Dear Somerville Citizens,
On Tuesday, March 22 a groundbreaking for ShopRite to be located downtown was held. It was a great day for the people of Somerville, as we removed the first shovel of dirt in an integrated redevelopment plan for Somerville. Far too often in the last few weeks we are all reading about projects that are failing and food stores closing all over this state…but not here…Somerville is on the move!
This groundbreaking is about economic revitalization and the investment by private business in a downtown that is ready to grow…..an investment that has the ability to enhance our Borough financially, enhance our downtown streetscape, enhance the vibrancy of Main Street, spur further private investment, and is the kick off to all of our redevelopment efforts so we can finally have a real impact on our ratable base and our property taxes.
Together with Edgewood Properties and Saker Shop Rites we are bringing jobs to Somerville. We are bringing new stores to downtown and creating new housing opportunities for all income and age levels. In these tough economic times this single element of our redevelopment plan is going to:
-Create 500 construction jobs
-Generate $23 million in construction material purchases.
-Create 150 new jobs after construction
-Create 223 new households which will generate $15 to $20 million in new consumer expenditures.
This project is the start of an economic engine to compliment the current business environment on Main Street and encourage other business people to “come to Somerville”'
At the time of the country's economic collapse, there were many who thought this project would languish for years…or never happen at all. I was not one of them…nor were our partners.
Mr. Morris introduced Mr. Saker to the Borough for the first time in the spring of 2009 during the roughest times of our nations economic failure and over the course of 2 years we have crafted a plan that is a win for all and is now under construction. What helped it to happen was hard work, late nights and early mornings, cool heads around the table, an ability to work through problems, the building of trust, and a commitment to the project and the Borough by all parties.
Mr. Saker and Saker ShopRites saw opportunity in our Borough and realized the growth expected for Somerville and worked with us to bring this store to a reality. Mr. Saker also came to the table and delivered…the Somerville Shop Rite will become a regional destination bringing new visitors and shoppers into the Borough and will quickly become a wonderful anchor for this center and for our Main Street.
The Borough and Saker ShopRites worked closely with many parts of State Government specifically the NJ EDA to create a financial package called an Economic Redevelopment Growth Grant to make this project a reality. This project enables sales tax dollars to stay and be reinvested in Somerville to spur economic development rather than those tax dollars going down to Trenton. That’s just good business!
Overall, this project will see close to a $100 million combined investment in downtown Somerville by Edgewood Properties and Saker Shop Rites. This investment is already spurring other investment both by the private and public sector. We are seeing infill and rehabilitation development on Main Street right now. NJ Transit is at the tail end of a $16 million station upgrade, NJ DOT has declared Somerville a Transit Village and with that we are already seeing significant grant money for road and pedestrian rehabilitation in our downtown. All of this public and private investment is no accident, it came about by the crafting of strategic redevelopment plans that are now seeing success even in this economy.
I thank both Saker ShopRites and Edgewood Properties for their hard work and investment in our Borough to make this project happen. I thank Governor Christie and the State of New Jersey for implementing a financial program that enabled this to happen, I thank the Borough Council for sticking with me when times were tough, and I thank our citizens for believing in Somerville.
This project is creating a new economic engine on Main Street not in a year or two, but right here and right now. We can all look forward to shopping at ShopRite this fall.
Brian G. Gallagher
Mayor, Borough of Somerville
Mayor Brian G. Gallagher
Mayor Gallagher and Planning Board
Chairman Bernie Navatto
Mayor Gallagher and Richard Saker
Mayor Gallagher and Borough Council