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 Linwood Passes Redevelopment Ordinance Amendments Permitting Expansion

 

Linwood, NJ, Sept. 21, 2011 – The City of Linwood has approved amendments to its Redevelopment Area development regulations permitting Cornerstone Commerce Center to proceed with its proposed Phase II expansion adding two pad site buildings at the corporate campus on New Road in Linwood.

 

            Cornerstone’s Dual Pad Site proposal encompasses two self-standing commercial Florida Vacation buildings in the area of unused parking space on the northern side of the property.  One is a 15,300 sq. ft, one story building bordering New Road and the other is a 75,600 sq. ft., three story building at the rear.  The buildings could accommodate single, large businesses, such as a major corporation headquarters, or multiple businesses including restaurant, retail and professional offices.

 

            Discussions about Cornerstone’s Phase II Dual Pad Site expansion have been underway with Linwood’s Redevelopment Committee for more than a year.  Cornerstone is located in one of Linwood’s “Redevelopment Areas,” which was created to stimulate investment in underused and undeveloped properties, creating tax ratables and jobs for the city.  As such, Linwood’s Redevelopment Area’s zoning and planning requirements and ordinances are different than the city’s normal municipal code, and the original Redevelopment Agreement only addressed completion of Cornerstone’s Phase I, necessitating amending the regulations to allow further development.

 

            The original Redevelopment Plan for the Cornerstone site, known in Linwood as the Prudential Site because it was originally the headquarters for the Prudential Insurance Company, contemplated redevelopment of the existing building and additional development in the Pad Site area.  The Redevelopment Committee and Cornerstone recognized that the original design of the Pad Site could be improved to provide additional commercial ratables and ensure that the large wooded area in the northern part of the site would be preserved.  So the amended Redevelopment Plan adopted by the city was developed to provide mutually beneficial development potential that will bring commercial ratables, jobs and ensure preservation of what the city and Cornerstone call the Northern Buffer.

 

            “We can’t be more pleased that we now will be taking the next steps finalizing the architectural plans for the dual pad site buildings at Cornerstone Commerce Center and move forward to complete all the necessary steps to put us in a position to begin construction as soon as possible.  This is a great accomplishment for Linwood as that Cornerstone’s Phase II expansion will create a large new tax ratable for the community, new construction jobs and permanent jobs in the new businesses at Cornerstone, and will permanently preserve acres of green space surrounding the Cornerstone property,” said Robin Karman, president of Karman Development Group, which created Cornerstone.  “We sincerely thank the members of Linwood’s Redevelopment Committee, the mayor, city council, the city solicitor and our residential neighbors bordering Cornerstone for their time and efforts working with us on the details of the Redevelopment Plan amendments.”

           

            Statements by the city reflect that Cornerstone’s continued commercial development is in the best interest of the community and will encourage and promote tax ratables, job opportunities and support existing businesses as well as public safety in the form of a traffic signal on New Road at the Cornerstone site.  Cornerstone’s Phase II Dual Pad Site expansion will increase the value of the property and add to Linwood’s tax revenues.  Before Cornerstone’s development, the old Prudential Insurance facility paid $150,000 in taxes to the city.  In 2010, Cornerstone paid nearly $675,000 in taxes and in 2011 is expected to pay $754,000, an increase of more than 500% over the property’s previous taxes.

 

            As part of the process, Cornerstone worked with the Redevelopment Committee to have the wooded areas on the north side and in the rear of the property preserved as green space for the community through the sale of this land to the city, which is expected to be completed in the next few months.  It is expected that the new buildings will increase traffic at the site sufficiently to warrant NJDOT’s approval of the installation of a traffic light on New Road adjacent to the property.  Previously NJDOT would not approve the traffic signal based on the existing building and the original plan for the Pad Site.  The city and Cornerstone have already started working with NJDOT to move the approval process along.

 

            Cornerstone’s Dual Pad Site plan increases green space throughout the site. The L-shaped wooded areas being preserved at Cornerstone encompass approximately 15 acres of the 36 acre property, including both the northern side of the site and the entire length of back of the property bordering Patcong Creek.  Preserving the space creates a 155-foot wide Northern Buffer between the developed area on the Cornerstone property and the Monroe Avenue neighborhood to the north of the site. The plan also includes the installation of a 30-foot planted buffer on the south side of the site extending back 300 feet from New Road, next to the Arrowhead Drive residential neighborhood.  The southern buffer then tapers to 14 feet at the back of the property in order to minimize any new asphalt on the site while maintaining existing parking areas.

 

            “This is a win-win situation for everyone.  We have always wanted to preserve as much of the wooded areas as possible while completing Cornerstone’s development.  It provides Linwood with open, green space as a wildlife and recreation area, it provides a buffer between the neighbors, as we promised, and it beautifies the Cornerstone Commerce Center property,” Karman said.  “Part of the reason this process has taken more than a year to complete is that both the Redevelopment Committee and I wanted to make sure we tried to address the concerns of the neighbors in a way that worked for everyone.  We believe we have accomplished this.”

 

            The city has discussed extending its current Wabash Avenue bike path by making a turn upMonroe Avenue to link with the Cornerstone site, and having parking and seating along the back of the property so that people can stroll and relax, enjoying the outdoors.  By preserving the space, Cornerstone’s open space becomes part of the wildlife Green Way that extends for miles behind Somers Point, Linwood,Northfield and neighboring communities, a concept that fulfills Green Acres program requirements and is highly endorsed by environmental groups.

 

            “Since the beginning, Cornerstone has been a good neighbor to the community.  We have provided an enormous new ratable that has kept Linwood’s taxes down and a variety of goods and services that the community needs and wants as well as hundreds of new jobs.  Now we also can offer a wildlife preservation area to be enjoyed by residents for jogging, biking and quiet leisure recreation,” Karman said.

 

            For information on Cornerstone, contact the leasing office at (609) 601-8009, ext. 126.

 


 

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