Above, the grandiose plans for the Southport area included 1000 homes, a marina and shops on 130 acres. Some of those buildings were going to be constructed on the old GAF property, which was owned by the Gloucester Point group. That 10-acre plot goes on the auction block on April 15. Image by Alberto & Associates
UPDATED: APRIL 2, 2014
UPDATED: APRIL 4, 2014
GLOUCESTER CITY NJ (March 31, 2014)--The Gloucester Point property, at the intersection of Charles and Water Streets, will be put on the auction block on April 15. The 10-acre site was the home of a GAF plant for many years. That plant closed around 1987, and it set empty until 1996 when Gloucester Point purchased it from GAF for $450,000.
A few years ago the City of Gloucester purchased the old Harshaw Chemical/AMSPEC site, which is adjacent to the Gloucester Point property, for $5 million.
A Google search for Gloucester Point discovered the property was put up for Sheriff Sale on July 3, 2013. The amount of debt Gloucester Point owed to G. Heavener, LLC, a Pennsylvania company, was $1,249,779.
The original investors of Gloucester Point included Bill Englehardt, Jules Licardello, Bob Kline, Joe Teigh and Tony Valohous, according to Bob Bevan the former Gloucester Point property manager. Presently Bevan is employed as the aide for Gloucester City Mayor William James. After Englehardt died his son-in-law, Walter “Butch” Berglund, a former Gloucester City resident took over as spokesman for the group.
The Gloucester Point site was going to be part of a grandiose plan for the entire Southport area which encompasses 130 acres. In 2005 county and local officials announced that 450 townhouses were going to be built on that ground and the adjacent property. Officials said at the time, construction could begin in a year at Southport, which is to hold about 1000 homes, a marina and shops on 130 acres. A year passes, nothing happens, “we are waiting for environmental studies”, the politicians tell the press. To keep the public excited the local council incumbents running for re-election in 2006 continued with the charade that homes were going to be built there. (see What Happened to Gloucester City's Vista)
In 2007-08 we learned from the newly elected city leaders the area is so polluted with hazardous chemicals that it would take a decade or more to make it safe for housing/human habitat.
The architect hired to design the proposed project at the time was Alberto & Associates. A drawing of those plans (see above and below) still appears on their website along with the following:
Alberto & Associates designed multiple site concept studies for both private and public entities for the redevelopment of a former industrial site overlooking the Delaware River and Philadelphia in Gloucester City, NJ. The various site concepts incorporated a mix of uses including residential, office, hotel/conference and commercial spaces while emphasizing walkability and its adjacency to the waterfront. Complex issues including site contamination and redevelopment requirements dictated the site layout and uses. via albertoassociates.com
click image to enlarge
Besides the fact that much of the ground is contaminated, one of the other reasons the grand plan for the Southport area never materialize is because the present access road coming into the Water and Charles Streets property could not handle the influx of traffic that would be generated by the construction of 1,000 new homes, a marina, and shops.
To satisfy that need there were plans discussed for a road to be built coming in from nearby Route 130. The road would run behind the Gloucester City High School, behind the homes on North Burdsall, Harley, Stinson, and cross over South Broadway, down Stinsman Avenue running parallel to Charles Street and ending up at Water Street. It would have costs millions to construct and take years to build. As such it appears those in charge of the local government have given up on the construction of any residential properties, and have been trying recently to attract light industrial businesses to the area.
Four years ago, at the December 2010 council meeting, the governing body gave the go ahead to Organic Diversions to build a $30 million, 110,000 square foot organic waste to compost/recycling plant on Water Street on the ground where the Atlantic Richfield plant once stood.
When asked his opinion about the upcoming auction Gloucester City Administrator Jack Lipsett told a Courier Post reporter, “The auction is a good thing. We’d like to see anything there. We get a better tax ratable if something is built”.
The April 15 auction is being run by Tranzon Alderfer, an auction house in Hatfield, Pa. The following advertisement announcing the auction appears on their website (www.tranzon.com) :
SELLS AT A BID OF $900,000 OR ABOVE! Be on the river with potential shipping access connected to diverse operational uses, including the development of port facilities and related water-oriented manufacturing, storage, cargo processing and shipment of finished products in the Port Planned Industrial Development zoning district of Gloucester City, NJ, just south of the Walt Whitman Bridge. A unique, 200’± wide land-pier extending out to the Delaware River, nearly 1,500’± from the frontage road with close proximity to Route 76 and direct lines to New York City and Philadelphia. 10.50± acre land PLUS 9.60± Riparian Grant. Seller financing available to qualified bidders.
The last day to inspect the site is Tuesday, April 1, 2014.
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