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Developer outlines plan for Bellemead tract in Freehold Township

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – A development that would provide retail and residential space is being proposed on a 77-acre parcel in Freehold Township.

Representatives of M&M Realty Partners appeared before the Township Committee on Nov. 17 to present their plan to develop the Bellemead tract that lies between Route 537 at Trotters Way and Route 9 South.

Trotters Way on the westbound side of Route 537 is an entrance to the Freehold Raceway Mall near Bob’s Stores and Ashley Furniture.

There is a jughandle on the eastbound side of Route 537 that provides access to Trotters Way. The Bellemead tract is behind that jughandle.

“We understand it is our duty and obligation to improve Trotters Way through the (development) site,” said Jack Morris, who is the co-owner of M&M Realty Partners.

Discussions regarding the development of the Bellemead tract have been taking place for a number of years, but no project has come to fruition on the site.

Morris said the project he is proposing would have 43,000 square feet of retail space. He said no tenants have been signed for the space, but he said he hopes one tenant will be a supermarket. Morris is also proposing a convenience store with a gas station at the site.

The residential component of the project would include a mixed-use development that totals 20,000 square feet. Morris said 40 residential units will be in the mixed-use section.

There would also be an apartment complex with 210 units and an additional 64 apartments that would be designated as affordable housing.

Affordable housing is defined as housing that is sold or rented at below market rates to individuals and/or families whose income meets certain guidelines.

Morris also proposed the construction of 256 townhouses on the Bellemead tract; 220 of which would be for sale (the maximum number allowed) and 36 of which would be for rent.

Morris said the price of the townhouses would be determined by the housing market. He said he expects individuals of all ages would be interested in living in the townhouses.

The proposed development would also have 90 single-family homes for rent with a rental price between approximately $5,000 and $6,000 monthly, according to Morris. He said the rental of single-family homes is increasing in popularity.

“This is a product that is doing extremely well,” he told municipal officials.

Morris agreed to work with township officials to potentially increase the number of for sale units, provided that action does not affect the proposed affordable housing component. He said a decision has not been made as to whether the project would be a gated community.

Committee members expressed support and opposition to the idea of a gated community, but did not make a decision on that issue.

One section of the Bellemead tract does not have a proposed use at this time. Morris said his company is seeking to use that area of the property for retail purposes, but said nothing has been finalized.

Mayor Lester Preston expressed support for what Morris described at the Bellemead tract and said, “We have a developer we are confident in.”

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