That forum seems to be paying off for the township, as Mayor Don Purdy and Township Manager Arch Liston claim more offers to develop in the township have begun to come in over the last 30 days.
Following an executive session at Tuesday night’s meeting,
council voted 5-2 in favor of naming Capehart Scatchard, with offices in Trenton and Mount Laurel, as
the Special Counsel for Redevelopment. They will meet and negotiate with developers looking to build in the township.
“I’m really excited,” said Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola, who suggested Capehart Scatchard on Tuesday night. “We planted the seed and now the fruit is growing. We have to make sure we do this correctly because none of us are experts in this field.”
The township sent out a request for proposal and received two responses. The other response came from a firm in Collingswood, one supported by Democrats Jim Gorman and Jim McElwee.
“I would’ve like to have seen a little more dialogue, and an interview process,” said Gorman, stating the Collingswood firm has done a lot of projects in southern New Jersey, including Glassboro. “They’re a college town and we’re a college town. I think the credentials fit.”
Gorman said he didn’t know much about either company, so his objection wasn’t necessarily against Capehart Scotchard.
“Even if we had a special meeting or a committee interviewed them, that would’ve been something,” Gorman said. “They might come in and wow me. … I hope they do a fantastic job. I don’t want anyone to fail. This is something I’ve been pushing since I’ve been on council.”
Council wants to jumpstart the process anyway they can. According to Coppola, ratables make up just 17 percent of the tax base in Galloway Township, while other municipalities see 33 percent of their tax base come from ratables.
“Two and a half years ago, we appointed a committee to explore economic redevelopment,” Coppola said. “We held a roundtable at the Seaview and a lot of recommendations came out of that.”
Tax abatements and PILOT programs are on the table, although Coppola stated any incentives would apply to further expansion of a business and not the initial startup.
The township identified areas in need of help, including the Route 30 corridor by Pomona Road.
Galloway officials always stated they wanted to put their township in
a position to be ready to develop when the economy began to recover,
and it began to receive calls over the course of the last month.
On Tuesday, Purdy announced a ribbon-cutting set for the Federal Credit Union on Jimmie Leeds Road set for Thursday night, 6 p.m., and a group has even expressed interest in the former Lenox China building.
Lenox China produced ceramics in Galloway Township for about 53 years, from 1953-2006, when it closed. It has remained vacant since its closing.
Now, an entity is expressing interest in the 460,000-foot warehouse.
Capehart Scotchard helped fill a warehouse over 500,000 feet in size in Florence in 2012, a statistic Coppola pointed to when discussing their selection as special counsel.
Thomas J. Hastie Jr. will be the attorney assigned to Galloway, according to the firm’s official response to the township. He is the head of the public finance practice and worked on several boardwalk projects in Asbury Park and site preparations for the Red Bull New York soccer team’s stadium in Harrison.
He graduated from Rutgers University-Camden’s School of Law in 1995, and has been recognized as one of southern New Jersey’s Top Attorneys by S.J. Magazine.