BELMAR — Hours after the borough repealed an ordinance that could have enabled it to acquire the headquarters of the former Belmar First Aid Squad, a deal was struck on Wednesday to sell the property to Down to Earth Construction, the squad’s attorney told The Coast Star.
The homebuilder had previously outbid the borough, which had targeted the property at Ninth Avenue and D Street as headquarters for a new municipal ambulance service. But as the borough reacted with a plan to acquire the site through eminent domain, Down to Earth withdrew its bid.
Attorney Kenneth Pringle said his office was planning to file the squad’s application to the planning board to subdivide the property into three lots for single family homes, when Bill Merkler of Down to Earth Construction contacted him.
“After some brief negotiations with Mr. Merkler, which included raising the sale price to $1.6 million, the BFAS reached an agreement on the terms of the sale with Down to Earth,” Mr. Pringle said. The contract is currently in attorney review. “My office was preparing to file that subdivision application when Mr. Merkler contacted us,” the attorney said.
The Belmar First Aid Squad ceased operation on April 1 and later held a sealed bidding process in the hopes of finding a buyer for the property. Only two bids were submitted, with Down to Earth Construction outbidding the borough’s offer. A week later, however, it was announced that Down to Earth Construction had withdrawn its bid after speaking with borough officials.
Originally, Down to Earth Construction had bid $1.4 million for the property, but after some negotiation, a sale price of $1.6 was reached, Mr. Pringle said.
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