BELMAR, NJ — Marina Grille is the recipient of a 2017 Merit Award from the Monmouth County Planning Board, recognized for exemplifying economic development and a public-private partnership.

Located on public land at the base of Route 35's Shark River Bridge, the Chefs International restaurant was among four organizations to be recently honored for making “significant contributions to the county as a whole,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the planning board. “Through partnerships, improvements and redevelopments, each of those recognized by the planning board are working toward keeping Monmouth County the place you want to be.”

The 12,000-square-foot restaurant, which opened in May 2017 as the anchor tenant in the Belmar Marina Building, is the third dining establishment in Belmar operated by Point Pleasant Beach-based Chefs International — the other two being 9th Avenue Pier, which is a stone’s throw away from Marina Grille on the Shark River inlet, and Anchor Tavern in the downtown district.

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“The borough of Belmar entered into a long-term land-lease agreement with a local experienced restaurant operator,” according to the planning board recognition. “In addition to the direct financial benefits to the borough of Belmar in the form of leasehold revenue, the project has been a catalyst for economic development in the area and has been termed the ‘Gateway to Belmar.’ ”

Under the public/private partnership, Belmar owns the redeveloped property and collects rent from Chefs International — some $250,000 annually for both Marina Grille, and 9th Avenue Pier and Mini-Golf.

Under the 24-year lease, which has several renewal options, the borough can bring in $7.6 million in rent during that period, or some $24 million if the lease is extended to 50 years. Rents will compound at a rate of 2 percent a year for the first 10 years and 3 percent every year thereafter.

Designed by Sonnenfield + Trocchia Architects of Holmdel, Marina Grille features an open floor plan with both interior and exterior dining areas that overlook the marina and waterfront. There also are five indoor and outdoor bars, and an outdoor fire pit.

Established in 1984, the Monmouth County Planning Board's Planning Merit Award Program recognizes plans, projects, programs, individuals, municipalities, businesses, community leaders and stakeholder organizations that have made a significant contribution to the advancement of planning and planning outcomes in Monmouth County.

The other 2017 Merit Award recipients are:

  • Recreation: Veteran’s Memorial Park Improvements in Aberdeen.
  • Adaptive Reuse/Redevelopment, Economic Development, Place-making, Resiliency, Transportation Services/Projects: Ocean Avenue Streetscape Improvements Project in Sea Bright.
  • Economic Development, Adaptive Reuse/Redevelopment, Place-making, Planning Innovation: Bell Works in Holmdel.

The purpose of the award is not only to recognize and honor exceptional examples of planning in Monmouth County, but to inspire others to pursue the same level of planning achievement and excellence, according to the county.

For more information, visit the Monmouth County Division of Planning section of the Monmouth County website at www.VisitMonmouth.com or call 732-431-7460.

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