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Preservation Group Weighs in on Roche

Nutley group doesn't want apartments or condos going on 127-acre campus when Roche closes it down in a year.

Jim Levendusky of the Nutley Community Preservation Partnership wants the township and Roche officials to know his group does not want apartments, condominiums or a mix of retail stores to replace the departing drug company at its campus on Route 3.

Levendusky said the more than 100-member partnership that has worked to preserve and restore Nutley's historic character for more than eight years is concerned about Roche's departure.

"Everybody's minds are on the Roche property," Levendusky said. "We are not in favor of anything involving putting apartments or condos there, or a mixed use involving residential and retail stores."

The property is zoned for commercial or office space use, and he said the partnership does not want to see the large campus subdivided into retail or residential units.

Nutley officials are planning a response to Roche's decision to leave and take more than $9 million in tax revenues and jobs from the community. The company will stop its operations in 2013 and sell by 2015.

Roche announced a month ago it was leaving town and closing the 127-acre campus.

Nutley’s Board of Commissioners has outlined plans to use town attorneys, planning and zoning officials, tax professionals and outside counsel to tackle lost tax revenues, possible contamination of the site and how best to use the property.

While sounding off on Roche, Levendusky said the group is also working with town officials on an historic preservation ordinance.

"We're creating a committee, and we'd like to see this move forward," Levendusky said.

"What led to our formation was that the character of the town was changing, and we were becoming much more urbanized," Levendusky said. "We saw more mulit-family houses being approved, and trees, which define Nutley so much, being taken down. We understand that changes happen, but we want to make sure it is being done smartly."

billyubob August 01, 2012 at 01:32 PM
HEY JIMBO, Wake -up U dumb-a--,how the heck r u gonna make up 9 million!!!!!!!!! That's the only question here not some ahole Idea about historic value. It's all about the math u divide up the property and see what tax rate will fit the task. I doubt that living space will do, commercial rates will come closer.
Al Czervik August 01, 2012 at 03:00 PM
I feel it is way too early for Preservation Partnership weigh in on what type of replacement they DON’T want to see on the site once it is sold. The ideal replacement would be a multi-billion dollar company willing to build a corporate headquarters and employ thousands of people but the reality is that in the economy that may not be an option. The Roche site no direct access from Rt 3 West, is approximately 10 miles away from the Willow Brook Mall and 5 miles away from the American Dream Meadowlands complex which is scheduled to open the Fall of 2013. This is not an attractive site for large retail development. There is a significant inventory of vacant warehouse/flex space in the North Jersey area due to over building, company downsizing, and relocation. This inventory would have to be significantly reduced over the next few years to make this possibility. In looking a list of some of the local higher education campus in the area I think it’s doubtful that any of them has the desire and financial means to acquire, relocate and develop project of this size. The point I’m trying to make is, before the Preservation Partnership or any other group digs their heels in the ground with a “Not In My Backyard” stance against subdividing, housing, retail or any other type of development they need to be aware that there are not many long term options and to rule out, and rally people against anything, this early in the process is shortsighted.
RC August 05, 2012 at 11:17 PM
I agree, we need the tax revenue. Look what happened to ITT. Clfton built the stores, Nutley built condos and houses. Clifton has the last laugh. They got the tax revenue and Nutley got the traffic and riff raff.

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