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Third Amendment With Extensions: Redevelopment Meeting Oct. 23, 2023

Oct 22, 2023
600 Frank E. Rodgers Blvd Harrison NJ

The Harrison Redevelopment Agency will hold its next meeting on Monday, October 23, 2023, at 1 p.m. The meeting will take place in person in the Mayor's Conference Room of the Harrison Town Hall, located at 318 Harrison Avenue, Harrison, NJ. It is important to note that this meeting will no longer be held over the Zoom video conference software. Please note that the Mayor's Conference Room is on the third floor as opposed to the Mayor & Council Chamber located on the 2nd Floor.

The Harrison Redevelopment Agency will address several important Resolutions. The following Resolutions are scheduled for discussion:

1. Approval of the Minutes of 10/11/2023

2. 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

3. 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)

600 South Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. Redevelopment Project

Of particular note once again is the redevelopment project at 600 South Frank E. Rodgers Blvd., which is owned by Eastone Harrison Urban Renewal LLC (Eastone). This project has experienced multiple extensions, and at the June 12, 2023 meeting of the Harrison Redevelopment Agency Mayor James Fife and the Commissioners approved the separation of Phase I and Phase II of the redevelopment. In addition, at the June 12, 2023 meeting, Greystar Investment Group LLC, and its affiliate Glof Reit, LLC, a then-new mortgage lender to the project, had apparently requested an amendment to the Development Agreement to bifurcate the two phases to approve financing. The bifurcation of Phase 1 and Phase II was approved by the Harrison Redevelopment Agency. 

Eastone is returning to the Harrison Redevelopment Agency to request two additional changes. First, the replacement of Greystar Investment Group LLC and its affiliate Glof Reit LLC with a new mortgage lender, Forthright Holdings LLC. Second, Forthright Holdings LLC is seeking an Estoppel Certificate agreement which would put it in the place of Eastone Harrison Urban Renewal LLC upon default but mentions both Eastone and Accordia Harrison in the agreement. The person signing the Third Amendment to the Redevelopment Agreement is Kevin Yu, the authorized signature for both Eastone Harrison Urban Renewal and Accordia Harrison Urban Renewal.There was no mention of Accordia as a joint applicant in the June 12, 2023 meeting.

De-linking of 600 South Frank E. Rodgers Blvd Properties

In the June 12, 2023, Harrison Redevelopment Agency meeting, Mayor James Fife and the Commissioners allowed the properties once linked to be separated. This separation would ensure that any default or condition imposed upon Phase II would not adversely affect the rights of the owner of the Phase I property, and vice versa. However, it raises concerns that if Phase II were to default, the Town of Harrison would not be able to seek damages from the Phase I property. Given the number of extensions on the project, time will tell whether the decision to bifurcate was prudent. 

Third Amendment of the Redevelopment Agreement

The Third Amendment of the Redevelopment Agreement states:

  1. Accordia shall complete construction of Building A on Lot 1.06 by January 31, 2024 and shall complete construction of Building D on Lot 1.07 by January 31, 2024.
  2. The paving of the extensions of Cifelli Drive and Fifth Street shall be completed by Accordia for acceptance by the Town as a public road by no later than January 31, 2024.
  3. The Project to be developed on Phase II A and B shall consist of 894 residential units, approximately 204,704 sq. ft. of retail, 200 hotel rooms, and 1,350 parking spaces as set forth in the Harrison Planning Board Resolution dated August 12, 2020.
  4. Eastone shall commence construction (foundation) of Phase II A on Lot 1.03 by no later than January 1, 2024, and shall complete construction of this phase of the project by April 30, 2026.
  5. Eastone shall commence construction on Phase II B on Lot 1.05 by no later than December 15, 2025, and shall complete construction by December 31, 2027.
  6. The exclusive "Term" set forth in Section 1.01 of the 2015 Redevelopment Agreement shall expire on December 31, 2027, unless sooner terminated by the Agency pursuant to the 2015 Redevelopment Agreement, as amended.
  7. Pursuant to the 2019 HRA Resolution and subsequent Resolutions adopted by the Agency, Eastone agrees that, until construction begins on Lot 1.05, the Agency and/or the Town shall have the right to use Lot 1.05 for parking for Red Bull Arena events, subject to the terms set forth in the First Amendment, which are incorporated herein by reference.

Although referred to the Resolution to replace the Mortgage financing with Forthright Holdings, the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a contractor, Esposito Construction LLC, against Accordia Harrison is not part of the Third Amendment of the Redevelopment Agreement.

No Condominiums Mentioned But A Hotel Is Mentioned

Of interest, in the June 12, 2023 Harrison Redevelopment Agency meeting one of the Eastone Resolutions mentions that the developer will identify which units will be converted to Condominiums.  At a prior HRA meeting, it was mentioned that converting to Condominiums was an option to ensure the completion of the project. It was also mentioned that conversion to Condominiums would cause the units to pay property taxes and eliminate the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) currently in place per the owner's redevelopment agreement with the Town of Harrison.  The Third Amendment mentions a Hotel which was not previously mentioned in the June 12, 2023 meeting.  It is not clear whether a Hotel is a new allowed use or an existing one.

Should Zoom Attendance Be An Option

It is worth noting that the Harrison Redevelopment Agency meetings are typically held on Mondays at 1 p.m. Unfortunately, this timing can make it challenging for the public to attend. Additionally, the decision not to offer a Zoom video conferencing option for this meeting further limits the public's ability to participate. The absence of virtual access may hinder the majority of interested individuals who might otherwise attend and engage with the Harrison Redevelopment Agency meetings.

The HRA plays a vital role in shaping the future of Harrison's redevelopment projects, and it is crucial for public involvement and transparency in decision-making processes. By offering alternative options, such as virtual participation, the HRA can ensure that a broader audience has the opportunity to participate and provide valuable input.

What do you think about the fact that Harrison Redevelopment Agency meetings are held on Mondays at 1 p.m.?  How do the Commissioners get time off from work to attend and how does the average resident of Harrison NJ get time off from work to attend?

The Harrison Redevelopment Agency held a meeting on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, originally scheduled for 1 p.m. but moved to 11 a.m. The Agenda for the October 11, 2023 meeting was not uploaded to the Town of Harrison website until after the meeting had occurred. This meeting’s Agenda (October 23, 2023) was posted before the meeting. There continues, however, to be a pattern of not providing Agendas before meetings and notification before the date of meetings that they are canceled.

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