A recent story by Romy Varghese of Bloomberg News questions the economics of the Harrison redevelopment project, which includes the Red Bulls soccer stadium, a new commuter parking deck adjacent to the Harrison PATH station, and one multi-family residential construction project which is now underway.
The article, available here, reports that the Town of Harrison has experienced a recent downgrade in its bond rating, and a budget shortfall has caused local officials to slash workforces of local police and fire departments in an effort to save money.
Beginning in the mid-1990s, Harrison sought to transform its industrial center by declaring a large area adjacent to its PATH station – containing more than 250 acres – into a mixed use development. Land for the Red Bulls soccer stadium was acquired approximately 5 years ago, allowing the stadium to be built, but much of the remainder of the project has stalled, likely due to a combination of market forces and delays occasioned by litigation involving challenges to the Town’s redevelopment process and use of eminent domain. One of the larger parcels adjacent to the PATH station was formerly owned by the family of real estate attorney Steven Adler, who is interviewed in the Bloomberg News story, and recently obtained a $24 million arbitration award for the taking of his family’s properties, which included commuter parking lots and industrial buildings. A Star-Ledger article by Steve Strunsky about the arbitration award and the redevelopment project is available here.
The Hudson County Improvement Agency now operates a parking structure on the former Adler property, and construction of residential apartments is also underway there. According to the Bloomberg News article, municipal revenues have failed to meet projections, and the Red Bulls now are claiming exemption of the obligation to pay local property taxes. These issues have complicated the Town’s fiscal picture and, absent renewed efforts to provide additional revenue sources, will remain at the forefront of its budget woes for the immediate future.
McKirdy & Riskin’s Ed McKirdy, Anthony Della Pelle and Richard DeAngelis served as special condemnation counsel to the Adler family and other property owners in the Harrison Redevelopment project.