At the Monday, Aug. 19 regular meeting of Palmyra Council, council authorized the execution of a conditional redeveloper designation and interim cost agreement with Stock Development Group, a real estate company borough officials would like to partner with to advance the Route 73 redevelopment project.
At the top of the meeting, residents were introduced to Glen Stock, a representative from the company who came to answer questions about their approach to redevelopment projects.
According to Stock, his company primarily works with Brownfield Development Areas in New Jersey like the Route 73 site.
“You have an opportunity zone here which is extremely attractive to investors across the country,” said Stock. “I’m very excited to be here. I’ve had an opportunity to meet with some of your outside professionals, ERM and others, so I’m very excited to formalize a relationship to begin due diligence and start looking at the details of what might possibly go on the property.”
The area is not without considerable hurdles that will need to be overcome before development can take place. Just last year NJDEP filed suit against Fillit Corp. for waste left at the former site of its landfill that lies within the redevelopment area.
According to Stock, he operates in a “unique marketplace” that keeps many of the institutional investors away. He cited his environmental background claiming he specializes in projects like this, involving specific environmental hurdles.
“I typically go in, do all the due diligence, do all the underwriting and take it through remediation to the point where it is safe to go ahead and build vertically,” said Stock.
This is where the focus should be at this point, says Stock, preparing the area for development. When it comes to future use, he could speak in abstract possibilities this early on.
“I think we’re looking at potentially over a million square feet of industrial development, potentially some retail. I know the borough has a desire to potentially put some affordable housing there,” said Stock.
He will be taking the next 120 days to perform this due diligence before he can get the scope of the project and be able to articulate it to capital partners.
“When we began our conversations with Mr. Stock, we talked about several different things that were important to the borough – first of all was sustainability. We don’t want a situation where we end up with empty storefronts so the market research and analysis is critical to whatever the ultimate end result of this redevelopment might be,” said Mayor Michelle Arnold.
The mayor also spoke about the possibility of including some areas for open space where the Palmyra Nature Cove trails end and the National Amusements site begins.
Resident Bob Rader approached council during public portion to express his support for the project.
“Development of the Route 73 corridor has been ongoing for 17 years. Due to Mayor Arnold’s and Mr. Gural’s efforts, this is the first active developer in about 10 years. It should be supported and expedited,” said Rader.
He requested that council keep the public updated on the project as it progresses. Arnold pointed out that redevelopment meetings are held once a month where updates will be provided.
The next redevelopment meeting is scheduled for Oct. 7.