This article has been updated with more information about the transfer of the developer and the PILOT.
The Maplewood Township Committee preliminarily approved the transfer of the 5-year tax abatement agreement for the Post House project from the original developer, Maplewood Redevelopers, LLC (a division of JMF Properties), to two newly created entities: JMF Maplewood LLC and Gladstone of Maplewood LLC.
Joe Forgione of JMF Properties is the sole principal of JMF Maplewood LLC; the sole principal of Gladstone is Steve Kalafer, owner of the Flemington Car and Truck Company and the Somerset Patriots minor league baseball team, said Mayor Vic DeLuca and township attorney Roger Desiderio at Wednesday’s Township Committee meeting.
The committee approved the introduction of the ordinance, 4-0 (TC member Kathleen Leventhal was absent); it will be voted on final passage at the next meeting on November 16. The ordinance is attached here as a PDF.
The abatement agreement also has been modified because the developer agreed to move the building 10 feet to the south to enable better circulation for trucks on the Ricalton Square side of the building.
The site plan approval will be memorialized by the Planning Board, which is meeting next on November 10 (see agenda attached as a PDF).
Desiderio explained that since the developer requested the transfer “for [his tax] benefit,” the town “needs something back.” In exchange, Forgione and Kalafer — each of whom has a net worth “well in excess” of $20 million, Desiderio said — have given the town personal guarantees that the project would be completed.
There is therefore no need for outside financing, and the agreement would be effectively done as a cash deal, Desiderio said. He said this guarantee would be “a benefit to the township.”
Forgione would remain the principal in the project and would be responsible for the building’s completion.
“I asked the township to assign the agreement to an entity I own,” said Forgione in an email. “For that I am personally guaranteeing the completion which is more than the current agreement allows, thus putting the town in a better position.”
During public comments, former mayor Fred Profeta questioned the transfer and whether it should be approved without more discussion.