May 26, 2021

Shopping Center is Essential Community Resource That Should Be Preserved As Is

To the Editor:

Let me second Terry Lyons’ letter of May 19 on the vitality of the Princeton Shopping Center (PSC). All retail areas have suffered during the COVID pandemic including downtown Nassau Street. This general retail downturn is not a reason to hand massive tax breaks (PILOTS) to would-be developers of the PSC who could well turn it into another failed Forrestal Village, or Route 1 strip mall.

The Sustainable Princeton Fair of April 24 was a vivid example of how valuable the PSC courtyard is as a community resource. Another example is the Blue Bears restaurant that is dedicated to providing a place of dignity to work for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Nomad’s saw a business opportunity in the PSC and opened a new pizza restaurant without any PILOTs. The New York Sports Club (NYSC) at the PSC was thriving but closed on the day of the Governor Murphy’s COVID order, contrary to the claim of “multiple vacancies well before COVID” in the Preliminary Investigation Report by Carlos Rodrigues. I know because I was a regular NYSC member who suddenly could not enter the club that day.

McCaffrey’s, Ace Hardware, Walgreens, and many other PSC stores well serve the community. The loss in property taxes from PILOTS would necessarily increase in taxes on Princeton residents. Far from being “obsolete,” the PSC is an essential community resource that should be preserved as is. 

Charles Skinner
Western Way