The East Brunswick Planning Board approved the second phase of the Golden Triangle Redevelopment project, Wednesday.
Toll JM plans to build a 400 unit, four-story, 520,678-square-foot apartment complex on land bordered by the Old Bridge Turnpike, Tices Lane, and the yet-to-be built Wal-Mart.
Officials from Toll said Wednesday that construction on Wal-Mart would likely begin before the apartments, with both beginning in 2013.
The buildings will line the property’s border as well as a five-story, 701 spot, parking garage, the first floor of which will be located in the basement.
According to the application on file with the township, the number of parking spots meets the town’s requirement, but is below the Residential Site Improvement Standard of 762. However, Thomas Kelso, attorney for Toll, said the number of spots could increase once the designs are finalized. In addition, the garage would have a secure gate, but the system that will be used has yet to be determined.
The apartments include 202 one bedrooms, 182 two bedrooms, and 16 three bedrooms. All apartments will be rental units and no affordable housing units are proposed, according to the plans.
Plans also call for three open courtyards, new sidewalks on Tices Lane, and access to the Wal-Mart and nearby Commuter Parking garage.
. The structure, located at the corner of Tices Lane and Route 18 and bordered to the east by the Old Bridge Turnpike, is expected to be smaller than the existing building, which is approximately 236,000 square feet, and will include a grocery store and pharmacy.
, ending years of litigation. Toll Brothers is allowed to build up to 220,000 square feet of commercial retail space—with no one store being larger than 180,000 square feet—and 200 to 400 housing units. Under the agreement, no more than 10 percent of those units can be three bedroom apartments.
The property was originally owned by the township and leased to a company that in turn subleased the land. In anticipation of that deal expiring in 2008, the township explored alternative uses for the land and in 2005 reached a deal with Toll Brothers and Jack Morris to purchase the 32-acre property from the township for $30.4 million. However, the developer had the right to terminate the agreement, and the township would have to buy it back, plus 8 percent. The clause came into play years later when the developers backed out and after seven payments totaling $22.5 million said the township was in default of the contract and demanded East Brunswick buy the parcel back.
As part of the proposed settlement, there will be no additional payments from Toll Brothers to the township, meaning that the land has been bought for the $22.5 million already paid. In addition, the developer also has the right to sell the property back to the township within three years —but at no interest—if the township does not live up to its end of the bargain, said Mayor Stahl. However, the township’s responsibilities are largely administrative and ones that can be easily performed, he said. In addition, that part of the deal would be nullified the moment a “shovel hits the ground,” said Mayor Stahl. The agreement also calls for Toll Brothers to drop approximately $600,000 in tax appeals it has filed with the township.
Planning Board Member Tugya said Wednesday she is glad that the ordeal is finally over.
“I’m glad that, after all these years, that this is being worked out,” she said.
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