Saturday, September 12, 2009

UCIA Forces Taxpayers to Assume the Risk

South Wood Avenue Project: DOA
Morningstar Project: DOA
ISP/Dupont: Linden Council pulled the rug out from under the rightful owners' feet.

Years and years have gone by on these projects with nothing to show other than inflated fees to politically connected lawyers, engineering firms, etc., all shouldered by the taxpayers.

In any building project, there are risks. Unlike private development where a project is studied for viability, return on investment, likelihood of success, etc., here, where the Union County Improvement Authority acts as the redevelopment agency, the taxpayers are forced to assume much of the financial risk merely on some politicians' half-baked ideas.

The South Wood Avenue Project is a perfect example of taxpayer being put at risk at the whim of the UCIA and others who dream up these projects. It was the taxpayers, through bonds, who paid for the acquisition of properties and demolition of those properties that have been knocked down. Legal bills continue to mount like clockwork. Meanwhile, the former developer, Verge Properties, is out. To my knowledge, while the costs to the taxpayers continues to toll, we don't even have an interested developer. Further, it's more than questionable if there is even a market for what is proposed on the project. A similar project in Rahway by developer, Silcon, appears to be going belly up.

At a freeholder meeting, freeholder Sullivan stated that the freeholders have to approve any project the UCIA puts forth. He also stated that the UCIA does its due diligence. Really? Did the UCIA ever look into the history of another Wood Avenue project where the developer went bankrupt building, in essence, the same type of project slated for South Wood Avenue? Does the Linden Towers ring a bell? At that time, like now, the grandiose expectation was that commuters would flock to buy the condos and travel to and fro NYC. And who was the developer of that failed project? The same would-be developer of the failed South Wood Avenue project.

Why would a developer attempt a similar project when the first one didn't live up to its expectations? The answer is simple. The UCIA, a/k/a taxpayers, assumes most of the risk and lays out the upfront costs. A developer's dream and a taxpayers' nightmare.

The ISP/Dupont mess to be discussed another day.


just ed said...

In my neck of the woods there is talk the FEDS are renting houses for five years going to be a clean sweep

Anonymous said...

NFS Take a look at the times leader today local paper wilkes barre

NFS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NFS said...


PA officials offer the same canned reponse as NJ officials of "we're saddened and disappointed" when what they should be saying is that they are HAPPY to be rid of a corrupt offical, whether that official is paid or unpaid. Corruption is a real menace on society. The persons doing the bribing as well as the persons being bribed, whether with envelopes stuffed with cash or via campaign donations, ultimately pass the "cost of doing business" onto the taxpayers or its customers.