Agency awards appraisal contract for homes

The Redevelopment Agency last month awarded a contract to Woodbridge-based Prime Appraisal, Inc. to perform appraisals on three Hamilton Street properties eyed for future parking related to Arts District projects.

The contract is for $6,000, or no more than $2,000 to appraise each property, all of which are two-family homes:
* 318-320 Hamilton St. (Block 167, Lot 43), which paid about $7,500 in property taxes last year, and last sold in November 1998 for $135,000, according to PropertyShark.com.
* 332-336 Hamilton St. (Block 167, Lot 41), which last year paid about $7,000 in property taxes, but the most recent sale price was not available.
* 342-344 Hamilton St. (Block 167, Lot 40), which paid about $6,300 in property taxes and last changed hands in November 1995 for $124,000.

The Redevelopment Agency last month agreed to pursue a 220-seat black box theater for the former Bell Telephone Building, awarding a $5.825-million bid to Gingerelli Bros, Inc. of Toms River. The agency put off construction of a 1,300-seat amphitheater and instead will move forward with a parking lot on the former Hamilton Laundry site in the meantime.

One home adjacent to the proposed amphitheater site already has been razed, after the agency acquired it for $340,000 in 2008, and another is set to be knocked down after the City Council approved $400,000 for acquisition ($240,000) and demolition and related asbestos and tank removal.