LYNDHURST/ NORTH ARLINGTON –
At one time, the Kingsland meadowlands tract was to be the site for a giant development: a sprawling golf course, then luxury apartments and hotels, to be built by EnCap Golf Holdings.
But EnCap went bust in 2008, leaving in its wake Lyndhurst, North Arlington and Rutherford with millions in debt – instead of dividends – resulting from public obligations linked to the project, endorsed by the then-New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. After the deal collapsed, the property reverted to the NJMC.
Last Thursday, the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority – which has absorbed the NJMC – hoped to make up for that debacle by voting to sell 718 acres of the former Kingsland landfill property to Kingsland Development LLC, of Carteret, for $42.5 million.
At the same time, the NJSEA commissioners stipulated that if the designated buyer “does not close [the real estate deal] in a reasonable period of time,” then the property will go to Valleybrook 2014 LLC, reportedly owned by Hampshire Partners VII I LLC, for $40 million. The resolution authorizing the sale did not explain what was meant by a “reasonable period of time” to complete negotiations on terms for the sale of the property.
Nor did the resolution outline the two bid proposals submitted by the rival firms to the NJMC on Oct. 8, 2014, in response to a “bid offering memorandum” for the sale of the property the NJMC issued on May 22, 2014.
Brian Aberback, a spokesman for the NJSEA, said he could offer nothing further on the transaction.
However, Lisa Kaplan, a spokeswoman for Russo Development of Carlstadt told The Observer that Kingsland Development LLC is “a joint venture between Russo Development and Forsgate Industrial Partners” of Teterboro.
Omer Mir Ahmed, senior vice president for acquisitions for Russo Development, released a statement, saying, in part, that, “Our initial plans for the property is a largescale mixed-use commercial development consisting of industrial warehouse and distribution park, data centers, and solar fields which is consistent with the uses stipulated in the redevelopment plan.
“This is one of the best large-scale development properties in the Meadowlands and all of New Jersey and even though we still need to perform an extensive amount of due diligence before we decide to close on the property, we went through a very competitive process to … win the deal ….”
In recent years, Russo Development has been building a series of multi-unit residential projects, completing one in Lyndhurst and in the process of completing another in Harrison and another in Kearny.
Forsgate Industrial Partners’ website describes the firm as a “private real estate developer and investor that owns and manages over 10 million square feet of industrial buildings.”
In other business at last week’s meeting, the NJSEA commissioners voted to grant a bulk variance to JERC Partners XXVIII LLC to permit 1.5 parking spaces per market rate unit for a 218-unit residential development proposed for 120 Chubb Ave.
However, approval was granted, conditional on the applicant satisfying these mandates:
• Setting aside at least 60% of the market rate apartments as one-bedroom units.
• Submitting a parking man agement plan for residents and visitors.
• Providing an “ongoing, direct connection to mass transit opportunities, including local commuter rail stations, as well as the NJ Transit bus stop at the intersection of Polito and Rutherford Aves.
The applicant shall either institute their own shuttle service or coordinate with Meadowlink for the use of the Lyndhurst Shuttle Service, including the applicant’s fair share contribution towards same … prior to the issuance of any occupancy approvals.” The applicant’s zoning certificate application is pending review, according to Aberback.