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CEDAR CROSSING DEAL CLOSES

Red Bank is now the owner of a former industrial property on the West Side that officials say is destined to house some 30 low- and moderate-income families—and won’t cost the town a dime.

30homes

The borough closed Monday on its purchase of the so-called Cedar Crossing property. Included in the $2.45 million price was 1.9 acres of land and a dilapidated house along the Conrail tracks at Catherine Street, River Street and Cedar Avenue. The price also included engineering and architectural plans drawn up by the seller, which had proposed building 36 units on the site.

The state Department of Community Affairs has already ponied up $2.4 million, and Mayor Pasquale Menna said the agency will come through with the balance, as well. That $50,000 would pay for title and legal fees.

“The amended application is with the DCA,” he said. “It’s money we will get.” All the professionals owed funds have agreed to defer their invoices until the state money comes through, he said.

Some “minor environmental contamination” at the site was cleaned up by the seller, Cedar Crossings LLC, to the satisfaction of the state Department of Environmental Protection, Menna said Monday in announcing the closing of the deal.

Red Bank was the first town to apply for and obtain funds under the DCA’s Municipal Acquisition and Construction Program.

Next: the Red Bank Housing Authority will kick into gear to oversee the construction, Menna said. he expects the agency to work with the federal Housing and Urban Development bureaucracy and others to pay for construction.

“Local taxpayers won’t be funding it,” Menna told redbankgreen.

The purchase was a political football last year, with questions raised about the process used to appraise the site. Councilman John Curley also objected that the town was buying through a “middleman,” and not dealing with the principal owners of the property.

The 30 units, which will include age-restricted units, would count toward the borough’s obligation to provide 74 sub-market-priced homes under the state Council on Affordable Housing guidelines.

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