💨 The former America's Best Value Inn in Neptune was heavily damaged by wind in 2021

💨 The hotel has become an eyesore with no repairs

💨 The hotel's owner has submitted a plan for development

NEPTUNE TOWNSHIP — Over two years after straight-line winds during a thunderstorm heavily damaged a hotel the property will finally be cleaned up and rebuilt.

The storm on March 28, 2021 caused "significant structural damage" to the Neptune Motor Lodge known at the time as the America's Best Value Inn off Route 35. Pictures of the hotel show exposed walls on the upper levels of the hotel, debris scattered around the parking lot, and a small boat on a trailer in the street. A part of the roof from the hotel lay across the street.

The property sat with no repairs being made with rats and transients taking up residence. The three-story building, constructed in 1963, became an eyesore with offensive graffiti on the wall and stagnant water filling the swimming pool.

Residents in the adjacent Shark River Island neighborhood have brought their complaints to state Sen. Vin Gopal , D-11th Legislative District, and the previous administration of Mayor Nick William but the condition did not seem to change.

Neptune Motor Lodge over 2 years after wind damage
Neptune Motor Lodge over 2 years after wind damage (Listener submitted)

Work finally moves forward

The issue was headed to court when the owners, the Beena Halari Family Trust of Manalapan, stopped work in a disagreement over construction violations.

As of Wednesday the matter seems to be on its way to a resolution as the owners have submitted a plan to rebuild the hotel.

"He's been working with our construction department over the last few months to submit and revise plans as necessary, so we've made significant progress on that. We are still waiting for some additional documentation to ensure that all of the proposed work is compliant with the various codes obviously electric fire, plumbing, building, etc," Neptune Township Business Administrator Gina M. LaPlaca told New Jersey 101.5.

LaPlaca said that township construction officials told her that as soon as that documentation comes in, the permits will be issued and the work can get started within the next few weeks.

One of the first things to be addressed is the building itself. LaPlaca said graffiti has already been removed by the owners.

"This is a property that the township obviously keeps a close eye on because of the complaints and concerns we've gotten from the residents. So code enforcement makes regular visits out there. The police department as well. Obviously, anytime that they hear an issue is cropping up," LaPlaca said

LaPlaca said ensuring the property is maintained properly is a priority now and once the hotel is reopened.

Damage at the Neptune Motor Lodge
Damage at the Neptune Motor Lodge (Listener submitted)

What was the delay?

It's not clear to LaPlaca what the hold up was with the owner submitting a plan. Since  the property is in a redevelopment area, the building has to reopen as a hotel.

"If he wants to reopen it, it has to be reopened as a motel. He can't change the usage. So there are some limitations to how much he can change the way it functions and operates, but his intention is to bring it back to the motel," LaPlaca said.

Gopal said the permits could be issued as soon as Friday.

"I am going to stay on top of the township to make sure everything goes smoothly," Gopal said.

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