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Seaside Heights Council Clears Way for Sale of Motel Site to Developer Hovnanian

Interest by one of New Jersey’s most notable developers to build a luxury townhome community on the south end of the Boulevard in Seaside Heights is one step closer to coming to fruition following the borough council’s passing of an ordinance this week formally adopting a redevelopment plan for the site.

Currently occupied by the Offshore Motel, a repeated trouble spot for law enforcement, the redevelopment zone would incorporate the motel property and several other smaller, neighboring lots. The developer, K. Hovnaninan, expressed interest earlier this year in acquiring the properties and informally proposed a 24-unit townhome community that would aesthetically fit into the borough’s wider plans for the commercial corridor.

The Offshore Motel site was reportedly under contract to be purchased by Hovnanian. According to real estate data, a sale of the property is “pending,” with the asking price having been set at $5,499,999.

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The council this week adopted a plan that would formally adopt the set the conditions of the redevelopment zone, as recommended by the planning board. This would include the 24-unit complex and certain built-in provisions to ensure the site fits in with the larger redevelopment plan for numerous properties along the Boulevard. Officials have generally pushed for mixed-use projects along the Boulevard in order to foster a thriving business and burgeoning high-end restaurant community, however Hovnanian has demonstrated that it can build townhomes in such a district without interrupting the overall aesthetics of the plan. The company, in Florida, has been involved in similar efforts, officials have told Shorebeat.

Offshore Motel, Seaside Heights, N.J., Sept. 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

Offshore Motel, Seaside Heights, N.J., Sept. 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

Offshore Motel, Seaside Heights, N.J., Sept. 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

Offshore Motel, Seaside Heights, N.J., Sept. 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The adoption of the redevelopment plan comes two months after the borough reached a settlement with the owner of the Offshore Motel to shut its doors by Sept. 30 and raze the building by year’s end. The borough had already been pursuing the revocation of the motel’s mercantile license since 2021, arguing that the facility was a hotbed of police activity. In settlement talks, the borough conditioned dropping legal action on the sale of the property.

Located at 108 Boulevard near Dupont Avenue, the Offshore 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.

The redevelopment district includes the motel site and three other, smaller properties surrounding it on Lincoln Avenue.

“We’ve been extremely excited that such a well-regarded builder, based here in New Jersey, has recognized the opportunities in Seaside Heights,” said real estate broker Mike Loundy of Seaside Realty, who has been handling the sale of the property.

Before Hovnanian – which has yet to formally acquire the property or submit an application for development of the site – could purchase the property or apply to become designated as its redeveloper, the legal matters with Shree Mahadevji LLC, the owner of the Offshore, had to be settled. That came in September, with Mahadevji agreeing to surrender his operating license and the borough tapping into a state fund for the demolition of troubled buildings.

“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 in September.

Offshore Motel, Seaside Heights. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Offshore Motel, Seaside Heights. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The motel is still standing, however the settlement requires demolition by year’s end. Though there are several more steps in the redevelopment process, Seaside Heights officials have looked favorably upon the informal proposal, especially given the reputation of the prospective buyer. Hovnanian said they would comply with underlying zoning regulations and with the aesthetics of the redevelopment plan.

“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 at a previous council meeting.

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