Just two weeks after a controversial go-ahead for Sea Bright officials to try to buy Donovan’s Reef, negotiations have come to a halt.

Mayor Jo-Ann Kalaka-Adams tells redbankgreen today that the sellers have rejected the borough’s offer for the beachfront property.

Though she declined to immediately disclose how much the borough offered, she says the sum matched an appraised value for the property, which has 82 parking spaces the borough covets, among other assets.

The sellers, members of the Bowler family, are asking $4.5 million.

“It was much ado about nothing,” Kalaka-Adams says. “We offered them the appraisal price, not the asking price, and they turned down our offer.”

Chris Bowler, a co-owner who also owns Brannigan’s Bar & Grill in Red Bank, confirmed that the deal talks are over.

“We’ve received offers above that,” Bowler says of the asking price.

An August 7 Borough Council resolution authorized the governing body to begin negotiations for the Ocean Avenue restaurant and bar. But that authorization barely squeaked through in a 4-3 vote, with a vocal contingent of three council members adamantly opposed.

Kalaka-Adams pushed for the deal, which she characterized as a solution to a host of borough problems, including tight parking and a need to generate more revenue.

Possible uses of the property under discussion were a beach club and to provide extra parking for the borough hall.

“The whole thing was blown out of proportion,” Kalaka-Adams says of the controversy. “The numbers being presented [by opponents] weren’t the same numbers that we were discussing [with the owners].”

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