Seaside Heights officials have decided to task the borough’s planning board with investigating the potential designation of another one of the borough’s dwindling number of aging motels as a redevelopment area.
The board will hear a report from the borough’s redevelopment engineering consultant before holding a public hearing on whether the Cloud 9 Inn, a motel located at 124 Hamilton Avenue, qualifies as an are in need of redevelopment under New Jersey’s land use statutes. In this case, the designation – if endorsed by the planning board and adopted by the borough council – would allow for condemnation as a remedy. The Cloud 9 Inn was one of 13 properties cited as potential redevelopment areas as early as 2022.
While the designation does not necessarily mean the borough does, indeed, plan on utilizing eminent domain to take the property, it does allow the borough to draw up a redevelopment plan and enforce its implementation. Occasionally, the designation prompts the owner to redevelop his own property, and in other cases it leads to a willing sale of the parcel. Condemnation is generally used as a last resort.
If the planning board finds that the property qualifies as a redevelopment area, the case would revert to the borough council for development and adoption of the redevelopment plan. That plan would specify what is allowed to be constructed in place of the motel, and would seek proposals from potential redevelopers, which could include the current owner. The designation would also allow the council to exercise some supervisory control over the redevelopment, including ensuring the financial backing of the redeveloper is solid. Such a plan normally comes with deadlines to meet certain work milestones.
The motel has been standing since 1984 and was last sold in 2007 at the height of the “real estate bubble” of the time for $2 million, according to county tax records. It is located directly behind the former Karma nightclub site, with the motel’s parking lot separating the inn from the former nightclub, which itself has been torn down and is being redeveloped as a mixed-use commercial and luxury residential complex.
The motel is located on a 140,000 square foot parcel that technically spans two lots.
The planning board will consider the matter at its Feb. 26 meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. in the council chambers above the fire house at the municipal complex.