Deputy Mayor Anthony Minniti calls 2013 a “very ambitious year.”
For Minniti, who also serves as the director of economic development, every year can be described the same way. But he, along with township committee, is prepared to tackle an area of the township some have called “forgotten.” That’s ambitious.
Cinnaminson’s industrial area sits between River Road and Route 130 in the northwestern section of town. You may have lived here your entire life and never turned down Taylors Lane, Union Landing Road or Industrial Highway and known its home to such industry giants as Sea Box, Airgas, Inc., even Habitat for Humanity, and more.
“We want to start what we started on Route 130 but in a completely different area,” Minniti said.
The deputy mayor hopes to designate the industrial section as a redevelopment zone, which would give township committee the ability to negotiate with developers, fast track the approval process for new tenants and more.
“Right now, we’re limited in what we can do,” Minniti said.
If a developer is interested in that area of the township, all committee members can do now is say the space is available. If it’s deemed a redevelopment zone, members can negotiate.
“That sort of partnership is why we were able to do what we did on Route 130,” Minniti said.
It’s not such a simple process. The planning board must first be involved with the redevelopment designation. It could take several months of public hearings, studies and more. But Minniti thinks it’s worth it.
“It gives us access to all sorts of incentives and tools that can make developing these areas more attractive,” he said. “It allows the township to take a very active role.”
Mayor Ben Young agrees. He works on Riverton Road in Cinnaminson and has seen companies come and go over the years.
“Hoeganaes is gone—it’s 90 acres of empty ground,” he said. “Whitesell has 400,000 square feet of empty buildings. And in Delran, they have an additional 400,000. That’s almost a million square feet of empty space. We’ve got to try to develop some attractive incentives to come here.”
If the area is deemed a redevelopment zone, competition is going to be the biggest factor, Young said. There may be more attractive options closer to Route 295 or the New Jersey Turnpike.
“Essentially,” Young said, “this is not a huge distribution market. This is more of a user market. We need somebody that might be distributing material products to Philly. That’s a competitive edge we need to exploit. It’s a difficult challenge.”
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