Corrections or additions?
This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the August 28, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
On the Move
Three Jewish organizations have signed a contract to
buy 80 acres on Clarksville Road to build a full service community
center. The deal is contingent not only on West Windsor township approvals
but also on the ability of the three groups to raise funds for land
purchase and construction costs.
Dataram, the computer component manufacturer located on Princeton-Hightstown
Road, bought the acreage 22 years ago for $875,000 and sold it for
$3 million. The contract was signed July 29.
"The deal makes it possible for us to purchase the property at
the end of 2004," says Andrew Frank of United Jewish Federation
of Princeton/Mercer/Bucks, which is partnering with the Ewing-based
Jewish Community Center of the Delaware Valley and the Jewish Family
and Children’s Services of Greater Mercer County. "Over the next
30 months we will be engaged in due diligence on a number of levels."
The new campus could house administrative offices of all three organizations.
Whether the JCC would keep its center in Ewing has not been decided.
The potential per-acre cost of about $37,000 compares with $22,000
and $20,000 per acre paid by West Windsor Township in two recent open
space acquisitions. But the Dataram property is zoned for office,
research, and manufacturing use and is therefore more valuable. Mark
Maddocks, Dataram’s vice president of finance, arranged the deal,
and the Jewish organizations were represented by attorney Ed Bernstein,
along with volunteers experienced in commercial real estate.
The former Dataram property is located between Meadow Road and 25
acres set aside for the proposed West Windsor Technology Center, which
adjoins the BASF/Cyanamid campus. In the current real estate climate
it does not have good prospects for early development. Because the
property is not on a main road it cannot be considered a Class A office
site, and it has no public water or other services.
"Recreation is a great use for that property, considering that
the demand for office development at this point is low, and that other
large tracts in better locations are likely to be developed first,"
says Chuck Segal of Segal Commercial Real Estate.
"We will do engineering studies to find out if this property can
support a community campus, and we are also engaged in negotiations
with the township about what kind of zoning changes might be needed,"
says Frank. "We have done a community survey to determine whether
people want a community campus and what kinds of services they might
like to see there. We conducted 16 focus groups all over Mercer County,
we did 30 key informant interviews, and we sent out a survey to roughly
6,000 people and got back 10 percent replies. Overwhelmingly there
was a positive response, but our final decision is heavily dependent
on what we think we can raise."
"Jewish community campuses have been developing all over the country,"
says Frank, "and in New Jersey we have them in Bridgewater, Scotch
Plains, and Cherry Hill. It will not be a religious campus. My guess
is that policies on participation will be similar to those of the
The three agencies would create a governing structure that would allow
each agency to maintain its own structure, says Frank. His is a fund-raising
organization. It received 2,240 individual donations for a total of
$2,234,000 for its annual campaign. "You might call us the Jewish
United Way," says Frank. These funds help to support the JCC,
the Jewish Family Service, the Center for Jewish Life at Princeton
University, eight Hebrew schools, three Hebrew day schools, and Greenwood
House. Also last year it raised $600,000 for a special Israel/Argentina
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