Over the past 40 years, previous town leaders have failed in repeated attempts to lure major investors to a swath of Main Street, leaving a 24-acre lot at 675 Main Street vacant and yielding the bare minimum property taxes for decades.
But, finally, the township has secured a strong redevelopment partner, announcing today that a developer has broken ground on the site for a 359,000-square-foot space.
The facility will feature 40-foot clear ceiling heights, 58 rear-loading docks and parking for up to 160 cars and 94 trucks. Bridge Development Partners is converting the once-blighted property, with plans to open the new facility next year.
The Township’s Development Committee consisting of Mayor Michael Melham, Deputy Mayor Thomas Graziano and Councilman Vincent Cozzarelli are pleased with the many ways the project will benefit the town.
Cozzarelli said the developer will foot the bill to remediate on-site contamination. At full build-out, the hub will be a source of permanent jobs for Belleville residents, while serving as a steady stream of tax revenue to the town and the public schools.
Plus, the developer agreement calls for a $1.5 million community contribution, which officials have committed toward a future indoor turf facility.
“This is a win-win-win situation all the way around,” Cozzarellisaid. “This project will have many benefits for Belleville for years to come and the Development Committee is very excited to have helped facilitate this deal.”
“This is the first Council in more than 40 years to get a deal done on the site,” Melham said. “This is certainly one of our greatest accomplishments, collectively.
It is also proof positive that PILOTs (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) aren’t a bad thing. Because of the PILOT, we have a developer paying to finally remediate contaminated land, rather than cap it, and we received a community contribution to create yet another sports and recreation facility.”
A spokesperson for Bridge Development Partners noted the company was eager to lay roots in Belleville because of its geographic location; the Township borders Newark and is in the shadows of New York City.
The site is within six miles of the Lincoln Tunnel and four miles of the New Jersey Turnpike.
“We’re excited to transform this once-dilapidated site into a state-of-the-art industrial facility situated strategically to servemillions of residents in both New Jersey and New York,” said Jeff Milanaik, Bridge’s Northeast region partner.
“This project would not have been possible without the support of the township of Belleville, and we’re very thankful for the cooperative and successful relationship we have been able to establish with the many municipal offices involved.
“We look forward to bringing a new, modern Class A facility in this prime infill location to users looking for a place in the thriving Meadowlands market.”
It’s not yet known what tenants will occupy the space. But based on the facility’s close proximity to major highways and thoroughfares, it could position itself as a last-mile warehouse that works to distribute packages from fulfillment centers to front doors, the mayor said.
“We look forward to maximizing all possibilities,” he added.