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April 21, 2023

Boiler at Jersey Shore's shuttered B.L. England plant brought down in controlled implosion

The site at Beasley's Point, near Ocean City, is being cleared and redeveloped as a possible marina with a hotel and shops. The boiler's fall was captured on video

Development Demolition
Jersey Shore Plant Implosion Source/UPPERTOWNSHIP.COM

The boiler structure at the former B.L. England Power Plant in Upper Township, seen in front of the smokestack in the back right of the photo above, was imploded Friday monring. The cooling tower in the foreground came down last September. The implosion is part of a long-term plan to redevelop the area at Beesley's Point.

More demolition work took place Friday morning at the site of the former B.L. England Power Plant in Beasley's Point, where decades-old structures are being cleared to make way for future development.

The scheduled implosion of the plant's boiler facility was completed around 9:30 a.m. as onlookers took in the noisy collapse. The smokestack at the site also was supposed to come down Friday, but its implosion has been pushed back to a later date, Upper Township officials said

The B.L. England plant has long been a visible landmark on the Garden State Parkway Bridge over the Great Egg Harbor Bay, about a 15-minute drive from Ocean City. Last September, onlookers watched as the plant's 208-foot-tall cooling tower crumbled to the ground in under 10 seconds.

The ongoing demolition work has taken months of preparation and asbestos treatment. The implosions of the cooling tower and boiler structure have been performed by Controlled Demolition Inc. Upper Township established safe viewing areas for the public to watch the demolition work back in September and on Friday morning. 

The plant, at 900 North Shore Road, was decommissioned in May 2019 after years of efforts to comply with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, which had said the facility violated the Clean Air Act. Its performance standards were behind newer plants and it lacked adequate pollution controls.

RC Cape May Holdings acquired the plant in 2007, but the company's plans to upgrade the facility for longterm use never materialized. Some of its older units were shut down in the last decade and the plant was sold last year to Beesley's Point Development Group.

Wildwood Video Archive reported that the demolition of the plant's structures costs about $13 million. The goal is to have the site cleared by 2024.

Beesley's Point Development Group is exploring the redevelopment of the 350-acre site as a possible marina with a hotel, restaurants and shops.