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Back to Back: Redevelopment/Mayor & Council Thurs. Oct. 26, 2023

Oct 26, 2023
600 Frank E. Rodgers Blvd Harrison NJ

As previously reported in our article entitled Third Amendment With Extensions: Redevelopment Meeting article, the Harrison Redevelopment Agency met on Monday, October 23, 2023, at 1 p.m. to discuss the extension of deadlines for developers Accordia Harrison Urban Renewal LLC (Accordia) and Eastone Harrison Urban Renewal LLC. (Eastone) The following resolutions were on the Agenda.

  1. Resolution Approving Forthright Holdings LLC as the New Mortgage Lender For the Property at 600 South Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. (Block 133 Lots 1.03, 1.05, 1.06, and 1.07) and Authorizing Other Actions in Connection Therewith and
  2. Resolution Approving A Third Amendment to the Redevelopment Agreement For Property at 600 South Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. (Block 133, Lots 1.03 1.05, 1.06, and 1.07)

Just three days later on Thursday, October 26, 2023, the Harrison Redevelopment Agency will be reconvening at 2 p.m. for a Special Meeting to give the developers, Accordia, and Eastone even better terms than were proposed at Monday’s Redevelopment meeting. The Harrison Redevelopment Agency Meeting will be followed by a Special Mayor & Council meeting.

Missing Condominiums Provision Added

One change, which our previous article on Monday’s Harrison Redevelopment Agency’s meeting previously pointed out, was missing from the prior resolution.  The resolution now provides that a plan for Condominiums will be provided by September 1, 2024, for Phase II Buildings B and C.  It is not clear how the change from apartment units to Condominiums will impact the number of apartments in the project. The plan has a lot of apartments to spare since it has 894 residential units planned.  A new paragraph has been added to the Resolution stating “Eastone shall submit a new site plan for approval of Phase II on or before September 1, 2024, which shall include the dedication of some portion of the residential component to be designated for condominium ownership.”  Well, that is nice because if there is a change to condominiums then those units will pay Harrison property taxes and not PILOTS per what an expert on redevelopment stated at a prior meeting.

Extension of Deadlines Even Further

The revised Resolution extends Accordia’s deadline of completing construction of Building D from the previous resolution deadline of January 31, 2024 to April 30, 2024, an additional three months from the previously proposed extension.

Eastone’s extended deadline of January 1, 2024, for commencing construction of Phase II Buildings B and C has been further extended to June 1, 2025, one year and five months from the previously proposed extension.

Eastone’s extended deadline of April 30, 2026, to July 1, 2027, a one year and two months and a day extension from the previously proposed extension.  On top of the additional one year and two months and a day extension, there is a provision to extend the July 1, 2027 deadline for one year so long as Eastone has been diligently constructing the project. So the deadline would extend to July 1, 2028.

Eastone has one more extension to its previously proposed extensions related to Build E.  The original proposed extensions of commencement of construction remain at December 15, 2025, and completion of construction by December 31, 2027.  The only change is the addition of the provision that the December 31, 2027 deadline can be extended for one year so long as Eastone has been diligently constructing the project. So the deadline would extend to December 31, 2028.

Two other changes that are significant considering the amount of extensions the redevelopers on this project have gotten is the “Term” or in other words, the right of the developer to continue on this project was further extended for one more year to December 31, 2028.   The other change is the fixed deadline of January 31, 2024, to pave the extension of Cifelli Drive and South Fifth Street has been restated in the resolution as “within three (3) months of notice from the Town.” It is not clear why a fixed deadline has been changed to an unfixed deadline.

The Chairman of the Harrison Redevelopment Agency and Mayor of Harrison, James Fife, has previously stated that there would be no more extensions to the project at 600 South Frank E. Rodgers Blvd.  It appears that Mayor Fife has reneged on his “no more extensions”. Today is a monumental day for Accordia and Eastone.  It is assumed that the Harrison Redevelopment Agency will pass the resolutions as now re-written providing additional extensions of deadlines.

Mayor & Council Meeting

Following, the Harrison Redevelopment Agency meeting at 2 p.m. will be a 3 p.m. meeting of the Mayor & Council.  On the Mayor & Council Agenda is a Resolution and an Estoppel Agreement for Accordia and Eastone. Mayor Fife as Mayor and the Chairman of the Harrison Redevelopment Agency has invested considerable time in helping the developers of 600 South Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. continue with their project. 

Mayor Fife's Failure To Oppose EPA Toxic Sludge Dumping Plan

Mayor Fife has concentrated his time on the North Eastern side of the Harrison Redevelopment Zone but he needs to concentrate his time on the South Western part of the Harrison Redevelopment Zone, the former PSE&G Gas Works property which the Mayor stated at the August 29, 2022 Harrison Redevelopment Agency meeting was going to be used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the dewatering of dioxin laden cancer-causing Agent Orange sludge for a period of at least 10 years.

The latter will have devastating consequences greater than those faced by Accordia and Eastone in their project because the EPA dewatering plant is being placed in what is now a residential community across from recently built apartment buildings. 

In addition, it will deprive the residents of the Town of Harrison of a Community Center and Park with a U-shaped drop-off and pick-up area for the Path Station.  Why Mayor Fife has NOT opposed the project and why no member of the Town Council has NOT opposed the project is reprehensible, especially in light of what is at stake. Help the Developers but please help the residents who deserve to have a Community Center / Green Space and no more contamination in the Town of Harrison.

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