Maplewood Could Net $950K from Sale of Post Office Site

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Maplewood Township has reached a tentative deal to sell the site of the former Post Office building in the Village to a developer for $1,250,000.

The preliminary deal between the township and JMF Properties was announced by township attorney Roger Desiderio at Tuesday night’s Township Committee meeting. “We’ve been pounding it out for a while,” said Desiderio.

The total purchase price would be $1,250,000. The developer would receive a credit of $200,000 for demolition and environmental cleanup. After a $100,000 allocation the developer will make to Maplewood’s affordable housing fund (in lieu of constructing affordable housing units in the building), that means a total payment by JMF of $1,050,000 and a net profit to the town of $950,000.

The township committee voted 5-0 to authorize Desiderio to draft a resolution on the contract of sale and the redevelopment agreement, which tentatively will be introduced at the next meeting on March 17, with a public hearing and final vote on April 7.

Also at the March 17 meeting, the TC will vote on introduction of an ordinance regarding the financial agreement, which will include a proposed 5-year PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes).

There is a projected closing date of July 15, 2015, which comes with a 90-day extension to allow time for the meetings and approvals needed. The deal is still subject to contingencies; the Maplewood Village Alliance design review committee and the Planning Board must give final approval to the site plan in order for the deal to close.

According to the terms of the contract, any party then has 45 days to appeal the planning board’s site plan decision.

The price was based on an appraisal done on February 24, 2014 by Appraisal Systems, said Mayor Vic DeLuca in an email. The appraiser assigned a value of $60 per retail square foot and $30,000 per apartment in order for the Township to determine the market value of the property in a ready-to-build condition. He used a comparison model looking at similar sales of property.

The building JMF is proposing consists of 20 apartments and just over 9,000 square feet of retail space.

Those values were used in all negotiations with the previous developer, L&M and Balter, as well as with JMF, said DeLuca.

“The building needs asbestos and other environmental remediation and there is the demolition cost,” said DeLuca. “We have provided a $200,000 credit to do that work. If the Township had to do that work it would cost much more.”

The $100,000 allocation to the Township will be placed in its Affordable Housing Trust Fund and will be used for the Township’s Affordable Housing Rehabilitation Program. “This program makes up to $20,000 available to income eligible township residents, home owners and tenants, to repair life safety and code violations in the dwelling unit,” said DeLuca. The $20,000 is a forgivable loan after ten years. If the person moves out before 10 years, there is a proportionate payback. The Township’s current affordable housing obligation includes a required rehabilitation component for 91 housing units.

Township committeeman Jerry Ryan clarified with Desiderio that if anything were to happen and the project were to change substantially, or if the develop withdraws, “it’s all off and we start over again.”

“If the financial agreement doesn’t get passed there is no project,” said Desiderio.


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