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BRICK - A massive domed indoor sports complex could replace what has been a long-vacant parking lot along Route 70 near Brick Boulevard.The Brick Planning Board will hear a proposal Wednesday to subdivide 10.9 acres currently owned by the township to make way for a restaurant, retail stores and indoor sports facility. The site has long been the focus of political tension.Two companies, HFZ Superdome of New York City and M&M at Route 70 of Piscataway, are seeking to purchase and redevelop the property, which was the former site of a Foodtown supermarket.HFZ wants to build a 68,400-square-foot sports complex on 5.73 acres at the rear of the existing property. The company's proposal includes indoor basketball courts, indoor soccer field, an outdoor beach volleyball court and jogging path, according to its application. M&M plans to build a 96-seat restaurant on the other half of the parcel, along with two buildings that would hold nearly 30,000 square feet of new retail space.
The property "is right in the center of our town," said Mayor John G. Ducey. "It’s been sitting there vacant since 2006."The town purchased the property in 2003 for more than $6 million to stop the construction of a home improvement store, but Ducey said Brick's municipal government should not be in the real estate business. He said the parcel should be returned to the tax rolls.
Brick: The Momo Challenge, a viral online game, causes lost sleep, frayed nerves"My entire reason for becoming mayor is to make lives better for families here in Brick, and this is a huge part of it," said Ducey. "It (the sports complex) is something for people of all ages to do. They will have programs for little children in strollers ... all the way up to senior citizen programs, and everything in between.”
HFZ Superdome and M&M would need a permit to build under the state's Coastal Area Facility Review Act, known as CAFRA, from the Department of Environmental Protection, because of the property's proximity to Forge Pond, Ducey said. The Township Council must also approve the sale, he said.The property's redevelopment stalled for years after M&M sued the township in 2014. The lawsuit came after Ducey canceled a $7 million agreement with the developer when M&M backed off of an initial offer to build a 120-room hotel, grocery store, retail space, restaurants and banquet hall, citing economic concerns.M&M proposed instead to build a retail complex and 192 units of condominiums, of which the latter was opposed by township officials.
In 2017, M&M and the township reached a new agreement to develop a sports complex, restaurants and retail space. Under the terms of the agreement, Brick will receive $5 million for the sale. The agreement's lower sale price was criticized by some residents when it was announced in 2017.If approved, HFZ Superdome hopes to break ground next year, Ducey said.The Brick Planning Board is set to hear the application Wednesday at the municipal building, 401 Chambers Bridge Road. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.Jackson: Sports complex hearing pushed to 2019 after dormitory debateBrick: 'Miracle' makes injured Marine veteran's home safer
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Amanda Oglesby; @OglesbyAPP; 732-557-5701; aoglesby@gannettnj.com

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