BELMAR, NJ — Faced with the reality that Belmar’s aging municipal building will soon need to be repaired or replaced — both major undertakings — the borough is looking to private developers to see if they may have the answer.

The borough will be accepting proposals on a nonbinding basis from developers who have expressed interest in putting down stakes in Belmar. To answer their questions and to keep the process open and “above board,” the borough council will be looking at these proposals at upcoming meetings and “see if they’re good for Belmar,” Mayor Mark Walsifer said. “If we think they’re good, they’ll move forward; if not, they're out.”

According to a resolution approved by the borough council on August 6, the request for proposals (RFP) is “the first step to determine whether the construction of a new municipal complex is financially feasible and in the long-term best interests of the residents and taxpayers of Belmar.”

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Plagued in recent years by a host of worsening structural problems, the municipal building itself was built in the 1950s and then retrofitted from an auto repair shop to become home to borough operations in 1984.

According to the RFP, Belmar will be specifically accepting plans for a new municipal complex that would encompass some 20,000 square feet for municipal offices, a police station and municipal court, and another 15,000 square feet for indoor recreation activities — plus parking.

The project could be situated on the current municipal complex’s site bounded by Main Street, River Road and Sixth and Seventh Avenues, although other borough-owned property would also be considered, the RFP states. In addition, the design of the mixed-use project would need to conform with the borough’s Seaport Development Plan.

The RFP is scheduled to be issued on September 1 with a submission deadline of October 7. Presentations to the borough council would be held from October 17 to October 20, based on a timeline included in the RFP.  Click here for the RFPpdf

Council President Thomas Brennan and Councilwoman Patricia Wann expressed their support for the call for projects.

“These bids are nonbinding,” Wann said. “We just want to see what’s out there, and we’re not going to do anything unless it helps Belmar and the taxpayers.”

Calling it “the beginning of a process,” Brennan stressed that the public will have the opportunity to express their views. “None of this is a done deal. There will be ample time for the public to comment on whatever we’re looking at.”

The aging Belmar Municipal Building at 601 Main Street, which was retrofitted from an auto repair shop in 1984, would be replaced under a public-private proposal to redevelop the entire block.

It was not known whether Brandywine Financial Corp. which had proposed in March 2018 to construct a new municipal complex, along with residential and retail space, on the current complex site will be bringing back its proposal. It had been placed on hold in May 2018 by the former administration.


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