PETERSBURG – “I have some really, especially good news,” said Mayor Richard Palombo, during Upper Township Committee's Nov. 22 meeting. The news - the B.L. England plant site has been sold.
Since its closing in May 2019, the former power plant, located on the bay shores of Beesley's Point, has been dormant and considered obsolete and in need of redevelopment.
Palombo explained that the buyers, Beesleys Point Development LLC, plan to raze existing structures at the site.
While Palombo was cautious with details as to actual components of the development, he did emphasize that the sale is final.
According to Palombo, plans “could include a new hotel, restaurant, boardwalk, retail and marina at the site.”
Palombo indicated that the remediation cost, which the new owners have agreed to assume, and the value of the real estate were estimated at about $13 million.
The mayor and municipal officials could not immediately be reached for comment regarding specifics about development plans, the new owners, exact sale price, and whether the municipality would continue to receive the $6 million-plus in state aid it receives annually for hosting the plant.
Palombo did not identify any individual representatives of the new owner. He did say, however, that previous efforts by the municipality to help broker a sale of the site by the former owner, RC Cape May Holdings LLC, elicited a proposal by an also unidentified individual for industrial use, which the municipality did not find attractive given the environmentally sensitive wetlands at the site and its scenic beauty.
The former use of the site was a target of much criticism given the tons of emissions from coal-generated power over its years of operation.
Palombo also addressed a major issue currently in the news - that the site is still a strong contender for one of the two landing sites for electricity to be generated by the proposed Ocean Wind project that will construct wind turbines 15 miles off Ocean City's shore. He said that the sale does not preclude the use of the site to bring electricity into the state’s power grid.
The mayor took several occasions to emphasize how instrumental the municipality was in helping the sale to fruition and recognized, in particular, Solicitor Daniel Young and Municipal Engineer Paul Dietrich.
Palombo said, “It will be some time before a site plan is finalized,” but the long-standing intent of the municipal administration and committee is to create jobs, stimulate the local economy and position Upper Township as a magnet for tourists.
“With our new Beesley's Point Park amenities, this project will really keep the township and even the region attractive for visitors,” said Palombo.
To contact Camille Sailer, email email@example.com.