Negotiations between Belmar and developers for a $10 million marina project have fallen through, but it appears another local proprietor is ready to pick up at least some of the slack.
Chefs International, Inc., the Point Pleasant Beach-based company that owns Jack Baker's Wharfside, Lobster Shanty and Wharfside Patio Bar, wants to build the miniature golf course and outdoor bar and restaurant on the Ninth Avenue Pier that international developer Hibernian had proposed earlier this year.
Robert Cooper, president and CEO of Chefs International, said the proposed restaurant, being called "9th Ave. Pier," would be similar to the Patio Bar in Point Pleasant Beach, offering "festival style" food, brick oven pizza, and a raw bar. Cooper, who pitched the project at Wednesday's Borough Council meeting, said he estimates the project will cost $3.5 million.
Borough officials said they could not reach an agreement after months of negotiations with Hibernian on a plan to build the miniature golf course, outdoor tiki bar and two-story commercial building at the marina.
The borough, for now, will hold off on redeveloping the main marina building (Fisherman's Den) — part of the Hibernian plan — until it's clear how well the golf course and restaurant/bar are absorbed into the town, Mayor Matt Doherty said.
According to the proposed lease agreement, Chefs International would pay Belmar $95,000 per year, compounded by 3 percent each year for 25 years, Doherty said. The borough stands to make $3.4 million in rent from the company over those 25 years.
The proposed agreement with Hibernian for the golf course and outdoor bar would have been for $85,000 per year, compounded by 3 percent each year for 30 years.
Cooper said the bar would operate between April and October and open daily at 11:30 a.m., weather permitting.
To alleviate concerns from residents regarding noise, Doherty said music at the bar would end at 11 p.m. Also, alcohol would stop being served at midnight from Sunday to Thursday and 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Cooper said the new business would employ at least 60 people.
The plan must go before the Technical Design Review Committee and then the Planning Board on May 2 before the Borough Council and mayor can seal the deal with Chefs International.