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Holmdel OKs Financial Plan with Bell Labs Building Developer

Details of the plan will be released on the township website.

The former Bell Labs building, photographed in 2011.
The former Bell Labs building, photographed in 2011.

A longterm financial pact between Holmdel Township and the developer envisioning new life for the former Bell Labs building is expected to be posted on the township website, according to the Township Clerk's Office. 

The Township Committee signed off on the "payment in lieu of taxes" PILOT program at its meeting Thursday evening, and it will be released publicly once signed by the developer. 

The PILOT will describe the how payments will be calculated for the entity known as Somerset Holmdel Development over the next three decades. The plan addresses the building only, and not the surrounding campus. 

The township could see a $71 million in revenue through the PILOT agreement, rather than through conventional taxes, said Mayor Patrick Impreveduto at the meeting. 

Under the agreement, payments will be paid to the township, not the school district, because the proposed businesses planned for the 1.7 million square foot building will not affect the school rolls, said officials. 

Deputy Mayor Eric Hinds said the financial plan will incentivize businesses to sign on to the mixed use development, and ultimately enhance its property value. "If that building stays vacant, then it does none of us any good," said Hinds. "This is a jewel of Monmouth County, but sometimes people need a little more than the beauty and the rolling hills of Holmdel. So it comes down to dollars and cents -- creating more jobs and bringing businesses back to New Jersey."

Several residents expressed concern that the school budget would not be helped by the PILOT. 

Longtime resident Ralph Blumenthal said after the meeting, "People have been hoping that with the redevelopment of the building there would be tax relief for the schools as well," he said. "We are all concerned…if this is going to be a good development for the town."

Also at Thursday night's meeting, the governing body approved the final part of the Redevelopment Plan for the 473-acre property. It too will be posted on the township website, according to the Clerk's Office. 

Rachelle Legrand contributed reporting for this article. 

Jennifer June 09, 2014 at 12:53 PM
www.nytimes.com/.../quiet-village-braces-for-an-in... The New York Times
Nicole Magnotti June 09, 2014 at 01:59 PM
Jennifer, I'm not sure why you are mudding the waters by bringing up all of your orthodox comments. This is about the Town collecting PILOT payments and not sharing with the schools. And Common Sense, you are not CHARGED by the Township for those taxes, the Town merely acts as the collection agent for these taxing entities and turns the money directly over to the schools and county, etc....and yes the school tax IS the largest portion of your bill, nobody is debating that. I would just like to see the schools get some of this PILOT money, that's all I'm saying.
Jon Boody June 09, 2014 at 04:44 PM
We really do need to be sure the entire town benefits from this. I am not familiar with how the PILOT program works, but I think we all need definitive answers on how the money can be used. The schools absolutely must benefit from this. Somerset will do what they need to increase their profits or reduce their expenses, regardless of the impact on the town. They are not here for us, they are here for themselves. It's up to the people in Holmdel to be sure we are getting a fair deal with this.
Jennifer June 09, 2014 at 05:51 PM
I don't think I am muddying the waters, I think I am mentioning the elephant in the room that no one is comfortable talking about. The essence is: Somerset has a diagram of the building on their website. It looks very pie-in-the-sky. It also looks fairly low-impact. What I am asking is very important. IF a hotel cannot be found to occupy the space allotted, what are the zoning restrictions on that space? Can it be turned into dorm rooms or another short-term occupancy use? Can the school space be expanded with no limit? Is there any way the assisted living spaces can be redesigned for another residential use? Is house of worship and community center a permitted use? Can the property be sold in whole or in part, to a non-taxable entity? These are good and valid questions. The ONLY reason to develop this property at all, and not let it lie fallow, was to provide tax revenues to the CURRENT residents of Holmdel, while hopefully maintaining our rural quality of life. I think that should be carved in stone. "Not adding a single child to the school system" is a very interesting way of phrasing it, and it is not the first time Mr. Zucker has used that phrase. It is NOT the same as saying "there will be no children" or "the school system will not incur any additional expenses", both of which would be untrue if the spaces were converted to dorm rooms. Remember, local schools must now pay for disabled students who are enrolled in private religious schools at their parent's discretion. Not adding them to our school district is not the same thing as not adding a burden to our school district. Think, don't let greed blind you. Don't trust, verify.

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