NUTLEY, NJ - Township of Nutley Mayor Dr. Joseph P. Scarpelli issued the 'State of the Township' on March, 2, 2020:
It is my honor and privilege on behalf of the Nutley Board of Commissioners to write this State of The Township of Nutley. Let me provide an update on our most important project, the redevelopment of the former Roche campus, now called ON3. The successful transformation of this once shuttered property will define our Township for decades to come.
In December, Ralph Lauren had their ribbon cutting ceremony at 100 Metro Boulevard. The Board of Commissioners (BOC) are thrilled to welcome Ralph Lauren Corp. and their over 1100 employees to Nutley. The world recognized fashion and retail giant, headquartered in Manhattan, is well known for partnering with the community and we look forward to working with them.
Also in 2019, Financial Agreements were signed with Prism Capital Partners, the Redeveloper of the site. These agreements ensure that Nutley receives revenue equal to the full taxation on 100 and 200 Metro Boulevard for both the municipal and school portions, along with a share of the revenue the county would have received under full taxation. The agreement calls for an annual 2% increase in the PILOT payment over the next 30 years. This assures that the taxpayers remain whole by guaranteeing the local school district receives their proportional fair share of the generated revenue.
Additionally, the BOC negotiated through these agreements that Prism drop their existing tax appeals. This eliminates a potential financial liability for the Township that has been lingering for years. By abolishing the tax appeals, the Commissioners have protected the taxpayers from millions of dollars in threatened exposure.
As we work towards the complete re-development of the entire site, the Board of Commissioners have prioritized our goals to assure that the campus provides an immediate boost to our local economy, preserves opportunities for additional future ratables, and increases our property values. Many pieces have fallen into place transforming this vacant campus into an economic dynamo that will help attain those goals.
In order to promote our local businesses to our new neighbors, the past two Septembers the BOC have hosted a “Welcome to Nutley Day” in Nichols Park. Our eateries and businesses line the pathway of the park offering food and discount promotions. It is an opportunity for the students and employees to get off the ON3 campus, enjoy our beautiful park system, and at the same time, showcase Nutley businesses, and demonstrate the proximity of our downtown to the site. The event has been well received by the ON3 tenants and a successful introduction to our local merchants.
Also, over the last two years Nutley property values have increased 13.91%, well ahead of the average increase in Essex County.
As a review of the progress made since the Roche departure, in October 2016, Prism purchased the entire 116 acre campus. At the same time, they announced a long-term lease with Hackensack Meridian Health and Seton Hall University to open a medical school on the campus.
The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall, which welcomed their inaugural class in August 2018, is the centerpiece of the former Roche site and is the only private medical school in New Jersey.
The School of Medicine, Seton Hall’s College of Nursing, and SHU’s School of Health and Medical Sciences are educating their students in a unique interdisciplinary curriculum. This partnership is providing a world class education for all students on a state-of-the-art Interprofessional Health Sciences campus located in both Nutley and Clifton.
In the summer 2017, Modern Meadow, a bio-fabrication company that produces bio-manufactured leather, was the first tenant to move onto the ON3 campus. The cutting edge bio-tech company, occupies 73,000 square feet of 111 Ideations Way, a research and development building on the eastern part of the campus.
Over the past year, both Y-mAbs Therapeutics, a pediatric cancer research company, and Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI) have also moved into 111 Ideation Way.
CDI is comprised of three distinct institutes:
- The Institute for Cancer and Infectious Diseases
- The Institute for Multiple Myeloma
- The Institute for Regenerative Medicine
These Institutes are conducting cancer research to support Hackensack Meridian’s clinical partnership with Sloan Kettering.
Currently under construction in Clifton, Quest Diagnostics will also be relocating to ON3 in a new 250,000 square foot facility.
As we begin 2020, the ON3 site has become an exciting, unique life science, education, research, and international design innovation hub. The welcome additions of the School of Medicine, Modern Meadow, Ralph Lauren, Hackensack Meridian cancer research, Quest Diagnostics, and y-mAbs to the ON3 campus, besides filling four of the five vacant buildings left upon Roche’s departure, have already created quality job opportunities for our residents.
Our collaboration with Prism has been positive and fruitful, however the BOC will always do our due diligence to assure the long-term best interests of our citizens and Township are protected and any potential adverse impacts are addressed and mitigated.
Towards that end, the BOC have enlisted our Planner, Topology, to host public outreach events in the community. In November, the Commissioners held a Community Meeting at Nutley High School to update the public on the redevelopment of the former Hoffmann LaRoche campus and seek their input. Attendees participated in an interactive polling exercise that gave residents an opportunity to express their concerns and preferences that will help guide the next phase of the planning and engagement processes.
Additionally, since November Topology has manned tables at local businesses and commuter bus stops in order to solicit further community feedback. Information, updates, surveys, and other tools for public participation can be found on our Township’s website: https://www.nutleynj.org/roche . The Commissioners encourage everyone to get involved and express their opinions.
As we move forward, the future re-development of the ON3 campus should help Nutley re-coup some the $10 million in taxes that Roche was paying before it ceased operations in 2013. In the interim, Nutley has been proactive negotiating with the state to secure transitional aid each year. This aid helped offset some of the loss in revenue caused by Roche’s departure. New development in town, although controversial, has added millions in accessible value and increased revenue by over $2.2 million. The transitional aid coupled with the new development has avoided what could have been devastating consequences for Nutley taxpayers.
The Board of Commissioners have worked together to help manage the loss in revenue, lobbied the state to secure state aid, controlled spending, negotiated favorable financial agreements which included the dropping of pending tax appeals, and weathered the storm. The BOC get criticized at times, but I don’t think most residents appreciate the complex, multiple issues the Board has been dealing with the last few years. I am proud to serve with these 4 dedicated public servants and excited about the future of our Township.