Newark picks buyers for bargain land
It will be interesting to see the monitoring put into place as a result of the new legislation over these properties.
I also wonder, with commodities prices being what they are and lending still difficult to come by, whether Newark would strike most developers as a high value opportunity with the potential for large returns, or high risk and not worth pursuing until conditions ease.
The rolling sale is the first since a judge put an injunction on the practice after it became the subject of lawsuits and the federal corruption trial of former mayor Sharpe James. For years, the city had a policy of doling out property cheaply in order to attract developers and breathe life into depressed neighborhoods.
As a councilman, Booker had approved some of these discounted land deals, but as a candidate for mayor in 2006, he said they were corrupt because they benefited private interests while squandering public property and resources. He filed a lawsuit that year and a Superior Court judge put a stop to the sales.
After taking office, the Booker administration crafted a new land disposition policy that asked developers to hire local labor for projects, use environmentally friendly materials, provide housing for low-income residents and build work-force housing — discounted homes for firefighters, teachers and police in the city.
In January, the city put 104 scatter-site properties, 13 work-force housing development clusters, seven multifamily, mixed-use development clusters and 16 individual buildings up for sale.