Leaving Town: PharmaPros

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This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the June 5, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Life in the Fast Lane

Palmer Square Management LLC has filed for building

permits for 97 townhouses to be built on Paul Robeson Place and Chamber

Street. This development is are part of an overall plan for 114 Hillier-designed

townhouses that was approved in 1990. The project would bring a significant

number of ratables to a tax-hungry borough.

"For once we are trying to do the right thing — build a project,

increase ratables, and complete something that should have been built

out 10 or 12 years ago," says David S. Newton, vice president

of Palmer Square. "It starts a clock ticking which says this is

going to get done." Whether the townhouses will be rented (as

the current ones are) or sold has not been decided, he says.

It will be hard for the borough not to grant these permits, but granting

them may be controversial. The grass-roots organization called Princeton

Future (U.S. 1, May 15) wants the borough and planning board to reconsider

the use of Paul Robeson Place. But when a landlord has an approval

in hand, it significantly enhances the value of the property, and

to rescind that approval could quickly trigger a lawsuit.

Palmer Square got the original approvals in 1990 during a period of

real estate recession. Newton says that a payment of $57,500 to the

affordable housing fund went along with the approvals. "Then the

borough said that was way too law," explains Newton.

He predicts that it is more likely for Palmer Square to agree to a

bigger monetary payment than to reconfigure the housing plan. "Since

1998 we have been trying to find another approach — putting the

library there, putting the arts council — and on none of those

could we do a deal with the borough."

"We will continue to try to persuade him that it is in his interests

to pursue a more inclusive development on the site," says Sheldon

Sturges, co-founder of Princeton Future. Sturges believes changing

the plan would not cause significant delay because a new set of approvals

could be expedited.

Newton is skeptical about revisiting the wisdom of revisiting the

approval process. "The big fear is that we will miss the incredibly

good housing market," says Newton. "It is not to do with the

ticking of time clocks but with creating a circumstance where we can

negotiate with the borough. What the borough is asking us for is way

over the top, but who wants to litigate? We don’t. We are the largest

property owner that pays ratables in town, and it is not good for

us to be litigating. It could cost the borough another $1 million

in legal fees. We want to work out something friendly."

As far as Newton is concerned, changing the plan is not negotiable.

"A huge amount of thought was given to appearance and access along

Chambers and Paul Robeson," he says. "Back in 1989-90, the

desires and thoughts of the Witherspoon neighborhood were very much

taken into account, whatever Princeton Future says about it. Knowing

how difficult it is to get everyone to agree on configuration, the

only practical option is to have the negotiation based on money."

— Barbara Fox

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Leaving Town: PharmaPros

Just a week after PharmaPros announced a new Internet-based

way of keeping track of clinical trials (U. S. 1, May 20), it sent

notices that it had moved from Main Street in Lawrenceville to the

Boston area: 245 1st Street, Suite 1851, 18th Floor, Cambridge, MA

02142, 617-444-8705; fax, 617-247-1375. The Princeton phone numbers

are still operating.

"PharmaPros Corporation is and has been a virtual company with

respect to our business, our customers, and our employees since our

inception in 1996," says Peg Regan, founder and president. She

says she has employees in five states and the United Kingdom and customers

across the United States and Canada, as well as England and Germany.

"We provide project based consulting services to support the pharmaceutical

and biotech industry for clinical research technology. The varied

locations of our employees provide an advantage to the company in

accessing clients as well as supporting various time zones."

"One of our partner companies, Phase Forward — the leading

software vendor for clinical informatics, also has corporate headquarters

in the Boston area, as does one of our largest customers — Bristol-Myers

Squibb Medical Imaging."

PharmaPros, 2633 Main Street, Suite 201, Lawrenceville 08648. Peg Regan, president. 609-912-1100; fax, 609-912-1120. Home

page: www.pharmapros.com

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