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Mixed-use project planned for 430-acre brownfield site.

The Sayreville Economic Redevelopment Agency has awarded the 430-acre former National Lead industrial site to the joint venture of Market Street Investors LLC and LNR Northeast Investments. The site is bisected by the Garden State Parkway and Routes 9 and 35 and is surrounded by water on three sides, offering views of Raritan Bay which forms the entrance to New York harbor.

The deal represents one of the largest redevelopment projects in the state of New Jersey and involves one of the country's most prominent brownfield sites.

According to Stuart Miner, cofounder and managing director of Market Street Investors, the joint venture plans a mixed-use project for the site, focusing primarily on residential and retail developments, but also featuring an office component and community facilities, such as a 150,000 s/f state-of-the-art recreation complex and a minor league baseball stadium. The project will also include two hotels, two marinas and various sports-oriented outdoor developments.

The project, estimated to cost upwards of $1.25 billion, will involve an extensive brownfield clean-up effort that will take at least three years. The site is currently beset by a number of environmental problems, including high groundwater acidity, the presence of radioactive matter and contamination resulting from heavy metal materials dredged up from a nearby river. The cost and control of the clean-up has been the source of ongoing litigation between National Lead, the Borough of Sayreville and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for the last six years.

"There is still a lot of work that needs to be done to define what we need to do, but I should point out that the degree of clean-up needed at the property is also a function of the land use planned for the future," said Miner. "We plan for a residential development, so we intend to clean up all of [the toxic materials] at the property and leave nothing at the site at all."

According to Miner, his company, which specializes in brownfield clean-ups, was attracted by the site's size and excellent location. The property has easy access to the highway system and train transit to New York City. Although talks of future office tenants are still too far in the future, Miner believes it would be a good fit for back-up office operations for a world-class firm.

"It could be a good location for a New York financial operation back office, and maybe even a head office for someone, but that's a case by case decision that we will have to evaluate as we move forward with the project," he said. "We don't have a final plan yet and it will be a function of the strength of the office market."

The parties involved still need to work out all of the details of the redevelopment plan, including the number of residential condominium units it will contain and the exact amount of office and retail space, so work on the property probably won't start until the first quarter of 2007. But Market Street and LNR have a good general idea of what they would like to see.

"There will be a sports theme. There will be a high density residential development. And on the retail side, there will be quality, smaller foot print stores--we are definitely not shooting for a bunch of big boxes on the site," Miner said. "And there is obviously waterfront opportunity, including water-oriented retail like restaurants and boat houses. We think the community would be very enthusiastic to see that kind of use as well."

According to Miner, this will be the first private redevelopment project for LNR. The company has previously specialized in redeveloping former military properties.
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Title Annotation:joint venture of Market Street Investors LLC and LNR Northeast Investments plans a mixed-use project
Author:Misonzhnik, Elaine
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1U2NJ
Date:Mar 22, 2006
Words:610
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