NUTLEY, NJ - As Nutley Mayor, Dr. Joseph Scarpelli reflects on his first year in the township's top office, he is looking forward to a bright future for residents, home values, and the local business community.
In his first year as mayor, Scarpelli continues the cost saving programs at the Department of Public Works, where he has been director for the last 9 years, while at the same time, working on the re-purposing of the former Roche campus.
“I have been fortunate to be the beneficiary of a lot of hard work that has gone on before I was elected Mayor,” said Scarpelli. “I am thrilled that the Seton Hall University –Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine decided to call Nutley their home.”
This past year, many pieces began to fall in place to start the transformation of the Roche campus. The medical school signed a lease last summer to open what will be the first private medical school in New Jersey. This school will act as the brand and anchor for the site. Prism Capital Partners closed on the property in October and plan to convert the campus into the premier commercial property in the state.
“The Board of Commissioners are working with Prism to help attract other bio-tech companies to locate here,” said the 18th Mayor of Nutley. “We are optimistic that in the not too distant future there will be 1500-2000 people in and out of the facility on a daily basis.”
The medical school anticipates having their first class of students beginning in the fall of 2018. Seton Hall is also planning to move their nursing and allied health programs to the new campus. Research facilities are expected to occupy the other non-academic floors of Building 123/123A, two of the five vacant buildings left upon Roche’s departure. There is also strong interest expressed by a bio-manufacturing firm to re-locate to Building 102, a five story Research and Development building on the eastern edge of the campus that was completely renovated by Roche, but never occupied prior to their leaving.
The Township negotiated a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) with the school that was very favorable to the Township. It provides for Nutley to receive the same taxes paid in 2016 with an added 5% increase every 5 years. Additionally, there will be full taxation for the other non-academic floors and any future development of the medical school property.
“Many residents worried that the school would be exempt from property taxes,” said Scarpelli. “The commissioners, along with our professional experts, negotiated a unique financial agreement that will most likely be used as a model in the rest of our state.”
Recently, the township was featured in the New York Times Sunday real estate section. The article focused on Nutley’s beautiful park system and walkable downtown. Also highlighted as a positive was the rich traditions and quaint, small town character of the Township.
“It has been some time since our town received this kind of coverage in the Times,” said the Mayor. “That positive publicity can only provide for growth of our real estate and ultimately our property values.”
Although there are many exciting developments, the mayor acknowledged that there are challenges ahead. “Like all communities, we have some issues that need work, but I am confident that the positive changes over the last year will invigorate our local economy, create quality job opportunities for our residents, and boost our ratable base. I am honored and privileged to be Nutley’s mayor during this exciting time in our history,” concluded Scarpelli.
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