Town prodded on lease terms, bus shelters


The Kearny municipal governing body dealt with a complaint by a developer about a delayed project and a query by a senior citizen about bus shelters at last week’s meeting.

During the public portion of the meeting, Gus Milano, president/COO of Hartz Mountain Industries, griped that the town was holding up approval for an “estoppel” agreement for a prospective tenant.

An estoppel, in commercial real estate, is a certified statement by a tenant that verifies the terms and conditions and current status of his/her lease and this is regarded as a critical step leading to the underwriting of a commercial real estate loan.

Hartz, the designated redeveloper of a 26-acre meadows tract bordering the Keegan landfill, has spent $15 million to clean up the site and install a leachate collection system to prep the site for a commercial use, Milano said.

The Kearny Planning Board has approved plans for construction of a 51,871-square foot industrial building that Hartz proposes to lease to Cummins Power Systems for the repair of diesel trucks and for training employees and the construction is ongoing.

Hartz has also proposed installing a new traffic signal at the entrance to the proposed new facility at the driveway entrance to the project site at 435 Bergen Ave. There would be 40 on-site parking spaces for employees working two shifts.

“We did everything the town asked us to do,” Milano said.

Hartz has projected a second tenant whose identity it has yet to disclose, according to Town Administrator/Construction Code Official Michael Martello.

James Bruno, the town’s attorney, said there are “two parallel leases” involved in the project and the one involving the 26-acre tract “has a different third party with different implications.”

Bruno said the town “has offered four ways to settle” the estoppel dilemma “in a way that doesn’t have a negative impact on the town.” But he said he could provide no further details because of “litigation potentials.”

Milano said that he has a tenant ready to occupy the site by June 1 but that without the completed estoppel, “I can’t close my loan. I don’t know what you want from us.” He asked the town to reconsider its position at its next council meeting.

Mayor Alberto Santos said: “The town did work with you on getting you redevelopment rights [for the Bergen Ave. parcel] and to accommodate your driveway. We’ve shown good faith but we’re also following the advice of our counsel.”

Councilwoman Susan McCurrie, who works as an attorney for Hudson County, added: “We shouldn’t be litigating the matter here.”

In the other issue brought to the governing body, town resident Amadis Jiminez asked why N.J. Transit has provided “only one bus shelter” along Kearny Ave., the town’s main bus route.

He said the shelters were especially helpful to local seniors during inclement weather in particular.

“There are six in North Arlington [along Ridge Road],” Jiminez noted.

Santos said the transit agency “won’t install” shelters unless the bus stop is a certain size and “most [of Kearny’s designated bus stops] don’t have those dimensions.”

To achieve the desired dimensions, the mayor said, “we’d have to expand the yellow lines but that means losing parking spaces.”

However, the mayor said the town would take another look at the resident’s request to see what, if anything, could be done.

– Ron Leir


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