FREEHOLD – Municipal officials in Freehold Borough have advanced a plan that would see them purchase a building on Mechanic Street for use as a new Borough Hall, police department headquarters and municipal court.
During a meeting on April 20, Borough Council members adopted an ordinance that authorizes the purchase of a building at 30 Mechanic St. The rear of the building faces the street and does not provide public access. Public access to the building is from a parking lot on Mechanic Street.
The building is currently used by the Monmouth County Probation Department and would be purchased by Freehold Borough for $3.33 million.
The agreement with the seller is subject to Freehold Borough’s ability to bond for the cost of purchasing and retrofitting the building for municipal purposes, according to the ordinance.
Officials plan to use the Mechanic Street building as Borough Hall, as the headquarters of the Freehold Borough Police Department and as the municipal court.
At present, Borough Hall is on West Main Street and the police department and municipal court are on Jackson Street.
Discussions regarding moving Borough Hall from West Main Street date back to 2017 when the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) presented a draft concept for a transit village around the Freehold bus station at the corner of West Main and Throckmorton streets, near Borough Hall.
In 2018, a partnership of business owners and property owners in the borough, known as KFM Partnership, LLC, recommended moving the municipal building to a new location.
The individuals involved with KFM Partnership believed moving Borough Hall would open up property around the bus station and provide an opportunity to generate revenue for Freehold Borough by creating additional space for a developer who might bid on the NJTPA’s plans proposed for the bus station.
In addition to adopting the ordinance that will allow them proceed with the purchase of the Mechanic Street building, council members authorized a $67,360 contract with DMR Architects. The firm will design the layout of the building and supervise construction and retrofitting of the new municipal headquarters.
The ordinance which outlines the purchase of the Mechanic Street building indicates municipal officials hope to begin retrofitting the structure by Aug. 1. The seller will undertake the retrofitting work upon being provided with plans by the borough.
Freehold Borough reserves the right to terminate the agreement to purchase the building based upon the results of environmental, structural or mechanical inspections, according to the ordinance.