The doors are closed and rooms are empty at most of the motels along the Black Horse Pike, they have been like that since Hurricane Sandy; now township officials think it's the perfect time to have them apprised for a possible buy out.
"For 25 years that particular area of the township, West Atlantic City has been a problem to us," Egg Harbor Township Mayor Sunny McCullough said.
It's a problem Egg Harbor Township now wants to solve using eminent domain.
"We think it's an appropriate time to start acquiring these properties," McCullough said.
At what is expected to be their lowest value, township officials say they have $3 million from a previous CRDA grant to begin the acquisition process, but they will need about $10 million more.
"Perhaps we could buy 4–5 properties and hopefully the CRDA will recognize that this is important and is the entrance to Atlantic City," McCullough said.
While CRDA will honor its $3 million pledge to the project it made several years back, Mayor McCullough would like to see additional funding from CRDA. However; now, that's no longer possible because of the location of these motels and new rules the CRDA must follow.
"I wouldn't say never, although I think its important to keep in mind the new statue that governs the authority and the things that we do require that we devote our resources to the city, to the tourism district and so this is beyond the city's limits," CRDA executive director John Palmieri said.
We spoke with several motel owners who say while they wish the offer came earlier, if the process is fair, they are will willing to work with the township.
"If the township came to us and the mayor gave me a call and had a discussion with me about it... I'm open to speak about it. If that's the case, they want to make us an offer then we are ready to discuss it," motel owner Niral Dand said.
If the motels are acquired, the township says they would like to see high rise condos and entertainment options built on the redeveloped land, but those plans are likely in the very distant future.
The township says they expect to accept a bid from an appraiser this week and should begin the appraisal process shortly.