz.
Overall, the property is rectangular in shape with a depth of 100 feet and 180 feet of frontage along Sheridan Avenue. The parcel has an area of approximately 18,000 square feet and 0.413 acres.
Likewise to Karma, more details on the proposal can be found in our previous story from earlier this year.