From 615 River Road Partners
Edgewater Development Will Provide Many Benefits To the Borough While Providing Desired Improvements At No Cost To Taxpayers
Mayor, Council Seek to Condemn Valuable Waterfront Property
For Immediate Release August 21, 2017
(Edgewater, NJ ) If the Borough of Edgewater follows through on its plans to condemn 18.7 acres of riverfront property slated for redevelopment, it will be turning its back on a project that will provide a tax revenue windfall to the borough along with many amenities that will serve the residents for decades, say the developers of a mixed use development known as 615 River Road.
The developer — 615 River Road Partners LLC – says the Edgewater mayor and council are rejecting a project that will add $12.3 million a year in taxes to the borough coffers, and provide the borough with two multi-acre public parks, a riverfront promenade with a cafe and shops, a bus super stop and ferry service to Manhattan.
“This 18 acre site is the most valuable piece of developable property left on the Jersey Gold Coast. It is unfathomable how the mayor and council of Edgewater can in good conscience reject this project without even coming to the table to talk to the property owners about the tremendous benefits it will provide to the community,” said Thom Ammirato, a spokesman for the developer.
“The mayor and council are walking away from significant property tax relief for their residents and shunning amenities for the borough that the mayor and council say they want — and that could be provided to the borough at no cost to taxpayers,” added the spokesman.
The council entertained the second reading of a bond ordinance on Monday, (August 21) allocating $25 million for the purchase of the site through an attempted eminent domain condemnation proceeding.
Ammirato said the borough council’s allocation is far short of true market value of the waterfront property. The mixed use development proposal would be built on the former Hess Corporation’s petroleum terminal site, which was acquired by 615 River Road Partners and responsibly remediated to the highest residential standards.
“For some unexplained reason the council is being encouraged to follow a path that will force the borough to spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to try to stop a project that would put an end to the towns’ escalating property tax increases,” said Ammirato”.
Property taxes in Edgewater have climbed from an average of $6,782 per household in 2012 to $8,183 per household in 2016, an increase of more than 20 percent. Condemning the River Road property will eliminate the tax revenue the borough now receives from the property owners. approximately $400,000 and eliminate any future tax revenue from the site.
Ammirato said Mayor Michael McPartland’s stated intention to take the valuable waterfront property to be used the future home of a new borough public works garage is difficult to accept at face value.
“It makes no rational economic sense for an elected official to support spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to buy a piece of land to erect a public works garage for a town that has only 13 public works employees,” said Ammirato. “With the revenue generated from the proposed development the mayor and council can build a new public works garage anywhere they wanted.”
The spokesman added that not only would the proposed project give the borough the open space and waterfront access that the mayor and council want, but would also help the borough meet is state mandated affordable housing obligation.
New Jersey’s Fair Share Housing Center has been critical of Edgewater’s efforts to meet its affordable housing requirements and has accused the borough of undermining its affordable-housing obligations by attempting to condemn the 615 River Road property. Edgewater, like many Bergen County municipalities is working with a court-appointed master to determine how much affordable housing it must provide.