It was hard for Palmyra Administrator John J. Gural not to get a bit emotional as he acknowledged the many public and private partnerships he’s made in building the Route 73 South Redevelopment Area.
“This is the culmination of really, I guess, my professional dreams that I have had since I have been involved with the borough of Palmyra,” said the former councilman and mayor, noting he was first elected to office in 1994. “Since then, this is what it has been about.”
A groundbreaking ceremony for Phase II of the Tac-Pal Logistics Center was held in October.
“Everybody who’s familiar with this project understands what it does for the borough of Palmyra,” Gural noted. “We have two PILOTS, Payment in Lieu of Taxes, paying the borough $2 million annually. In a town whose annual budget this year was just north of $10 million, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what sort of impact that has on the quality of life for our residents.
“It’s not just that though, it’s jobs … potentially hundreds of jobs.”
Applications ran out at a Tac-Pal Logistics Center job fair for Palmyra residents.
The borough and its longtime, dedicated partners, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the Fair Share Housing Center, the Burlington County Bridge Commission and the Burlington County Board of County Commissioners have been focused on building the Route 73 South Redevelopment Area into a successful public/private partnership, one benefiting the entire region.
It was in 2003 that the site was first declared a Brownfields Development Area by the (DEA) Department of Environmental Protection. The largest sites of the Route 73 project area consist of 65 acres for the National Amusements Inc. site and 104 acres of the Fillit Corporation landfill site.
Phase I included the building of a 700,000-square-foot Tac-Pal Logistics Center warehouse on the National Amusements site, a former World War II Army training ground. The warehouse was built last year.
Phase II includes the building of another 700,000-square-foot Tac-Pal building on the Fillit property. In addition, 102 affordable-housing units will be built and there will be 34 acres of open space, including wetlands and shoreland restoration.
David Haymes, assistant DEP commissioner of the Contaminated Site Remediation & Redevelopment Program, said he’s excited to see trails connect from the new affordable- housing development to Palmyra Cove Nature Center and the Delaware River.
“We’re taking 170 acres of Brownfield redevelopment here and keeping greenfields, greenfields … that is not what used to happen,” Haymes noted, adding that although warehouses are being built on the site, it does not take away from acreage elsewhere.
Mayor Gina Ragomo Tait said the groundbreaking in October has been a long time coming.
“It’s so exciting to see the hard work that was put into (the redevelopment) and getting it off the ground,” she stated, adding that no one wanted to touch the property prior to 20 years ago.
The designated redevelopment team includes Palmyra Urban Renewal Entity LLC (PURE), comprised of managing members Glenn Stock of Stock Development Group Inc. and Jay Wolfkind of Cherokee Equities LLC, and their partners, Sansone Group and Crow Holdings. They worked together to obtain the extensive federal, state and local approvals necessary to begin redevelopment.