By JOHN T. WARD
The action puts a period, if not a satisfying answer, on one of the downtown’s persistent mysteries: whatever happened to the Subway?
Franchisee Ojas Patel won approval from the borough planning board in October, 2011 to create a 28-seat “café” version of Subway, a concept he said was then in operation at only in three other locations nationwide.
The eatery was to be built at 60 Broad Street in a long-vacant space with distinctive curved glass on either side of the entryway. Patel, who owned other Subways shops around New Jersey, won approval to remove that feature and replace it with an recessed seating area that would be open to the air but covered by the building above.
Patel told redbankgreen at the time that he expected to open in the spring of 2012.
However, Mike Morgan Jr., whose family owns the building and others downtown, said Patel “did just the bare minimum” to comply with the build-out terms of the lease, but ultimately failed to open, though the space was ready for many months.
Now, after “lengthy legal proceedings,” Subway has been evicted and the space is available for lease, Morgan told Churn on Wednesday.
“It’s finally free and clear,” Morgan said. “All they’ve got to do is remove some signage.”
Patel could not be located for comment.
The former retail space is approved by the borough for primary food use, but not cooking. It’s suitable for the sale of coffee, pastries, sandwiches, sweets and more — including retail. It’s also turn-key ready, thanks to equipment left behind as part of the eviction settlement, Morgan said.
The national Subway franchisor, which has some 21,000 franchisees operating 44,000 locations worldwide, has also expressed some interest, though Morgan said that wouldn’t be his “preferred” tenant.
“I still have a sour taste” from the past four years, he said.