BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, NJ – It was an eyesore in Ocean County for decades. In the 80s and 90s, it saw some of its final act with a pool hall that hosted local alternative live band performances, but since, it stood dilapidated and decaying.
The Beachwood Plaza has been demolished, but what is next for the site that is still an eyesore for many who live there and travel past it along Route 9 each day?
Demolished in 2015, the Beachwood plaza remains a vacant scab on the beautiful landscape at the Jersey Shore.
That was seven years, and the barren lot looks like a missing tooth next to the now rotting tooth of the nearby former site of Blackbeard’s Cave in Bayville, just a few blocks away. Both sites are in need for redevelopment.
We’ve been promised redevelopment of the land since 2019, when it was proposed to build two 7,500-square-foot retail buildings, a fast-food restaurant pad, and a pad site for retail space. That plan was announced in the spring of 2021 that included a Wawa, proposed by Lennar Corporation and M&M Realty.
In August of 2021, Berkeley Township officials approved an ordinance that would allow a large warehouse to be built on the site. Rumors swirled about a possible Amazon distribution facility there.
Berkeley Councilman James Brynes conceded to residents at the time the town had no idea what was going to be built there.
If you ask Berkeley Mayor Carmen Amator, he doesn’t want to see the land be used all for commercial, apartments and warehouses. He asked M&M Construction to try to include amenities including some open space, a hockey rink, and maybe even a pool on the site.
Later in the year, it was learned that parts of the retail component were scaled back due to a lack of interest in regional retail outlets in the area.
Now, a brochure being marketed by M&M Construction shows three retail pads along the frontage of Route 9, with ‘future development’ space for box stores, warehouses and retail units, backed by a large apartment complex in the rear of the property.
The project is being hailed as “Berkeley Town Center” and boasting luxury apartments, possibly a Wawa or Quick Chek type gas station and retail store, two retail pads, a drive-through pad and a strip mall as possibilities for the future.
But for now, the barren landscape of a time that has passed it all that remains at the site.
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