By Ron Leir
The tax break for Kearny Point Industrial Park – or, at least, the first in what’s likely to be a series of such financial concessions – is a done deal.
Kearny’s governing body voted in special session Dec. 29 to approve an ordinance granting a 30-year PILOT (payment in lieu of taxation) for an existing warehouse known as Building 78 on John Miller Way.
Plans by the Kearny Point principals call for the rehabilitation of the 207,000 square foot warehouse into eight condominium “flex spaces,” each of which would accommodate separate tenants.
When the building is fully developed, the town – which currently collects about $60,000 in taxes for the property – figures to net at least $311,636 for the first year of the PILOT, of which it will pocket $296,064, with the rest going to the county. But the town won’t be seeing all of that at once.
As explained by Thomas Banker, financial adviser to Kearny Point, “The expectation is that construction will begin by mid-January with the earliest occupancy [of the initial flex space] by Hugo Neu Recycling [relocating from Mt. Vernon, N.Y.] by April 2015.”
Banker said the “first PILOT” will “kick in” after the town issues a certificate of occupancy (CO) for the recycling tenant who will be taking over 65,000 square feet of interior space (or 72,000 square feet, counting some overlap of “common elements” of the building).
“The other condominium units will still be subject to conventional taxation,” Banker told the mayor and council, based on a “distribution of [tax] assessments across the entire property. … We hope that you’ll be getting PILOTs as the other commercial units get their COs.”
Banker said that Kearny Point owner Wendy Neu will be filing an application with the state Department of Community Affairs for the proposed commercial condo units “right after” New Year’s and approval is anticipated “in a matter of weeks.”
Sometime during January, Banker added, Kearny Point should be getting word on applications filed with the N.J. Economic Development Authority for a “Grow New Jersey” grant to support the Neu Recycling condo project and with the N.J. Environmental Infrastructure Trust fund to help finance water and sewer main improvements for the entire industrial park site.
So far, no other tenants have been secured for the site but Banker said that the owner is very close to signing leases with at least two prospective occupants.
Meanwhile, in other business conducted at the Dec. 29 meeting, the mayor and council approved a $2 million general improvement bond ordinance proposing to borrow:
• $600,000 for an unspecified number of patrol sport utility vehicles with equipment for the Police Department.
• $400,000 for the acquisition/ installation of fiber optic and computer infrastructure town-wide to tie into police surveillance cameras.
• $350,000 for a dump truck, pickup truck and utility van for Public Works.
• $350,000 for equipment and turnout gear for the Fire Department.
• $300,000 for computer infrastructure and equipment for the Police Department.
Dep. Police Chief George King said the department is looking to purchase up to 12 Ford Explorer Police Interceptors, plus light bars, cages, radio consoles, e-ticket units and computer mounts. And, he said, the department desperately needs to update its computer servers and software. The governing body also:
• Awarded a $1,444,980 contract to Reivax Contracting Corp. of Newark to resurface Midland Ave., between Kearny and Schuyler Aves., and approved a $1 million bond ordinance for water utility infrastructure improvements for Midland.
• Belatedly accepted a memorandum of understanding that sets conditions for the town’s receipt of transitional aid from the state.
• Set a developer’s contribution to the town for flood/ drainage improvements as $33,333 in connection with an approved townhouses project on Tappan St. and $63,333 related to a proposed factory rehab project that was rejected by the Planning Board.
• Agreed to pay an additional $20,626, mostly for new fencing, for the Kearny Public Library Reading Garden project. The original $245,000 contract, partly subsidized by a $150,000 Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund grant, was awarded to Lou’s Landscaping of Wayne. Library Director Josh Humphrey said he’s planning to hold several children’s events and adult music programs in the space in the spring.