Real Estate

Berkeley Heights Council Chooses Toll Brothers to Redevelop the Hamilton Avenue Property

Toll Brothers 4-bedroom, master down, two-car garage market-rate townhouses, for the Hamilton Avenue Project. The homes are expected to be priced from between $800,000 and $1 million. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
Toll Brothers proposed 47 4-bedroom market-rate townhouses and 20 affordable housing units -- they are in bright orange on the right, interior, of the property. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
Rendering of Toll Brothers 20 affordable housing units. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
Mayor Bob Woodruff, left, and council members Jeanne Kingsley and Michelle Greco, far right, listen to the presentation on Toll Brothers' proposal. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
The original proposals by the three developers are charted so easy comparisons can be made. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
Township Planner Mike Mistretta discusses the Toll Brothers proposal. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
Items in red are changes proposed by the developers when they submitted their revised proposal in late April. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
The K. Hovnanian North Jersey Acquisitions LLC plan includes 73 market rate townhomes and 20 affordable housing units in bright orange on the front left. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
Rendering of the 20-unit affordable housing apartments that would front on Roosevelt Avenue on the K. Hovnanian North Jersey Acquisitions LLC plan. The other 73 units are market rate townhouses. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
The design submitted by American Properties Realty. Proposed a 72-unit development, of which 20 would be affordable housing units. They are at the top right. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
Attorney Joe Sordillo discusses an aspect of the resolution, while Councilman Peter Bavoso attends the meeting via Skype. Credits: Barbara Rybolt

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The council unanimously chose Toll Brothers as the redeveloper for the Hamilton Avenue Property.

Toll Brothers’ final bid for the land was $10,500,000. They will build 47 market value townhomes and 20 affordable housing units on the approximately 15-acre site. The four-bedroom townhomes, with the master bedroom on the main floor, and three more bedrooms upstairs, will each have a two-car garage and be priced between $800,000 to $1 million.  The townhomes are similar to those the developer built in Scotch Plains at Shackamaxon Golf Course said Mayor Bob Woodruff. Toll Brothers would also like to sell the affordable housing units which are located in two buildings within the complex.

And, yes, the library will be able to stay on the site -- for a minimum of two years.

Sign Up for E-News

The final vote on a resolution authorizing the conditional designation of Toll Brothers as the redeveloper was not taken until later Tuesday evening, May 21. During the Township Council's conference session there was a presentation by the Communications Committee. Everyone then watched a Power Point presentation on the Hamilton Avenue property, the top three proposals and the selection committee's recommendation, created and narrated by Township Planner Michael Mistretta.

The council observed the regular order of business, minutes, reports, etc., after which residents asked questions about agenda items. Finally, the council  voted on five resolutions, including one on the redeveloper.

 Before the actual resolution was passed, council members praised the plan put forth by Toll brothers.

Councilman Peter Bavoso said he loved the number of units, 67, and believed that given the price point, even though the master bedroom is on the main floor, “It’s probably not a starter home for a family,” but more likely a home for a family with older children.

Michelle Greco, who was sworn into the council for the first time that night, said she thought the layout and price point are “in line with our community. They are beautiful.”

Council President Jeanne Kingsley said she was on the selection committee and has looked at properties built by the three builders who make the final cut. Her impression was the Toll Brothers' projects offer quality. She speculated that this, the smallest development proposed for the site, would have “less impact” on the township’s infrastructure.

Council member Susa Poage called it “A nice looking project,” and added that coming from Basking Ridge, she believes that the Toll Brothers developments are “nicer than K. Hov.”

Councilman Manny Couto said he liked all the “green space” on the property. This will enhance the community … it’s a win-win for Berkeley Heights.”

Councilman Michael D’Aquila said, “I feel confident the Toll Brothers project checks all the marks.”

After the vote, Woodruff said when this project was first discussed at the high school, “the biggest concern was the density” of the project. Given that the 20 affordable housing units are “non-negotiable,” the Toll Brothers proposal was the least dense. “I think the council has chosen wisely.”

Toll Brothers was one of three builders who made the initial and final cut. The others were K. Hovanian North Jersey Acquisitions LLC (K. Hov) and American Properties Realty Inc. The other six builders were not considered after their initial proposals were examined and compared to the others by the experts, said Mistretta.

After a review of the three firm’s initial proposals, the review committee asked each developer for more information, with final proposals due by April 25. The review committee examined each one, finally recommending Toll Brothers. The final proposals from the other two included some changes, but not a change in the price they were willing to pay. Toll Brothers' bid went from $10 million to $10.5 million.

K.Hov proposed to pay $12,048,650 for the land and build a development with 73 townhomes, and 20 affordable units, the townhomes would have three bedrooms, all on the second floor, with a loft, and the 20 affordable units would be in one very large apartment building facing Roosevelt Avenue.

American Properties proposed to pay $10,008,888 for the land, build 52 townhomes and 20 affordable units. The townhomes would have three bedrooms, all on the second floor, with a loft. Each townhome would have a two-car garage. The affordable units would be in the upper right-hand side of the overhead rendering that was shown during the meeting.

Toll Brothers agreed to pay up to $100,000 for off-site traffic remediation, if needed; K. Hov an amount up to, $100,000, which would be prorated and shared among others, and American Properties up to $50,000 prorated and shared among others.

