WARETOWN, NJ - The mixed-use project across from the Waretown Shop Rite continues to move towards completion. Tradewinds at Waretown has targeted April for its first set of move-in dates.

“The developer is working to start renting the first two buildings at the end of March,” shared Ocean Township Mayor Lydia Dodd, at the most recent township committee meeting.

According to Dodd, local authorities participated in a meeting with the contractors for the Tradewinds project and the Department of Transportation. The group discussed work needed on Route 9 and the realignment of Birdsall Street.

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The contractor plans on using the shoulder to finish the storm drains and entrances from Route 9.  The scheduling of the milling, paving, and restriping of Route 9 relies heavily on weather conditions. The associated roadwork depends on the onset of warmer temperatures and is slated for a March project end date.

“The clubhouse is built, and the developer is waiting for the pool company to complete installation,” Dodd said. “The elevators need to be installed in each of the buildings.”

Specifications for Tradewinds of Waretown call for 144 residential luxury apartments of various sizes. A select portion of the rentals satisfy affordable housing requirements mandated by state law. The units are not age restricted and the complex plans to offer a pet-friendly environment.

“In the two buildings in the front, there will be a total of 21,000 square feet of retail underneath the residential units,” explained Joe Felder, a representative for Tradewinds. “There will also be a third structure consisting of a 5,000 square foot pad site for a single retailer by itself.”

Pandemic-related issues resulted in some delays as far as leasing the retail space. A business ready to sign on to the project backed out just as it was ready to make the commitment. Felder indicated that Tradewinds has resumed serious talks with other interested retailers.

 Tradewinds recently set up its website, which includes a floor plan for a 774 square foot, one bedroom apartment. This unit is slated for a lease monthly rate of $1,450, although efficiencies and apartments falling under the affordable housing umbrella will be priced less.

“We own and operate many properties in New Jersey,” Felder shared. “We find that people like the lifestyle and the mentality of living in a fully amenitized environment. We try to make our rentals as much as a home as possible for our residents.”

A group of residents calling themselves the Concerned Citizens of Waretown submitted a petition to township leaders when the Tradewinds project began construction in 2019. They voiced opposition to proposals associated with a tax abatement.

 The Ocean Township Board of Education subsequently adopted a position on tax cuts and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program. They cited concerns that a loss in tax revenue and new children coming to the district would create serious financial consequences.

Deputy Mayor Ben Loparo was the township’s mayor when the committee reviewed a proposed ordinance that would allow a five-year tax abatement. More than 100 residents attended the gathering to voice their opposition.

“I do not feel that residential-commercial property should be included in this resolution,” Loparo said at the October 2019 meeting.  “It should be available for businesses only and exclude residences.”

Then Deputy Mayor Ken Baulderstone denied the proposal was related to the Tradewinds project. Dodd said she initially voted for the abatement thinking it would keep Wawa in town.

All three government officials ultimately voted against the resolution that might have allowed Tradewinds tax relief.

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