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By Bill Cleary

WHAT IS THE EDC? The newly formed Gloucester City  Economic Development Corportation (EDC) purchased two commercial properties in the 6a00d8341bf7d953ef01287560bbf1970c-500wi Monmouth Street business district in December. They included 526 Monmouth Street, listed for $80,000, and 524 Monmouth Street, listed for $129,900. Both properties have been for sale for a longtime. 

How much the EDC paid for the properties is unknown.

CNBNews has been trying to find out that information along with more details about this new entity since December 31. What is known is that the EDC borrowed the money from the City’s Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG). In reality the UDAG money belongs to you, the taxpayer.

How much the EDC borrowed is unknown.

We have another question: If a realtor couldn’t sell these properties how does the EDC expect to sell them? 

Finally, will these properties be sold for a profit? If so, will the money go back to pay off the UDAG loan or be used to buy more properties?

According to a recent TREND search, there are presently 15 commercial properties for sale in Gloucester City.

 Mayor William James mentioned the EDC in his recent State of the City address:

The EDC is comprised of local business men, private citizens, past governmental representatives and a member of City Council.  The purpose of this change was to move forward with projects that will have the greatest impact upon Economic Development such as the Monmouth Street business district.  This area has long been struggling and property owners were not keeping the properties in repair or effectively marketing them for occupation.  Sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns and that is exactly what is being done. The EDC has already acquired two of the properties and have already begun work with preparations for façade improvements, interior repairs and marketing.

CNBNews has learned that local businessmen David Stallwood is the chairman of the EDC and Bob Booth is the treasurer. 

The identities of other board members is not known.

In doing our research we were surprised to learn that the city owns 167 residential and commercial properties. That number does not include the 100 apartments/townhouses at Chatham Square, also known as Meadow Brook Mews. That property was purchased by Gloucester City in 2008 for $5.9 million ($4.25 million for Chatham Square and $1.65 million for Gloucester Terrace). Since that time not one of the townhouse properties have been sold.

On Friday we asked City Administrator Jack Lipsett for further details about the 167 residential and commericial properties and are waiting for his response.

A TREND search revealed a total of 90 residential properties for sale in Gloucester City. A further search on the web site list 109 residential properties in Gloucester City that are either in foreclosure or pre-foreclosure.

WHERE IS EL WINGADOR?  Bill “El Wingador” Simmons will be one of the hosts of the annual wing bowl event to be held at Bogey’s Club and Cafe in Mantua Township on January 25. He said he’ll donate the pay he receives for his part to Superstorm Sandy relief efforts. He will not appear at this year's annual WIP Wing Bowl on February 1 at the Wells Fargo Center.

Seven months  ago Simmons was arrested for possession of cocaine.  New Jersey State Police arrested him following a traffic stop in Harrison Township. Ten days later, he posted bail and was released. State police said at the time they had found thousands of dollars worth of cocaine in his possession. As of this posting, Simmons still hasn’t been indicted on those charges.

Besides helping with the January 25 event, Simmons has been trying to find a producer for a TV reality show, “America’s Biggest Eater,” which he’s been planning for about two years now. It would feature amateur eaters from around the country competing for cash, prizes and the title of “America’s Biggest Eater.”