A troubled Seaside Heights motel that had been floated as a potential site for condemnation as recently as this past summer has reached a settlement agreement with the borough that would see it surrender its mercantile license, shut its doors by Sept. 30 and be fully demolished by the end of the year.
The Offshore Motel, located at 108 Boulevard near Dupont Avenue, was first identified in a complaint that would have revoked its license to operate in 2021 following the murder of a woman by an acquaintance who has since been sentenced to 35 years in state prison. The motel had also been in the news after a man was hospitalized after jumping from a window there, and had drawn countless nuisance complaints over the years.
More recently, the site of the motel has been proposed for a 24-unit high-end townhome community that would be constructed by K. Hovnanian Enterprises, a national development firm based in New Jersey. According to borough officials, a settlement over the mercantile license was reached with Shree Mahadevji LLC, which would involve the surrendering of the license to operate by Sept. 30. Demolition of the site will be performed by a contractor under the borough’s bidding process, tapping a fund granted to the town by the state with the aim of tearing down blighted or otherwise troubled structures.
While the settlement states that the building must be taken down by Dec. 31, 2023, officials expected that to occur much sooner.
“My understanding is that the owner has already gotten three quotes under our demo grant funding resolution, so I expect it sooner rather than later,” said Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz.
Mayor Anthony Vaz said the settlement is not a condemnation matter and does not involve such litigation. The sale of the property is voluntary and is currently under contract pending various approvals.
Should it come to fruition, the K. Hovnanian proposal would likely be residential in nature rather than a mix of residential, commercial and dining usage like many of the pending redevelopment projects within the borough’s business district. When discussed before the borough council toward the end of 2012, however, officials looked favorably on the project since it would rid the borough of a troublesome property and bring a prominent investor into the community.
Though the borough’s redevelopment plan prefers mixed-use projects, Hovnanian has proven in other locations that it can build residential projects in such areas that organically fit in with the surrounding community using modern architecture and facades, officials said. Hovnanian’s project, which has yet to be formally proposed, would also comply with borough zoning codes.
“Since they’re in compliance, it’s a new building and they’re cleaning up a disastrous area, I’d have to say I would be in favor of it,” the mayor said, amidst the discussion of mixed-use versus residential development.