Office of Economic Development
Brian Wahler, Program Director
Middlesex County has land with redevelopment potential, much of it in prime waterfront locations on the Raritan River and Arthur Kill and their many tributaries. There are also many inland sites waiting for new uses. Most of these are abandoned industrial properties that have not been used productively for many years. The MCIA has been involved in numerous projects and programs designed to revitalize these areas for new businesses and homes, recreation and transportation facilities, and open space for residents. Redevelopment of these areas brings needed property taxes and employment and directs smart growth towards older communities and away from more pristine open spaces.
How we help: The MCIA promotes redevelopment in Middlesex County by providing planning, project management, and advisory services as well as grants and financing for important projects such as those below. You may also view our Financings frame for information on project financings.
In late 2002 the Authority conducted a Preliminary Assessment to identify environmental areas of concern and prepared a request for developer proposals for the Agency. In 2003, the MCIA was awarded a $350,000 USEPA Brownfields Assessment Grant to conduct site and remedial investigation studies to characterize the suspected contaminants at the sire. In addition, the Authority facilitated an application for NJDEP Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation funds to further this complex environmental assessment. This led to an award of over $500,000 to the Milltown Redevelopment Agency.
The MCIA provided project management services for what is now a nationally known demonstration project using the Triad approach to site characterization. This approach uses extensive front-end planning and real time on-site data analysis and decision-making during investigations. The aim is to reduce the uncertainty associated with environmental studies and to produce a better understanding of site conditions. Participation in this effort also has brought significant resources to the project from state and federal agencies and private entities including the NJDEP, USEPA Technology Innovation Office, New Jersey Institute of Technology, USEPA Emergency Response Unit, Argonne National Laboratory, and others. Milltown Ford Avenue Redevelopment Agency negotiated a redeveloper agreement for the area for age-restricted housing, commercial, and open space. Remediation planning for the site is underway. Modifications to the project plan are being considered to accommodate COAH requirements and to address other legal issues. An evaluation of the minimally-impacted areas has been completed, and a remedial action work plan is being developed. An investigation of the more significantly-impacted areas continues. The USEPA completed remediation of some areas that were considered an immediate threat to the environment.
Lead Site, Sayreville
This 900-acre waterfront parcel, which once served as an industrial center for Sayreville, has been vacant since 1982. The MCIA is assisting the Sayreville Economic Redevelopment Agency (SERA) to revitalize the site. Middlesex County has provided $39 million in funding for property acquisition and pre-developments costs. In 2005, the Agency took title to the property, which should significantly expedite its remediation and redevelopment. The Agency issued an RFP for private development and a conditional redeveloper was named during the first quarter of 2006. The developer offer was rescinded when the conditional developer did not meet contractual obligations, and a new RFP was issued. In October 2007 O'Neill Properties was named as the developer. Their plan includes big box retail, hotel, cinema, performing arts center, community center, yacht club, municipal annex, restaurant, age-restricted housing and open space.
Raritan River Recreation
On behalf of the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders the MCIA determined the feasibility of dredging a section of the Raritan River in New Brunswick to foster recreational boating from the Raritan Bay up to the Albany Street Bridge in New Brunswick. Two studies, the Dredging Feasibility Report and the Sediment Characterization Report concluded that the concept was quite feasible. Most of the Raritan is navigable, but poorly marked. Sediment contamination in the potential dredging area is minimal. Interest in expanded boating and other active and passive recreational opportunities is high. To further the County’s recreational vision for the River, the MCIA coordinated a special district planning process with riverfront communities and other interest groups. The process led to the award winning Raritan Riverfront Strategy Plan that identified local landside projects that complement the vision.
New Brunswick Landing, a floating day dock and supportive channel marking and dredging project, was selected as a catalyst project to encourage recreational boaters to travel up river to what will be the northern most navigable point. The MCIA submitted the funding and permit applications for this project, with several million dollars committed to it to date. The Authority assisted the County as needed with further project management, design engineering, and construction. The Authority assisted the County as needed with further project management, design engineering, and construction. New Brunswick Landing's official opening took place June 18, 2011.