Metro Rahway will be the next development in Rahway to begin leasing. The 116-unit rental development on Campbell Street is shooting for an Oct. 1 opening — “at the latest” — but possibly by mid-September, according to Clay Bonny of East Hanover-based Heartstone Development.
Commissioners last week approved a fourth amendment to the redevelopment agreement for the 116-unit project (Resolution 12-14). Redevelopment Agency attorney Frank Regan said the additional $100,000 will be payable over five years, and is the result of the agency’s assistance with the project, including development of the PILOT and other issues.
Developers of Metro Rahway are scheduled to pay $145,000 once the first Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) is issued, which could be by August or September.
Another three redevelopment agreements could be presented to the Redevelopment Agency for approval at its March meeting: the Fulton Street project, the Slokker property at Lot B, and the artist housing development in the former Elizabethtown Gas Building.
The Redevelopment Agency anticipates revenues of about $720,000 in redevelopment fees from various redevelopment agreements this year, according to Regan.
The 108-unit Meridia Water’s Edge will owe the agency $500,000, payable upon the first final Certificate of Occupancy (CO) and no later than six months after the first temporary CO is issued.
The 115-unit Lafayette Village, which is expected to file building permits in the coming weeks, would be due to pay $75,000 in fees within six months after the first permit is issued.
The Redevelopment Agency approved a $215,000 settlement with A&M Industrial Supply last month, a year after the company filed suit in a dispute over relocation assistance.
A&M had been located on Campbell Street between Elm Avenue and West Cherry Street until last year when the property was acquired as part of the 116-unit Metro Rahway development that broke ground this summer. The Redevelopment Agency discussed the litigation in closed session during several of its meetings this year, including a 30-minute closed session at its Nov. 13 meeting.
A&M, which is still located in Rahway, filed suit in November 2012 seeking $300,000 and the settlement came about after court-ordered mediation in October. The agency will be required to make the $215,000 payment by the end of the year but admits no fault, Redevelopment Agency attorney Frank Regan said.
A&M Industrial claimed that the agency, through Executive Director Peter Pelissier, agreed to provide relocation assistance in conjunction with selling their property to Heartstone Development. However, Regan said commissioners never formally approved and authorized payment nor was the agency ever obligated to provide assistance since it was not acquiring the property.
The only times the agency has provided relocation assistance in the past has been when it acquired properties itself, he said, such as the former Bell Drugs property on Irving Street for the YMCA’s expansion and as part of the Rosegate project on East Hazelwood Avenue. In the case of Metro Rahway, Heartstone Development acquired the parcels for the project, including the 1.56-acre A&M site on Campbell Street.
The dispute has its origins in 2005 when A&M Supply — after learning a few years earlier that its property was part of a redevelopment plan — sought relocation assistance from the Redevelopment Agency. The economic downturn delayed the project, including several changes to the plans, and A&M at times was not prepared to relocate, needing to find a suitable new location, according to the lawsuit. Heartstone acquired the A&M site in 2012 and got the project moving again.
A&M was close to securing a new property that it had to close on by February 2013, according to the lawsuit, when in October 2012 it had been advised that the Redevelopment Agency would not be providing assistance, prompting the litigation.
A&M’s suit claimed that a Nov. 7, 2005 letter from Pelissier confirmed that the agency had adopted a resolution authorizing a redevelopment agreement with Heartstone that included $300,000 in relocation assistance. Minutes of the Redevelopment Agency’s Dec. 15, 2005 meeting indicate that commissioners were presented with the Nov. 7 letter from Pelissier to A&M, however, there’s no record of a resolution being approved.
Initially, A&M sought more funds, pointing to similar relocations in Carteret that received between $600,000 and $700,000 in assistance. The company claimed that Pelissier presented its request for additional funds to commissioners and a Dec. 22, 2005 letter to the firm indicated that its request was rejected, with the $300,000 offered previously being “all the funds that will be allocated.” The Redevelopment Agency, however, was unable to find records of executive session minutes going back to 2005.
Construction has officially started at Metro Rahway, the 116-unit rental complex near the train station, and is expected to be ready for leasing in “late spring 2014,” according to this report. The four-story, $18-million project on Campbell Street between Elm Avenue and West Cherry Street will replace the A&M Industrial Supply building, which was demolished in June. A&M Supply was still in litigation with the Redevelopment Agency over relocation compensation and appeared headed for mediation last month.
Three, five-story buildings containing almost 250 rental apartments would replace The Center Circle and reconfigure parking and access around City Hall Plaza, according to a concept plan presented to the Redevelopment Agency last week.