The Savoy at a standstill

Just a few months after steel began to rise at The Savoy, the developer that’s heading up several projects in the city has apparently run into unspecified “economic difficulties.”

Dornoch Management has “run into economic difficulties and not produced any work as has been obvious,” Redevelopment Director/City Administrator Peter Pelissier said at the last Redevelopment Agency meeting (Oct. 1). He declined to elaborate further and calls to Dornoch’s Hillside offices seeking comment were not returned.
It’s been mentioned to me that as many as eight of The Savoy’s 36 units are under contract but a recent finding of an underground oil tank also presents delays. It’s not a “death knell” but work has stopped, according to someone familiar with the project. The Savoy has been delayed in the past by archaelogical findings on the site.

The Savoy doesn’t look all that different in recent weeks (above, left) than it did in July (below, right), or really even in February (below, left). Dornoch also is the developer on projects along East Cherry Street and the mixed-used arts project on Hamilton Street.

Pelissier also said he’s working with representatives to discuss acquiring Lot B and how to transfer the property, so the city, Parking Authority and Redevelopment Agency could work on a parking deck and consider the rest for a residential component of what was once proposed as The Westbury. If Dornoch does not decide to move forward, he said, the agency will choose a new developer. Dornoch has spent at least $6 million in the past two years acquiring 10 properties along Main Street for The Westbury, according to propertyshark.com.

Dornoch also has projects in Asbury Park, as well as Plainfield, where a senior center is scheduled for completion next October, according to a local blogger.

Rahway wouldn’t be the first town to hit a roadblock in this economy, as this Star-Ledger story indicated: The developer of a $100-million project with 320 apartments and an office and retail component in downtown Somerville can’t even get construction funding.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, steel continues to rise in downtown Morristown for a project with price ranges of $400,000 to $2.2 million. Officials claim to have half of its 73 units sold with occupancy expected by the end of next year, according to this report in the Daily Record.