Infrastructure improvements move slowly at industrial park

By Joyce Blay
Staff Writer

Infrastructure improvements
move slowly at industrial park
By Joyce Blay
Staff Writer

LAKEWOOD — There are still no high-profile corporate tenants leasing space at the Cedar Bridge Industrial Park in Lakewood, but neither are there any high-profile bills at this stage of the project, Township Committeeman Charles Cunliffe said.

"The hold-up is [construction of] a spine road, which is a long serpentine road that traverses the entire Industrial Park complex, as well as the installation of infrastructure," Cunliffe said. "The potential tenants said through representatives that they want to see those requirements completed by the developer, Cedar Bridge Properties, before agreeing to finalize a lease agreement."

Cunliffe said the developer would not get the land until the tenants agreed to lease space in the park.

The good news, said Cunliffe, is that the project is located in a redevelopment area. That means land which has not been developed in 20 years and that would be too expensive for the township to develop itself can instead be developed by an outside company at its expense. The developer is given an option on the parcel only if it is developed beforehand.

"Redevelopment law allows you to do very novel things with regard to the development of land," said Cunliffe. "Novel, aggressive and innovative."

As a result, Cunliffe said he is confident the project will fulfill the Township Committee’s expectations, even if it is at a slower pace than had been anticipated.

"I’m hoping that by the end of the year there will be an announcement of a tenant occupying the land," he said. "[The developer won’t] get the land until they get the signature on the dotted line."

Complicating that schedule may be two projects being carried out by the county and the state, which Cunliffe said are crucial to the successful marketing of Cedar Bridge Industrial Park.

Ocean County is still completing improvements to Cedar Bridge Avenue (Route 528), which include widening that major thoroughfare in the community.

In addition, the Garden State Parkway interchange at Cedar Bridge Avenue remains incomplete. The expected date of completion, said Cunliffe, was to have been by June or July. He acknowledged that at a point in time when he had hoped the project would be finished, it is evident that it will not open on schedule.

"The state construction team is only just paving the ramps now," said Cunliffe. "They had to put new bridges across the Garden State Parkway after taking down the old overpass and completing a second overpass, which they will connect. It is a huge undertaking and it takes time to get that done."

Despite the delay, Cunliffe said potential tenants are eagerly awaiting the industrial park’s opening.

"Some [companies] are champing at the bit [to lease there]," he said.