TOMS RIVER — The troubled Red Carpet Inn has booked its last guest as its owner signs over the property to the township of Toms River.

Mayor Thomas Kelaher and owner Kartik Patel signed the agreement that turned the hotel over to the township for $3.3 million, a year after police disclosed that they had responded to 750 incidents between 2015 and 2017, many involving drugs, weapons and thefts.

During the introduction last November of a "quality of life" ordinance designed to eliminate such properties, police cited the hotel as an example of a nuisance property that endangered the public and was a haven for illegal activity, according to assistant township attorney Anthony Merlino at the time.

The hotel was previously a Red Roof Inn and then the TR Hotel before joining the Red Carpet Inn chain.

Toms River administrative officials came to tentative terms with 2 Water Street LLC to buy the property for $3.3 million in May, according to Assistant Township Attorney Anthony Merlino.

Kelaher said at the signing that the acquisition of this property eliminates an eyesore and a police problem and enables the township to begin their long-range plan to redevelop downtown Toms River with new businesses and apartments.

Alizar Zorojew, executive director of the Downtown Toms River Business Improvement District, said the organization looks forward to the coming upgrade of the local infrastructure that will result from the township’s purchase and demolition of the Red Carpet Inn.

“This move sends a major signal to businesses, developers, and residents that Toms River is serious about refining its downtown and better utilizing its waterfront," Zorojew said.

In the short term, the locks will be changed to keep trespassers out, Business Administrator Don Guardian told Jersey Shore Online.

An engineering study has been proposed to determine if the hotel can be torn down without having to close Water Street or Route 166, which intersect in front of the building. The land will likely become a parking lot until a permanent plan is developed.

Vin Ebenau contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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