Unexpected cleanup for Main Street proposal

Unexpected environmental remediation could derail, or at least delay, a proposed three-building development planned for The Center Circle property on Main Street.

In his report submitted to Redevelopment Agency commissioners ahead of their monthly meeting last night, Executive Director Peter Pelissier said the developer has uncovered a plume of contamination located some 12 to 20 feet below the facility’s canvass tents. Representatives of The Center Circle told him that the cleanup cost, extensive delays and possible down time associated with it could throw the project “into a tailspin.”

Lavellette-based AST Development first proposed a 248-unit complex last summer and is in negotiations to purchase the 3.5-acre site to build Rahway Main Street, LLC. An environmental review uncovered gasoline contamination, which Pelissier described as a “hot spot” that does not encompass the entire property. However, remediation was not necessary as part of the original plans.

The cleanup cost could run as much as $1 million, he said, but the developer will seek a proposal to get an accurate estimate. The project could be an ideal candidate for a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) to help a developer deal with added costs of environmental remediation but also because the property is not among Rahway’s designated Brownfield Development Areas (BDA), which are eligible for state funds.

Redevelopment officials are meeting this week with both the buyer and seller to determine how much they could be willing to put into the project to cover cleanup costs. The Center Circle was built about 15 years ago, Pelissier said, and prior to that the there was nothing but woods on the property.

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