Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 22
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

Stockton Real Estate, LLC

Weichert, Realtors

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Iris Interiors

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Public Discussion on NHKT/Borough Is Coming Soon

Linda Arntzenius

Princeton Borough Council met last night (after Town Topics press time) for another closed session discussion of negotiations between the Borough and its developer Nassau HKT Urban Renewal Associates, LLC. (NHKT).

Following the talks, Borough Administrator Robert Bruschi was expected to present a public report of the estoppels — the legally-binding contract updates to be signed by representatives of both NHKT and the Borough, which would essentially prevent the Borough from shutting the project down or from subsequently attempting to enforce original contract provisions.

According to Councilman Roger Martindell, the estoppels are measures that would give confidence to the developer’s lender and, subject to Council approval, enable Phase II of the development (a five-story commercial/residential building on the current Tulane Street parking lot) to move ahead.

Further meetings on the redevelopment are set for June 4 and June 10.

Problems that dogged Phase I of the development (Hinds Plaza, a mixed use residential and commercial building, and the Spring Street municipal parking garage), including water seepage in the garage basement, have led to litigation between the Borough and NHKT. The Borough contends that NHKT is in arrears for ground rent due on the municipal parking lot since April 2006.

According to Mr. Martindell, the amount due to the Borough is now $360,000, which NHKT disputes, saying that it is unclear when the ground rent payment was to start.

Mr. Martindell has been critical of the Borough’s stance with respect to the negotiations, which he has suggested do much to accommodate the developer at the expense of Princeton taxpayers. He described the estoppels as a representation aimed at enabling NHKT and the Borough to move beyond the issues in dispute. They do not, however, preclude the possibility of mediation or litigation for issues that may remain to be resolved.

Several Princeton residents have urged members of the Council to disclose the full details of the disagreement. Some have called for an end to its “dysfunctional” relationship with NHKT.

The value of Phase II of the development to Princeton residents and taxpayers has also been called into question.

A report on last night’s meeting will be included in next week’s Town Topics.

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