Mayor touts township business, services
Oct 30, 2014 06:09AM, Published by Community News Service, Categories: Community
Benowitz spoke to members of the MidJersey Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the luncheon at the Old York Country Club in Chesterfield, about the progress of several significant ongoing redevelopment projects in the township.
First, though, Benowitz touted Bordentown’s central location in the state and its access to several major roads, including Rt. 130 and Rt. 206, I-295 and the N.J. Turnpike, making Bordentown the “heart of the crossroads of the state of New Jersey.”
He noted the growth of the township over more than a decade, which saw a nearly 36 percent increase in residents from 2000 to 2010.
Benowitz primarily focused on how growing business and commercial endeavors in the township will increase ratables and relieve the tax burden on residents, and how residents should still be able to enjoy beneficial serves provided by the township.
Major ongoing projects include the near-completion of Phase I of the Waterfront Transit Village, continued progress at the Kevin Johnson Team 85 complex, and the construction of the 1.47 million square foot Grainger distribution center.
Grainger announced in June that it would be building a warehouse facility in Bordentown Township. Benowitz said the project is expected to be complete by the first or second quarter of 2016.
Of course, Benowitz acknowledged that there can always be some trepidation about new projects from members of the community. In this case, it was the Meadow Run development adjacent to the Grainger warehouse construction.
Benowitz detailed some of the steps taken to alleviate concerns from residents of that neighborhood, he said, including meeting with the homeowners’ association, knocking on doors to discuss the project and its impact, and distributing flyers and other literature about the project.
Meanwhile, the first phase of the Waterfront Transit Village is nearly completed, and Benowitz noted that he had already done three walk-throughs of the residential buildings.
While the 159 Rivergate apartment units are set to be move-in ready in November, there is no set timeline as to when the additional phases of the project will be complete, Benowitz said after his address. He acknowledged that there has been some concern from the community that the developer would not follow through with the rest of the project, which includes a River Line station, commerical and retail outlets, and additional housing, but Benowitz confirmed that the developer is committed to the project.
At the Team 85 campus, the last building yet to be completed is the health complex, which will include a gymnasium, swimming pool, indoor football field and more. The shells of the two St. Francis buildings are fully constructed, and are ready for the St. Francis team to outfit the inside to their needs.
Benowitz said after the campus is on track to be finished by the second quarter of 2015.
Brian Johnson, director of community development, said the increase in redevelopment projects have also encouraged interest from other developers to consider Bordentown. He noted that construction of projects like the Team 85 campus makes other nearby areas more appealing.
“It’s starting to have a spinoff effect, where people want to develop a vacant lot across the street. We’re getting a lot of inquires and activity with that,” Johnson said. “The same thing with the Grainger project. We now have what we call in house the ‘Grainger effect’…I get phone calls almost on a daily basis from people wanting to know what’s going on, or what commercial or warehouse properties we have available.”
Other smaller projects in the township are also on the horizon. A groundbreaking was scheduled for the end of October at the former Edgewood Motel, which is set to become a Holiday Inn Express. Wawa has also submitted an application to build a full service location, including a convenience store and gas station, at the former Bob Maguire Saturn dealership. And, Johnson said, a 400,000 square foot warehouse could potentially be built across the street from Grainger.
Upgrades are also under way at several township parks, including Northern Community Park and Bossert Park.