LONG BRANCH: The rehabilitation of Lower Broadway stalled last year when the city sued the potential developer, but now there may be light at the end of the tunnel.
Long Branch Partners acquired the stretch of Broadway from Second Avenue to Liberty Street in June, 2014 and had preliminary plans to build approximately 800 units of different types of multifamily housing and 80,000 square feet of retail space for the area. The group also paid over $400,000 in back taxes for the properties.
The group now had ownership over 51 properties, but in 2015, liens were placed on the properties after Long Branch Partners did not pay approximately $350,000 in 2014 taxes on the properties. A September tax sale resulted in the sale of 18 of the liens to the third parties and the city placed liens on the remaining 33 properties.
In October, the city filed a lawsuit which stated that Long Branch Partners should relinquish its claim on four properties in the Lower Broadway area that belong to the city. The suit also seeks $2.5 million from the group for non-payment of mortgage on other properties in the area.
A counter suit by Long Branch Partners states that the group is seeking $75 million in damages because they have paid millions of dollars in back taxes and professional services and have not yet been designated as the redeveloper for the property.
Long Branch Business Administrator Howard Woolley has said the city wants to make sure the developer is able to handle to massive redevelopment effort and has been put through a "stringent" process before the are given the redevelopment designation.
The Long Branch Council passed a resolution earlier this month which gives it right to foreclose on the 33 properties it placed liens on last year.
However, Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider said it may not come to that.
"Based on the judge's comments last week, the two parties are talking and meeting again," Schneider said this week.
It is unclear what the result of the talks will be, but the mayor said they were a step in the right direction.