For years we have grappled with The West Main Street Redevelopment Area, first with litigation with Pathmark and then with the nation’s economic collapse. Not much has been discussed publicly about this site over the last 6 months because the redevelopment committee has been hard at work negotiating with the developer and a potential food store tenant with the objective of bringing a reputable, brand name food store to downtown Somerville. One we can all be proud of, and more importantly one that will fit the current and future needs of Somerville and one we will all shop at.
I am happy to announce to our residents that a Letter of Intent has been signed between JSM at Somerville and Saker Shop Rites, the largest Shop Rite owner in the State, to bring a World Class Shop Rite Food Store to downtown Somerville.
This Letter of Intent is a precursor to a lease being negotiated, finalized and executed between the two parties. There is much work yet to be done between JSM, Shop Rite, and the Borough. Concurrent with this letter of intent, the Borough will aid both JSM and Shop Rite in their lease negotiations where they deem it necessary, and we will work with the developer to finalize the Redevelopment Plan and Agreement as it proceeds quickly towards site plan review by the Planning Board.
In the past few months, we have worked closely with the Governor’s Chief of Economic Growth, Jerry Zaro; and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and we are close to being the first municipality in the State to take advantage of New Jersey’s brand new Economic Recovery Growth Grant program. Among other advantages, this program enables the Borough to use Sales Tax revenue generated on this site which would normally go to Trenton, as a way to help fund financing gaps and get economic recovery moving. Quite simply put, sales tax revenue stays in Somerville instead of going to Trenton.
While we all have much work ahead of us to solidify this deal, we know that there is real interest in a food store coming to Somerville. I encourage all to have level heads and flexibility to make this happen. The Borough will help them in these final negotiations. We need the attention of Trenton to help make this happen quickly and we have it right now. Real economic growth doesn’t take place in the halls of Trenton or in bailouts of big business, it takes place on Main Street...and Main Street Somerville will lead that charge here in New Jersey.