Top 10 property taxpayers

The top 10 taxpayers in Rahway make up about a fifth of the city’s total assessed value. As part of an $11.65-million bond sale in the spring, the city put together a slew of documents on the city’s debt and tax assessments for ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.

Details of the bond sale, as they relate to redevelopment, will be included in an upcoming post. For now, here are the top 10 property taxpayers in the city (here it is an Excel file, maybe easier to read), followed by the total assessed value of their property (or properties):

Merck & Co., Inc. — $249,669,700
Carriage City Properties, LLC — $27,128,400
Park Terrace at Rahway, LLC — $6,684,500
Giacobbe Investments Corp. — $5,762,400
Alard Realty Enterprises — $5,477,900
Renaissance at Rahway, LLC — $5,362,800
Woodbridge Plaza, LLC — $4,329,500
Rahway Industrial Site — $4,296,900
Ninette Group — $3,659,600
New Jersey Bell — $3,576,279
TOTAL — $315,947,979

In some cases, like Merck and Giacobbe Investments Corp., the total figure includes multiple parcels, while for others, it’s just one property, like Renaissance, Park Terrace and Woodbridge Plaza.

“The city’s tax base has experienced, what we consider, limited, but stable, growth; it increased by just 2.1 percent since fiscal 2007 to $1.55 billion in fiscal 2010,” according to the S&P report. It considered the city’s per-capita market value of $134,775 “extremely strong.” Officials expect a tax base reduction for the subsequent year, according to the report. While the tax base is diverse with the 10 leading taxpayers accounting for 21.2 percent of assessed valuation (AV), Merck alone accounted for 17 percent of AV in fiscal 2010. Total assessed valuation is $1,486,291,000 in 2011, down 3.8 percent from $1,545,974,600 in 2010, according to the report.

Primarily due to a tax appeal by Merck (the first in more than 20 years) and to a lesser extent the economic downturn, the tax base will likely decline by 4 percent to $1.49 billion in fiscal 2011, according to the report. The city has settled the tax appeal and will repay about $1.6 million over the next three years.

There are a few more interesting (at least to me) statistics within the documents, as well as details of the bond sale, that I’ll post soon.


ABC 7 News‘ Neighborhood Eats paid a visit to Rahway recently, checking out Patria Restaurant and Mixology Lounge on West Main Street. A 2:41 report on the new eatery aired Friday, featuring a tilapia dish.

Cops begin moving into police center

The Police Department is expected to begin moving into the new police assistance center on East Cherry Street this week. Police Chief John Rodger said the Police Auxiliary, which had typically used the basement of City Hall, already has started using the facility.

Continue reading Cops begin moving into police center

East Cherry Street demolition tab = $75,000

The City Council tonight approved an emergency contract for the demolition of 65 E. Cherry St., which occurred last month. Frank Lurch Demolition Co. of Asbury Park was awarded the $75,000 contract.

Continue reading East Cherry Street demolition tab = $75,000

Art gallery/tattoo parlor gets approval

A combination art gallery and tattoo parlor gained approval from the Redevelopment Agency. Times Of Grace would be located at 1417 Main St., previously occupied on occasion by a Jackson Hewitt Tax Service office.

Robert Mankowski and his wife, Hayley, made a presentation to commissioners at the agency’s monthly meeting this week. Both are graduates of the University of The Arts in Philadelphia and have had their work shown around the nation.

Director of Community Development and Redevelopment Agency Secretary Cindy Solomon told commissioners that a resolution would be necessary not for the art gallery but the tattoo parlor planned to go with it. A tattoo parlor is not a permitted use in the business district so a resolution was required by the Redevelopment Agency, similar to when Rose City Tattoos moved in on West Main Street.

The fine arts gallery would be visible from the street but the tattoo parlor would be in the rear of the space and by appointment only, said Mankowski, who would be the lone tattoo artist. He aims to avoid a stereotypical tattoo parlor that people might think of when they think of tattoos (“No neon signs”), but instead draw people inside through the artwork on display.

A couple of commissioners preferred that the art gallery be more prominent than the tattoo parlor in any signage, and that the resolution also specific the limited number of tattoo artists and the fact that it would be by appointment only.

Mankowski, who first hand-draws each custom tattoo, hopes to open the gallery/tattoo parlor later this summer.

Beana’s Mexican gets two stars

The Star-Ledger/ on Friday had a review of Beana’s Para Siempre restaurant on St. Georges Avenue. (Para siempre, by the way, means “forever” in Spanish; I had to look it up).

Of course, one of the first things mentioned is the decor (which really is one of a kind):

“You’d shriek if you stumbled onto this restaurant along a dusty stretch of Route 66, pulling out your camera to document your touristy luck to your disbelieving friends. The place is thoroughly fun and kitschy, its walls crammed with 70-year-old license plates, sombreros, commemorative dishware, velvet paintings of bullfights and countless crosses, lizards and chili pepper lights.”

Not sure what it says about a review that spends so much time waxing about Census figures and decor though. In the end, Bean’s got two stars through the appetizers (chorizo, flaky empanadas) seemed to be a bigger hit than the entrees (standbys that you’d expect), and there were some drawbacks: “The kitchen is too cozy with salt, even for those who consider salt a friend. The salsa disappoints, and service is inconsistent. And no, you can’t order a margarita.” (Always good to have BYO options though.)

“Beana’s is fun, and perhaps offers a taste of what’s to come: an ever-evolving mashup of Mexican and American, even if that means the quite unexpected…”

At last count, there were more than 50 reviews aggregated on the restaurant’s Google listing, coming through Yelp, Urban Spoon, Yahoo! and others. What do you think?