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Haddon Twp. to acquire last site for town project

HADDON TWP. ā€” Haddon Township has agreed to pay nearly $1 million for the last property standing in the way of a planned redevelopment project in the downtown shopping district.

“That’s dramatically higher than anything the township ever offered before,” Allen Ettish, an attorney for the property’s owner, said Monday. Initial offers for the Haddon Avenue office building — owned by Joseph Sulock and operated by his son and daughter — fell in the $300,000s and $400,000s, Ettish said.

Township commissioners approved the sale Thursday in settling a lawsuit filed by Sulock several years ago. The lawsuit contended township officials had erred when they declared the two-story brick building was blighted and thus could be acquired by eminent domain, or a court-ordered sale.

The building, which now stands alone in the 200 block of Haddon Avenue, houses an insurance agency and an environmental company run by Sulock’s children, David Sulock and Cathy Sulock Ricciardi.

Mayor Randall Teague acknowledged the township is paying a “premium” price for the site, but said it was worth it to move on with the project, which was first proposed in May 2002.

“I’ll be relieved when both parties sign the agreement,” he said Monday, noting the lawsuit had been costly for both sides.

Under an agreement between the township and Fieldstone Associates, the site’s redeveloper, Fieldstone eventually is to pay back the township for the purchase of any properties in the redevelopment zone.

Fieldstone plans to build Towne Center at Haddon, a transit village development with more than 200 homes and retail space on an 8-acre site. The redevelopment zone includes the former site of the Dy-Dee Wash diaper laundry, which was demolished more than a year ago, along with several nearby properties.

The project is considered a transit village because of its proximity to mass transit, including the local PATCO station.

The redevelopment proposal ran into opposition from several property owners when it was proposed in 2002 because, under New Jersey law, municipalities can use eminent domain to acquire properties in a redevelopment zone.

Over the years, many of the opponents agreed to sell.

The Sulocks said they finally dropped their fight due to the weak economy, mounting legal costs and family concerns. “We have tried everything in our power to have our property excluded from (the redevelopment zone),” the family said in a statement.

Ettish said appraisals for the property had ranged from around $375,000 to $700,000 at the peak of the real estate boom.

“This has not been about the money,” the attorney said. “The Sulocks did a very honorable job of fighting against eminent domain.”

He said the Sulocks’ businesses are to remain in the building for eight months to a year, or until the redevelopment project has municipal approvals needed to proceed

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19 Responses

  1. i do not think it is higher when the park admin was in they offered the sullocks 1,6 million now they got a million and have a lot of legal bills to pay the 1.6 offer also incluede moving and a spot in the new buildings do they get that in this deal .

  2. What are you trying to say? The above comment is several statments and questions streamed into one big blob.

  3. Just read the Retrospect article relating to increasing of township bonds for the benefit of Fieldstone. I hope that they can perform on their obligations so that the taxpayers are not again left holding the bag. When I asked the commissioners, they had not done further information requests of Fieldstone to ensuer that they have the money to buy the land when it is assembled. Prior to any additional bonds, that, at a minimum, should be done.

  4. tom, last month you were all for helping fieldstone, now because the town is moving forward you are against.

  5. Huh? That makes no sense. I didn’t know I was for “helping” Fieldstone. I am just for protecting the interests of the town and the taxpayer, of which I am one. I think that moving forward on this project is clearly the goal. At this point, my understanding is that the town and Sulock don’t even have a full agreement (according to the Retro),

    I have never seen anything demonstrating that Fieldstone has that financial wherewithal to purchase the land in this lousy financing environment. I also assume that Fieldstone will be coming back to try to amend the financial agreement that they have with the town. Shouldn’t all this be ironed out first? Is it too much that we the taxpayers should be left holding the bag if our governmental officials don’t do the right thing?

    I am not saying anything here that I haven’t brought up in the public portion of the town meetings.

