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Monmouth Mall owner expected to replace parking garage with new lot

EATONTOWN – The Borough Council in Eatontown has entered into a developer’s agreement with the owner of the Monmouth Mall to replace an existing parking garage with a surface parking lot.

During a meeting on July 13, council members approved a developer’s agreement with Eatontown Monmouth Mall, LLC, regarding the Monmouth Mall property at the intersection of Route 35 and Route 36.

According to a resolution, the shopping mall’s owner is seeking to demolish the parking garage and to construct a surface parking lot with site improvements. The owner sought amended preliminary and final site plan approval from the Planning Board for the planned work at the mall and approval was granted in March.

The board’s approval was subject to and conditioned upon the execution of a developer’s agreement, according to the resolution. Council members said they believe it is in the best interest of Eatontown’s residents and taxpayers to enter into the agreement.

The governing body has been taking action regarding the potential redevelopment of the 62-year-old Monmouth Mall since 2021.

In April 2021, council members authorized the Planning Board to undertake a preliminary investigation to determine if the mall met the criteria to be designated as a non-condemnation redevelopment area.

Board members referred the investigation to the engineering firm Leon S. Avakian Inc.

In June, planner Jennifer Beahm of the firm presented a report which concluded the mall met the criteria to be designated as an area in need of redevelopment. Her report cited two criteria the mall property met to receive that designation.

One criteria was the discontinuance of the use of a building or buildings previously used for commercial, retail, shopping malls or plazas, office parks, manufacturing or industrial purposes; the abandonment of such building or buildings; significant vacancies of such building or buildings for at least two consecutive years; or the same being allowed to fall into so great a state of disrepair as to be untenantable.

The second criteria was the designation of the delineated area being consistent with smart growth planning principles, according to borough officials.

Following the issuance of Beahm’s report, the members of the Planning Board also determined the mall met the criteria to be declared a non-condemnation area in need of redevelopment and confirmed the finding through a resolution passed in December.

The council members subsequently agreed with the Planning Board’s findings.

After designating the mall property as a non-condemnation redevelopment area, council members entered into a memorandum of understanding with the mall’s owner.

The memorandum of understanding sets forth the parameters in which Eatontown and the mall’s owner can explore redevelopment options, while ensuring the borough’s expenses are paid for by the mall’s owner through an escrow account.

In June, representatives of the mall’s owner appeared before the governing body to discuss the potential redevelopment of the property with a plan referred to as Monmouth Village.

The potential redevelopment of the Monmouth Mall is scheduled to be discussed again during the council meeting tonight, July 27. Business owners have been invited to share their ideas regarding the potential redevelopment of the property.

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