By Ron Leir
Five law firms are in the mix to become “special redevelopment counsel” for Nutley in negotiations with the departing Roche Co. for the terms of the real estate future of that property.
The township solicited “Requests for Qualification” from lawyers for the job and received five responses, according to Township Clerk Evelyn Rosario.
Those firms that responded were:
• McManimon, Scotland & Baumann of Roseland.
• DeCotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole of Teaneck.
• Waters, McPherson, McNeil of Secaucus.
• Scarinci & Hollenbeck of Lyndhurst.
• Inglesino, Pearlman, Wyciskala & Taylor of Parsippany.
As outlined by a posting on the township’s web site, the firm that is chosen will be expected to deal with “… preparation of any ordinances, resolutions, contracts, proposals, and specifications, written opinions or any other documents necessary to assist the Township in its efforts to redevelop the property or any matters ancillary to the redevelopment.
“In addition, counsel may be required to attend meetings of the Board of Commissioners, the repurposing or redevelopment meetings at [Roche], and meetings with legal counsel and employees of the Township ….”
Also, counsel “… may be assigned to advise, consult with, and/or represent the Township and/or its officials in these or related matters” and “… shall also be required to assist the Township in obtaining a tax or revenue sharing agreement with the City of Clifton, including negotiations with Clifton, the Counties of Passaic and Essex and the State of New Jersey.”
The five firms’ submissions are being reviewed by the township’s Revenue and Finance Director, CFO and auditor and will be evaluated on the basis of “management criteria, technical criteria, cost and past experience.
Township Attorney Alan Genitempo said the special counsel will advise township officials on all matters related to the Swiss-owned drug company property’s redevelopment, such as zoning considerations, land uses, and how those considerations relate to Roche’s adjoining property in Clifton.
A joint repurposing committee, comprised of representatives from Nutley and Clifton, along with Roche, has selected the global design firm of Perkins Eastman to come up with three redevelopment options for the property.
Those conceptual plans are “still in the drafting phase,” Genitempo said.
Currently, the property is zoned M1 for manufacturing uses, “but ultimately it may have to be rezoned,” Genitempo noted.
Roche figures to “sell the property to a qualified purchaser when a redevelopment plan is in place and we’re working towards that goal,” Genitempo said.
No timetable has been set for the consultant to complete the design options but Roche – which employs about 1,000 fulltime workers and an additional 1,000 part-time and seasonal workers – has announced it plans to shut down New Jerseybased operations by the end of 2013 and vacate the property by 2015.
Nutley, which figures to collect about $10 million in real estate taxes from Roche this year, is hoping to make up for that significant revenue loss when the redevelopment plan comes to fruition.
In the meantime, Roche is proceeding with an environmental remediation effort, evaluating soil and groundwater conditions on and near its property, with the expectation of leaving a clean site.