Toll Brothers was the top choice for the review committee, Mistretta said.

Mistretta, who has worked for more than five years on various plans with township officials on ways to meet the township’s affordable housing obligation, reminded residents the town had asked for proposal for a 100-unit development – 80 market rate homes and 20 affordable units. 

Not only did Toll Brothers come in with the fewest number of units, they will pay for the demolition of all the buildings and structures on the site and will permit the library to stay on the site for a minimum of two years. Mistretta said the first three months will be the “Due Diligence Period,” during which the firm’s engineers will investigate the site to make sure everything is as it should be. The next 18 months will be taken up by engineering, obtaining permits from the DEP, etc. and the next three months and possibly more, will be taken up by demolition and building. 

“The clock doesn’t start (on the library’s time on site), until the township enters the redevelopment agreement with them,” he said.

Among the questions asked by residents was what the impact of the four bedroom units would have on the schools.

Mistretta said the enrollment peaked in 2008 and since then the district is "down hundreds of children." He also cited studies that put the number of students from the project at 38, the Rutgers study, and the low number at 13, using more current data. Mistretta said "Rutgers study data is out of date."

Board of Education President Doug Reinstein said the schools are not at capacity, there is room, and the board has "the ability to move students around." He also noted that there "are options and plenty of time to adjust." 

Resident Dan Brown asked about a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) and the mayor said it "was an option" and "will be negotiated with the developer" before any action is taken. Later, he urged residents to remember “that piece or property has never generated a dime for us.”

Residents were reminded that the development will have to go before the planning board before final approval is given to the project and details such as how and where green technology will be included in the plans will be finalized.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Providence

Moms Helping Moms Foundation Receives Overwhelming Support from Community to Help Mothers this Mother’s Day

June 20, 2018

Mother’s Day is often celebrated by showering the women in our lives with beautiful flowers, heartfelt cards, and taking them on special outings to show them how much they mean to us. Yet, for many low-income mothers living in our community, they struggle each day to provide the basics for their babies.

Diapers are a necessity yet one in three families in the United States lack an ...

New Providence Recreation Offers Adult Summer Programs

New Providence Recreation is accepting registrations for adult evening and daytime programs that run June 25th – August 31st.  Most of the eight to nine-week sessions are under $65; several programs are free for NP residents!  All levels of fitness and those returning to exercise are welcome.

Programs are offered starting at 6 a.m.. If you are seeking weight loss, core body ...

Summit Community Blood Drive is Sunday; First 50 donors Will Get a Free Union Theater Movie Pass

The weather may have just started to warm up, but New Jersey Blood Services (NJBS) is already urging the public to donate blood as we head into the summer months.  With schools closing and vacations scheduled, less people donate blood from June through August but transfusions are still needed for local patients.   

“We’re especially thankful to our dedicated donors ...

Watchung Borough Mayor and Council Approve Affordable Housing Settlement

June 9, 2018

WATCHUNG, NJ -The Watchung Borough Council voted on Thursday night  to settle its third round affordable housing obligation mandated by the state of New Jersey. Watchung Borough’s immunity from builder's remedy lawsuits  expires on June 30.

 Mayor Stephen Pote was forced to cast the deciding vote after the council deadlocked at 3-3.

Video: Union County Celebrates Pride Month with CommUNITY PRIDE Day Picnic

June 19, 2018

RAHWAY, NJ - Parents, children, friends, and all family members came out on Saturday afternoon to Rahway River Park for the Union County CommUNITY PRIDE Day Picnic.

The family-friendly celebration hosted by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, was a day of fun activities of arts and crafts, family lawn games, inflatable bounce houses, playground fun and more, along with music by the ...

Madison Resident Awarded Children's 'Book of The Year' for Second Time

June 21, 2018

MADISON, NJ - Madison resident and author, Trish Lisa Wilson, is the recipient of Creative Child’s Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year Award, a repeat honor. Wilson’s work, A Penny For Piggy: A Tale of Save, Spend, Share was also honored by the publication in 2014. The book was reviewed by parents and educators and received the highest accolade in two categories, specifically, ...

Sleep out at Covenant House

June 18, 2018

I can enjoy the same movies over and over like it were the first time to see them.  My kids roll their eyes at this.  Well, many unimaginable things happen as you become a certain age, and you tend to learn to accept those things graciously as gift.   But I remember the movie “The Blind Side.”  Until I saw that movie, I didn’t know homeless children ...

Upcoming Events


Thu, June 21, 7:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Pet Supply Drive at the Summit YMCA to Benefit ...

Giving Back


Thu, June 21, 9:30 AM

Providence Health and Fitness, New Providence

Pilates Reformer

Health & Wellness


Fri, June 22, 7:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Pet Supply Drive at the Summit YMCA to Benefit ...

Giving Back


Fri, June 22, 6:30 PM

Providence Health & Fitness, New Providence

Vinyasa Flow Yoga


Sat, June 23, 7:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Pet Supply Drive at the Summit YMCA to Benefit ...

Giving Back

What's Hot and What's Not

Summer is a great time to take a step back, sip a cool beverage, and take a look at what’s going on in the world of college admissions.  Departments use the summer to evaluate how their year went and plan on any changes they want to make for the fall.  Did they over-enroll? Under-enroll?  What application materials were useful to them?  Which were redundant or time ...