Tonight Monday June 27th, the Gloucester Township Redevelopment Entity is having a short unscheduled meeting at 7pm regarding the 16 acre Williamstown-Erial Rd property which sits directly behind the Target store.
UPDATE: Mark from 42Freeway attended the meeting. Yes the plan is a warehouse.. BUT they are saying a tenant is not signed. This meeting tonight was to approve the property owner as Redeveloper. It still has to go to Planning Board but I don’t think they are ready for that yet.
This land was previously owned by the Diocese of Camden, and was sold three months ago to a North Jersey developer for $1.595 million dollars.
There really are no details in the notice… but you know how 42Freeway rolls… I found some things so keep reading!
While the meeting was not previously scheduled, it was properly notified via Public Notices and is listed on the Community Development and Planning portion of the town’s website. It was timed to take place immediately before the Council Meeting.
As mentioned, the property in question has a large frontage on Williamstown Erial Road, and sits direct behind the Target (the Target faces Berlin-Cross Keys Road).
Further back off of Williamstown Erial Road (Behind Lowes and Planet Fitness) is the new Independence Square Townhome development.
The Berlin-Cross Keys Road intersection is also home to an Acme and Shoprite, and has become a key commercial hub area for Gloucester Township and Winslow Township.
This area (and surrounding) of Gloucester Township is part of the New Vision Redevelopment Area which was adopted on June 11, 2002.
Redevelopment Zones – A Basic Primer
I don’t expect tonight’s meeting to be a full project presentation. That is still to come, and should be a later scheduled Planning Board meeting.
Let’s take a pause for a somewhat quick layman’s explanation of what New Jersey Redevelopment Zones are.
(I have plans to do a more in-depth explanation of Redevelopment Zones at a later date, and have an expert planner who seems interested in assisting me with it!)
Development in New Jersey towns is defined by “Zoning” where portions of the town are defined for certain types of development…. Zones.
Neighborhoods of homes are designated Residential. Office parks are zoned commercial. Industrial… well you get the point.
If you’ve played the Sim City video games, it really is just like the game! Define different types of zones, and if done smartly… smart development takes place!
As a quick example, If there is an empty lot in the middle of your residential street, its likely zoned for Residential development. Someone wanting to build a home there will have an easier time with approval, than a person wanting to build a gas station in the middle of the suburban homes.
Additionally, for each of the defined zones the town creates specific rules such as “All new residential housing must have sidewalks and curbing”
And all of the zoning of areas within a town is wrapped up into the town’s Master Plan, which is approved by the local government.
This is why towns have a Zoning Board. If you want to do something that is outside of the defined zone’s rules for the property, it needs to be presented and have approval. “You want to build a Convenience Store on this now busy road, but there is a home here right now? You need zoning approval”
So for the most part this works…. the zones are defined… and when people and businesses want to build things they come to the town and follow the rules towards approval.
But what if no one comes knocking?
What if an area of town was thriving decades ago, now seems mostly run-down or even abandoned?
Or what if a large piece of property was farmland for decades, but now just sits unattended… and potentially is ripe for development into something else but needs some extra help?
This is where Redevelopment Planning comes into play.
The State of New Jersey provides laws for Towns/Cities to create redevelopment plans for specific areas… which also gives the towns additional (optional) powers in effort to spur positive growth for that area.
At minimum the town can designate specific zoning rules for an area…. Stating the types of businesses and residential that can be developed in the zone, or even defining how the streetscape should look if developed.
Additionally towns can elect to take on special powers regarding the zone… such as creating special tax breaks, authorize bonds to assist with development, prepare sites to make them more suitable for development, hire professionals to help, acquire properties, and choose redevelopers for the zone (or a portion of the zone)
In Gloucester Township there is a perfect example of a Redevelopment Project… Gloucester Premium Outlets.
In 2008 the Black Horse Pike property was declared a redevelopment zone.
Originally what is now the Outlet property was planned as a Cooper Hospital facility… but later plans were changed to the Simon Properties Premium Outlets and the Redevelopment Plan was adjusted.
Today the outlet property is also home to a Dave & Busters facility… an the Outlets are paying over One Million in property taxes a year.
1000 Williamstown Erial Road
So finally let’s talk about 1000 Williamstown Erial Road (the address of the 16 acre property behind the Cross Keys Target)!
So being a very large town, Gloucester Township has a Redevelopment Entity to manage the several redevelopment areas.
And as we mentioned, this property is already sitting in a defined Redevelopment Zone.
Now just because many things are defined for the zone… it doesn’t mean they can’t be adjusted as projects are presented… and at minimum they need to be reviewed with the Redevelopment Entity. (Such as when the Outlets were developed)
So tonight’s meeting simply states “Matters to be discussed: 1000 Williamstown Erial Road Block 18302 Lot 1”
Well we already know that property was sold just a few months ago for $1.6 million.
So I expect some commentary tonight on the property.. this is the first that something is made public…
But it could be as simple as “So-And-So Company has been named the redeveloper of the property, with future details to be made aware”
I’ll go out on a limb here… my expectation is the town already knows what is planned. I don’t think a business is dropping $1.6 million on a property to develop, if they haven’t already run it past the town leaders.
But we’ll see tonight how the meeting goes… to see what level of detail is provided.
So Who Bought The Property? Any Clues There?
The property was purchased by “1000 Williamstown NJ LLC”.
Creating a company for the specific property or project is very common. There was no prior company with that name.. they created it for a variety of reasons, in managing this project.
So the address on the company though traces up to Lakewood NJ.
At the address are several companies seemingly owned by one man…
But the one company of interest is Modani Properties.
For the record, I did reach out to the CEO/Principal of the firm… Linked-in Message, Office Call (which directed me to email), Email, and then I tracked down what I think is his personal cell number… but I haven’t heard back yet. It’s only been a few hours.
So Modani Properties builds and/or manages commercial properties. Big properties… like office buildings and warehouses.
And right there on the main page of their website is a rendered image of a very large warehouse labeled “Coming Soon Williamstown Earl Sicklerville NJ“
I’d love to use the image in this post.. heck I want to make it the cover image for the post.. but I am trying to be respectful of their images and don’t want to use without permission.
So two things that jump out first;
- They obviously spelt Erial wrong on the website.. as Earl. Fair enough, these road names are confusing!
- Second thing is while the placement of the building to the road fits the property shape, the buildings shown across the street don’t match what is actually on Williamstown Erial Road… and it shows another building behind it. Well I think this the designer/artist just used any street they could find.
But the fact that the the LLC who purchased the property has the Mondani address… the same principle person listed (LLC and Business), AND they are featuring a large warehouse image to a labeled property…
So yeah… it looks like a large warehouse is under consideration for the Williamstown Erial property.
I can only describe the image.. but what I see has about 80 tractor-trailer bays across the front side.
A new traffic signaled intersection would be added to control traffic in and out.
And parking can be seen on all 4 sides of the building, with Tractor Trailer parking in the front and back sides.
Of course you can click through and see the image yourself.
I hope to make it to the meeting tonight… I literally learned of it this morning.
Links and Location
Redevelopment Entity Meeting: (1000 Williamstown Erial Rd)
June 27, 2022 at 7:00 pm
Gloucester Township Municipal Building
1261 Chews Landing Road
Laurel Springs, NJ 08021