Construction may still be months away for the former Huffman Koos site as the owners continue to await news from the state Economic Development Authority regarding financial support. In the meantime though, Route 4 - Main Street LLC has begun inking leases with Total Wine and CVS.
Plans for the site call for a trio of retail buildings on site with Total Wine moving further down towards Rt. 4 into a new 30,000-square-foot building on the property. As of this week, CVS has signed an agreement in principal to move from their current location near the River Edge Diner into the current Total Wine store. A third building, approximately 22,000-square-foot, situated in the middle of the property has not yet garnered a potential lessee.
"My impression is that without the Economic Development Authorities funding, there may not be a sufficiant return on investment for this project to proceed," River Edge Mayor Sandy Moscaritolo said. "One qualification for the loan stipulates that the development must be in a blighted area. Now this area is not blighted, but it does border an area in town that qualifes as low and moderate income."
The Economic Development Authority has the ability to help finance suburban development projects under the Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) ProgramERG is considered an incentive for real estate development projects that have a financing gap, defined as having insufficient revenues to support the project debt service under a standard financing scenario. If approved, the project could receive up to 75% of the annual incremental State Tax and/or Local Tax revenue but must first go through an application process.
According to Borough Attorney Sam Cereste, the owners previously spent $3 million on remediation efforts to remove trichloroethlyne per DEP requirements. The chemical compound was historically used in dry cleaning operations up until the 1970-1980s.