Toms River council members introduced an ordinance at their meeting Tuesday night to formally authorize the purchase of the Red Carpet Inn on Water Street.
The motel, which was producing hundreds of annual calls for police service in recent years, will be sold to the township for $3.3 million – far less than the $4.8 million a previous ordinance appropriated.
In January, officials moved to either negotiate a sale or condemn the motel, which will be demolished to make room for open space and flood-prevention apparatus as part of a downtown revitalization project. In February, advocates for the homeless unsuccessfully lobbied for the township to keep the motel open and use it as a homeless shelter.
Regardless of whether the mote was to be condemned or purchased outright, its future in Toms River was bleak after it was declared a formal nuisance in January and subject to significant penalties. The township also adopted an ordinance requiring all motels to collect identification from guests when they booked a room.
Officials and residents both said the Red Carpet Inn, formerly known as the TP Motel and Red Roof Inn, was a haven for drug use, prostitution and other crimes. According to police records, officers have responded to over 750 incidents at the location since 2015, many of which involved serious offenses including narcotics, weapons and theft, a township statement said.
Tuesday night’s vote was the introduction of an ordinance allowing for the purchase. Before a sale can be finalized, the ordinance must be voted on a second time after a public hearing. Generally, such hearings and votes occur at the next council meeting.