“Town Garage” looks to make a comeback
September 5, 2012
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, With the Village facing a “”Park-pocalypse” next week the Village council looks to continue discussions during the councils next work session on the recently proposed “Chamber of Commerce” parking plan for the Central Business District and a new plane for the you guessed it “Town Garage” property.
As previously reported members of the Ridgewood business community presented an elaborate, through expensive multifaceted plan last month that included not one but two parking structures and a new retail space as well as a strategy to fund the entire venture. This plan has become known as the “Chamber of Commerce” parking plan.
Criticism has centered on whether the plan can come in on budget to meet the very aggressive requirements to fund the parking complexes without risk to tax payers. A rosie scenario was presented but given the Villages past inability to meet construction budgets ie, the $2 million Village Hall that became a $9 million fiasco or the $400,000 ‘Golden Toilet” at Vets field that much chronicled on this blog leaves readers with doubts .
Tonight the “Town Garage” project is expected to be resurrected by the owners .Village Council members are expected discuss the plan at length. Past plans for the property have always been based on the socialized taxpayer financing with profits kept in the hands of the few. Taxpayers in Ridgewood up till now have been in no mood to finance someone else’s profits., but with the new regime the jury is still out.
There is also the issue of old fuel tanks , and soil contamination at the site if needed with no one really sure what the Village is on the hook for.
As previously reported in reader commentary : Urbanization of Downtown Ridgewood is coming
Massive development set to take place in the Central Business District
Long-vacant “Town Garage” back on in the news again
THURSDAY JULY 26, 2012, 1:49 PM
BY DARIUS AMOS
THE RIDGEWOOD NEWS
Village Council members are expected next month to resurrect a discussion initiated by the Ridgewood Planning Board, which has asked the governing body to review the stipulations and intentions of the North Walnut Street Redevelopment Area and Redevelopment Plan.
The Village Council will reopen discussions next month on what to do with the Town Garage property.
The Fly has just learned that it will cost at least $6 million to construct the proposed 300-space municipal parking garage on North Walnut Street. This estimate excludes related property acquisition costs (add at least another $1.245 million) and site remediation costs (unknown at this time).
The projected costs are based on the currently accepted industry standard construction rate of $20K per parking space. However, since there are already 100+ surface parking spaces on North Walnut Street, construction costs will substantially exceed $20K per parking space when viewed on a “net spaces gained” basis.
Furthermore, an Executive Vice President of one of the most prominent commercial real estate development firms in North Jersey recently advised The Fly that estimated annual carrying charges for such a facility could approach $1 million (includes salaries, utilities, debt service, insurance, etc.).
The Fly continues to question the wisdom of constructing a multi-million dollar parking facility, several blocks from Ridgewood’s train station, on a “Field of Dreams” basis. Are Village Council members absolutely certain that when they build it, people will come?
The Fly thinks that this project has all the potential of becoming “Ridgewood Village Hall, The Sequel.” That is, a fully taxpayer funded money pit.
The current hot discussion topic among those who monitor Village Hall happenings is how an out of town firm was able purchase the Town Garage property from right out under the noses of Village Council members. Village ownership of the subject property (see posted photo) is seen as key to the successful construction of a municipal parking garage.
Reportedly, Village officials had offered previous owner Richard Agnello more than the $1.265 million sale price. However, it is being reported that Mr. Agnello refused to sell until the Village found a suitable location nearby for him to relocate his motor vehicle repair facility.
So the fly would like to know: 1) How was the Wells partnership able to buy the property for less than what Village officials had offered Mr. Agnello? 2) Will Mr. Agnello be closing up shop, or has the Wells partnership found a location for him to move his operation to? And, 3) What prompted the Wells partnership to purchase a piece of property destined for involvement in eminent domain proceedings?