The squeeze continues on the little guys. Roselle is a rough-edged little town not too far from where I live. Times are tough, so Roselle is considering selling a prized asset, its town hall, to someone who wants to build a restaurant.
The idea to sell the Chestnut Street property came about after the developers, local real estate agent Steve Weiner and restaurant owner Bruno D’Uva, toured the downtown area earlier this year.
Weiner and D’Uva, who owns a Tiffany’s restaurant franchise in Toms River, submitted a request for redevelopment to the council Tuesday.
According to their preliminary proposal, the pair would buy the 1.2-acre plot, demolish borough hall and replace it with a 5,000-square-foot casual-dining restaurant licensed to sell liquor. They estimate the restaurant would create 50 to 75 jobs and bring in 2,000 to 3,000 patrons each week.
Attached to the proposal were seven pages of menus and photos showing another restaurant’s interior.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The problem is, they have no backup plan for where to put the town offices, the municipal court or the police station.
The motion passed 5-1 and the town will spend $7500 to explore the matter further. The town thinks it can get at least $1,000,000 from the sale. But it doesn't make any sense - this is a one-time infusion of cash.
This is not to say that the town hall is perfect. The building costs tens of thousands a month for heating and cooling.
Here's the problem: When they find themselves in trouble again down the road, what will they sell next? Fire trucks? Street lights? Will they strip houses for copper and other scrap metal?
Just another stop on the way down the American Death Spiral. At least we'll have a nice place to eat.