  6. I’m wondering if any of the HT residents/citizens/taxpayers have ever tried to learn about Fieldstone on the websites?? It’s interesting what you can see/read (or not see/read). Who is Fieldstone, really????

    • Tom,
      You are helping the people in the town. Due to your efforts, you were able to obtain more money for the Sulocks. Because of the wonderful delay, we now need more more to improve Haddon Ave. Kudos to you twice Tom.

  7. I’m not sure that Tom deserves the credit for the Sulocks although I do agree he has done alot for the town and opened many eyes.

    I really think the Sulocks and their attorney handled this without any of Tom’s input.

  8. No he deserves the credit, a property that should have sold for 400K, good old Tom and Hogan got them a million.

  9. Yo sis! Actually you deserve all the credit for earning the dumb comment of the month award on the blog. The fact is, Bill Park deserves all the credit for improperly designating the redevelopment area. That occurred long before I moved into town. Quite frankly, in light of the mess created by the town, the Sulocks deserve a lot more than they are getting for being bullied by the threat of eminent domain. Maybe we should designate you house as a redevelopment zone so that you can feel the heat. Interestingly, the fact that we saved Kitchen 233 and Brewers buildings (and Perks) are good things for our town. In fact, I believe that the Dydee site would already be redeveloped if the government were not involved.

    Responding to KMF’s post, yes there is a lot of info on Fieldstone on the web. They sued Hamilton Township costing the taxpayers $5 million.

    http://www.nj.com/news/times/regional/index.ssf?/base/news-17/1243569920325850.xml&coll=5

    They pulled out of Westville last year and the Timber Creek Project

    http://news.google.com/archivesearch?q=fieldstone+associates+creek&hl=en&ned=us&scoring=a

    Recent developments show that Fieldstone is looking at redevelopment projects in both Marlton as well as in Merchantville.

    http://www.merchantville.com/index.php/component/content/article/1-latest/919-tce-committee-recommends-fieldstone-proposal

    http://marlton.elauwitmedia.com/2009/08/26/council-taps-redeveloper-for-complex/

    I was actually surprised to see the two new projects, both of which have occurred in the last month.

  10. Tom, you have been stating for the past few years you acted on your own accord, so who is “WE”?

  11. Who is we???

    It’s a well known fact, Sonny Jim, that there’s a secret society of the five wealthiest people in the world, known as The Pentavirate, who run everything in the world, including the newspapers, and meet tri-annually at a secret country mansion in Colorado, known as The Meadows.

    Who are the five?

    The Queen, The Vatican, The Gettys, The Rothschilds, and Fieldstone.

  12. Anonymous,
    Incorrect. There are 7,The Queen, The Vatican, The Gettys, The Rothschilds, Fieldstone, Cassel and Cassel’s puppeter.

  13. Just to clarify my question regarding Fieldstone – the articles and info written in papers or on websites about projects of Fieldstone was not what I was making reference to; does Fieldstone have an actual office that they “work” out of? Is there a “street address” or is there just a “post office box” for an address?? Has anyone, recently, tried to call their office?? It can be interesting trying to contact this “company”.

  14. Maybe others know the answer. But from what I understand, the Township has a binding contract with Fieldstone. Isn’t it better for the town to own the properties, if Fieldstone doesn’t own up to their obligations? Then the Township would be in a better postion to control the site? We the taxpayers, the Town would then own the realestate even if Fieldstone walked away? I feel that it is prime location and the town needs to control it’s investment.

    • I find this mentality that the township needs to ‘control’ anyone’s private property very disturbing.

      Do what needs to be done legally with Fieldstone. But given what has been in the papers about Fieldstone — buyer beware!

  15. http://www.fieldstonehomes.com/haddontownship/index.html

    It is interesting to see this page – it apparently was from March 2007 – from what is stated above, Fieldstone Associates is now working out of NJ – they were in Pa when things began – do they have several offices that they work from?

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