By KAYLA J. MARSH
EATONTOWN – Hundreds of residents packed Memorial School on Grant Avenue Wednesday night, ready to urge the Borough Council to vote down an ordinance that would change the zoning of the Monmouth Mall site from commercial to mixed-use.
But the over-flowed crowd never had —or needed—the opportunity to voice their opposition to the well-publicized project.
In a move that left council members, borough officials, residents and community members surprised, Kushner Companies, the sole-owner of the Monmouth Mall, opted not to move forward with a $500 million redevelopment plan to turn the site into a 24-hour indoor and outdoor pedestrian-friendly mixed-use community.
“I just spoke with the Kushner family and we had felt over the past nine months that we were making great headway in terms of working with the municipality in improving the Mall and devoting incredible resources,” Kushner Companies Director of Development Jennifer Bernell said.
“Given the response tonight, we realize that these changes are not welcome and we are planning to leave the mall as is.”
Following the announcement, Kushner officials walked out of the meeting to a round of applause from the huge crowd.
“We had something that could have been great for this town and it is shame it went down the way it did, but I do value the experience and the knowledge that was given to us,” Mayor Dennis Connelly said.