LumberYard Condo Ass'n. OK's Ingerman Plan 51-2

The vote was a sign that those most affected by the amended redevelopment plan are onboard, Mayor James Maley said.

Of all the roadblocks en route to completing the LumberYard redevelopment project, a vote from its condo association will not be among them.

The leadership group for the most-talked-about building in town voted 51-2 Wednesday to amend its master deed and bylaws, authorizing the Ingerman Group to complete the project.

The vote was a legal necessity, as the scope of the project had been altered from its original design as a luxe commuter village.

In addition to completing the fit-out on unfinished units left when Costanza Builders abandoned the job, Ingerman will erect a five-story, 100-unit apartment building within which the company plans to relocate its corporate headquarters.

Collingswood Mayor James Maley said the vote was a clear message that the people most intimately affected by the project supported the path outlined by borough leadership for its completion.

“We needed a two-thirds vote to approve, so that’s always difficult to do,” Maley said, calling the near-unanimous verdict “pretty overwhelming.

“I think it addresses any concern people beyond the LumberYard have that [residents] don’t like it,” he said.

LumberYard resident Harry Carman was among those voting in the affirmative Wednesday evening. What clinched it for him, Carman said, is that Ingerman has a stake in the project that Costanza didn’t.

“Somebody who’s willing to commit millions of dollars to building their own facility in town is going to be a good neighbor,” he said.

“It makes perfect sense.”

Carman said that although the build-out wasn’t the original intention for the site, he believes the apartment building will pay dividends for Collingswood in the long-term.

“Even though I have reservations about a whole lot of other things he did, you can’t hold the mayor responsible for the downturn of the economy,” Carman said.

Maley said that construction on the back building of the LumberYard will begin by the end of 2012, and that “Ingerman will be in on the site plan probably by November,” with construction of the apartment complex to begin by Spring 2013.

The remaining opposition to the project, a group of petitioners led by Collingswood resident Joseph Dinella, was unreachable for comment Thursday evening.**

The outcome of their protest hinges on a declaratory judgment sought by the borough, which Maley said is due October 2. If the court rules as he expects, it will effectively render their claim moot.

“It speaks to the rest of Collingswood that the people who are living there, the people who are most directly affected, they voted resoundingly in favor of it,” Maley said.

**UPDATE: 9:22 a.m. Fri. 9/22 - Collingswood Patch received the following statement from the Lumberyard petitioners in an e-mail Friday morning:

The Lumberyard Condominium Association, beneficiaries of $25,000,000 in Collingswood taxpayer monies for market-rate housing, have acted to protect their personal financial decisions at the Lumberyard project.

The Petitioners assert that the decision to prioritize private corporations and property owners at select locations over education—the $240,000 plus in forgone school tax revenue this year from the Lumberyard could provide each high school student with the use of an iPad throughout the school year or allow for the introduction of four more Advanced Placement courses - is a
decision that must be made by a majority of the voters and not the direct beneficiaries of any action or just the three Commissioners.

For the complete rundown of Collingswood Patch coverage of the LumberYard redevelopment project, visit our LumberYard news topic page.

bsdtktr September 25, 2012 at 02:32 AM
The economy indeed turned after the very first part of the Lumberyard was underway. Nobody, and I mean nobody, blames the Mayor for that. However, the housing market (not the stock market yet) was clearly already tanking while the phase along the tracks was still just dirt. Against all logic, market signals, and in contrast to smart developers who were already pulling in their horns, Maley just had to pursue his dream. Somebody else posted on that some time back. Look it up. As for the apts., how is building those a greater benefit to the town than just landscaping for the benefit of the residents and landbanking until market conditions turn, at least to the point where no or at least a rational (i.e. like other places, a 5- or 10-year abatement) scheme is put into place? If you think the mayor is a redevelopment genius, ask the residents of Mt. Holly how that's working out for them http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/01/new-jersey-development-mount-holly-gardens_n_1723746.html Maley's milked them for $940,000, the township is $18million in debt, and (does this sound familiar) has a failed/suspended redevelopment.
Gary B September 25, 2012 at 03:32 AM
My comment prior to the Matt Skoufalos deletion of posting: 10:23 am on Monday, September 24, 2012 The HOC charges $1000-$1400 per month and also has added on expenses such as laundry, pool use ($100-200 per year), club house use and gym use ($25 per month) and garage parking ($25 per month) and the pending trash collection at $25 per month... it's just as expensive to live there too as the LY.... Point is, the LY does not have some make believe invisible force field preventing an 'element'. People will be people and cause problems where they so choose (please read: http://collingswood.patch.com/articles/eric-j-pauloski-arrested-3-times-in-3-weeks) And for the record, Collingswood has had a 45-55 ratio for renters to owners for over a decade, and within the past 3 or so years has closed within 49-51 renter/owner. Renters having a strong presence in Collingswood is nothing new, only for those wishing to complain on social media. And lastly, the term 'transient' is ridiculous. While it may apply to a very small percentage of people who come and go quickly, but that happens in ALL towns, not just here. There's also many renters who have been here far longer than homeowners too. Only 13% of this town is older than 65, so the whole 'life long Collingswood' stance that people take up here on the Patch magically, is bunk too. The overwhelmingly majority of people currently in Collingswood where born and raised elsewhere. Just putting some perspective on things people :)
Matt Skoufalos September 25, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Check that, Gary -- I have not deleted anything from these comments. I will ask if another editor may have for some reason, or if Mr. Ingerman decided to remove his comments. But I haven't been doing anything but following the conversation here today.
Kim R. September 25, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Thanks for this post, Gary. I live at the HoC (It hasn't been called Sutton Towers since the late 90s!) and while any apartment complex will have its problems, it's not a bad place to be. I have many peers my age who rent property. It's just the way the housing cycle goes. What I find most troubling about these stories isn't the constant anti-rental response, but the almost-racist, very classist comments about wanting the right crowd to live in Collingswood. I grew up a few towns over - I remember Collingswood being a working-class town most famous for a tragedy following flooded streets. It's different now, sure, but if different includes people turning up their noses at renters then maybe we as a community have more to worry about than an over-the-top PILOT program.
Will McGowan September 29, 2012 at 01:13 PM
I hope this time around that they make a more attractive presentation for the complex. The website lists "amenities" that I would call common expectations: "over sized windows?, individual hot water heaters? "raised panel interior doors"??..really; are these amenities or common inclusions of almost any dwelling? As an investor in the project, I would also like to be able to see a computerized rendering of the finished product as soon as possible with regular updates on how my investment is shaping up. Since I have no other say in any of the matriculation of this, I expect at least that much.


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