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Extension RCA Redevelopment Rights on HRA Agenda Mon. 4/24/23 1 pm

Apr 23, 2023
Charles F. Guyon Building Harrison NJ

The Harrison Redevelopment Agency (HRA) is set to convene a meeting on Monday, April 24, 2023, at 1 p.m. to discuss the extension until February 1, 2028, of “the term of the amended and restated redevelopment agreement” with BRG Harrison Lofts Urban Renewal LLC. (BRG Harrison Lofts). The meeting will be via Zoom. More detailed information on Zoom below.

BRG Harrison Lofts was granted by the Harrison Planning Board at a Special meeting in July of 2022 Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan Approval of a 485 Apartment Building on the city block that was one of the former Radio Corporation of America (RCA) Buildings.  BRG Harrison Lofts was designated as the Redeveloper of the RCA property back almost ten years ago in October of 2013.

Unlike other Designed Developers who have been granted extensions because of financial issues and/or labor disputes, BRG Harrison Lofts had a very sympathetic reason why it needed an extension and a restatement of its designation as the redeveloper of the RCA Property.  The RCA Property was contaminated with mercury which was used in the production of television tubes back when the health risks of mercury were not evident.  Mercury is highly toxic and the United States Environmental Protection Agency determined that the buildings on the former RCA Property had to be demolished and the site decontaminated.

In March 2020, HRA and BRG Harrison Lofts entered into an Amended and Restated Redevelopment Agreement. The terms of the amended Redevelopment Agreement provided, among of items, the extension of the rights to redevelop until February 1, 2026. 

Even though there are two years and two months left before the extension of the amended Redevelopment Agreement expires, BRG Harrison Lofts has requested an additional extension in a letter dated April 17, 2023, to HRA. The April 17, 2023 letter from BRG Harrison Lofts was not provided in the Agenda package from HRA so it is not clear why BRG Harrison Lofts is seeking the extension at this time.  BRG Harrison Lofts has requested an additional extension until February 1, 2028.  If granted and the entire period is used before completion of the proposed 485 Apartment building is completed there would be the passage of over 14 years since the initial designation of BRG Harrison Lofts as the developer.

The delay in completing the BRG Harrison Lofts building does bring a reprieve to the residents of the neighborhood surrounding the building.  The lack of parking in the neighborhood will not be further aggravated by the lack of parking spaces built into the building’s plan.  Under the current building plans, there would be a shortage of parking spaces if you assume one vehicle per apartment. Most households have two vehicles which would mean an additional 970 cars requiring a parking spot and only 335 parking spaces onsite.  Therefore, there would be 635 vehicles looking for a parking space on the street.

Another issue that the HRA should require as part of the terms of the extension of the Redevelopment Rights by BRG Harrison Lofts is that it should remove the barriers that are taking up scarce parking on Bergen Street between South 5th Street and Sixth Street.  The barrier was put in place for the demolition work being supervised by EPA to provide an additional space during demolition but if no demolition is being conducted it is no longer necessary.

An additional item on the HRA Agenda is a Resolution to obtain the services of a Document Management Company for Record Retention and Disposal.

The meeting will be held via Zoom video conferencing software. To attend the meeting log in before 1 p.m. using this Zoom link.  You can load the Zoom application on your phone and if you click the link, it will automatically use your Zoom App to access the meeting.

To join via telephone, you can dial 1 646 876 9923 (you might not need the leading 1) and enter when prompted the Webinar ID: 876 4195 6136 and Passcode 085501.  To raise your hand to speak press *9

Members of the public can ask questions, and make suggestions or comments during the Public Session of the Meeting.  Since the Meeting is being held over Zoom, it is necessary to use the “Raise Your Hand” feature in Zoom to alert the Secretary of HRA that you wish to participate in the Public Session. The Chairman of HRA, Harrison Mayor James Fife will open up the meeting to the Public at which time you can speak if you had your virtual “Hand” raised.

Other HRA Articles:

EPA Toxic Sludge Plan Worse Than Expected And It Was Already Bad

True or False: Mayor Fife Says It’s Up To EPA & PSE&G

What are your thoughts on the abandonment of the requirement that the developer provides at least 1 parking space per unit built?  What are your thoughts on EPA’s plan to dewater Dioxin sludge from the Passaic River in the former PSEG Gas Works plant designated for a Community Center and Park? Let Us Know Your Thoughts on our Community Discussion Board.  If you have not signed up yet to participate you can Sign Up now.