Carpetland/Circle Shop building featured on National Trust for Historic Preservation Newssite

Downtown Beachwood and the Carpetland/Circle Shop building got a bit of national press this week from the National Trust for Historic Preservation website:

Carpetland Fire Digital 01 - 500After Fire, New Jersey Inn’s Future Remains Uncertain

By Margaret FosterOnline OnlyJuly 16, 2009

A month after a devastating fire, the owner of the most visible historic building in Beachwood, N.J., is considering tearing it down. But at least one resident wants to find a new buyer for the curved structure that has anchored the town’s main intersection since the 1920s.

On June 12, a fire gutted the second floor of the former Beachwood Circle Inn, used most recently as a carpet store and apartment house.

“It was an accidental fire. We attributed it to careless cooking,” says Robert Cook, deputy fire marshal of Ocean County, N.J. One firefighter suffered minor injuries in the blaze, he says.

The fire left the exterior and first floor intact. This month, the carpet store on the first floor is open for business—but for how long? “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I might even tear it down,” says building owner Bruce Barrett.

The Beachwood Historical Alliance wants to reshape the future of the Circle Inn building, the “main cultural social gathering for our entire area,” according to director Erik Weber.

He hopes to help Barrett find an investor to buy the building and restore it as a meeting place. “The timing could not be better, as our downtown is about to be reconnected with the rest of the county to a 17-mile uninterrupted rail trail,” he says. “It could be a smash hit.”

Would Barrett be willing to sell the building? “Once they got the money, sure,” he says.

Last year the Circle Inn building was slated to be torn down for a Rite Aid pharmacy, but plans remain on hold because the developer has not paid a required application fee. “They would need to post the fees to continue,” says Jeanette Larrison, secretary of Beachwood’s planning board. “Their application hasn’t even been close to being completed.”

Rite Aid Corporate spokeswoman Cheryl Slavinsky emphasizes that Rite Aid is not the developer of the site. (The developer did not return phone calls from Preservation.) The Rite Aid store was originally scheduled to open in November 2010. “We do not control matters of the developers. We honestly can’t tell you the status of the project.”

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