Owners of neglected commercial property in N.J. told to ‘fix it or risk it’
In 1959 when Olga's Diner opened in Evesham Township, New Jersey, it was a popular pit stop on the way to the shore and a part of daily life for many local residents.
Unfortunately for diner lovers, the Evesham Township Council and its Planning Board, Olgas has been shuttered since 2008. It stands abandoned and dilapidated at the intersection of Routes 70 and 73 – a crumbling reminder of good times past. And it's not the only property in the area that's seen better days.
The Burlington County Times reports that Olgas, and the nearly empty Tri-Towne Plaza that's been home to the area's Superfresh for the past 50 years are two examples of neglected prime commercial real estate.
Tri-Towne Plaza lost a big name tenant when SEARS closed its doors six years ago. And reports from Superfresh parent company A&P say that the grocery store is slated for closure as it's been "underperforming."
"I'm going to fast-track eminent domain or condemnation of these properties," said Evesham Mayor Randy Brown.
But the tough talk also comes along with an olive branch as township officials said rather than seize the property, they are willing to work with property owners to improve their buildings as part of a rehabilitation approach.
According to The Burlington County Times, neither party returned calls for comment on Friday.
The Township is now in an interesting position. While it's given the properties' owners an ultimatum, some say that they need to tread very lightly where government steps in and tells people what to do with their properties.
But according to the mayor, the first steps will be taken at the Dec. 4 township meeting.
"These folks are delinquent owners," he said. "They don't belong in Evesham."
Read the full story at phillyburbs.com.