Monday, August 19, 2013

Council Opposed to Tax Abatement for Gloucester Premium Outlets

Posted by Bill Duhart (Editor) , August 13, 2013 at 07:00 AM Gloucester Township Patch

Gloucester Township Council Vice President Orlando Mercado said Monday the township's chief governing body was not in favor of a payment in lieu of taxes agreement, or PILOT, for the Gloucester Premium Outlets Mall.

"This governing body is against offering any PILOT to the developer," Mercado said during an action meeting Monday. "This is a prime site located on Route 42. The property is owned by Gloucester 42 Associates, which is an LLC of Cooper Hospital. It was purchased in 2005." PILOT tax abatements are typically considered for areas in need of redevelopment as an economic incentive. But the agreements can mean the loss of tens of thousands of dollars in tax revenues, usually to local schools, during the length of the agreement, which can last 30 years.

Mercado responded to a letter send by Paul DiBartolo, a resident and candidate in the fall for township Council. DiBartolo did not attend the meeting. The Council took the unusual step of ruling out a PILOT even though the developer had not yet applied for one.

Speculation about consideration of a tax abatement for Simon Management Associates and PRIET/Rubin Inc., for the 450,000-square-foot outlet mall being developed near the busy College Drive exit of Route 42, had been a hot topic locally. The developer won final site plan approval from the township last month and plans to open in the fall of 2014.

Mayor David Mayer has called the mall "the largest economic development project in the history of Gloucester Township." He said it will bring 300 construction jobs and 700 retail jobs when completed. Mayer did not attend the meeting on Monday. Council President Glen Bianchini and member Dan Hutchinson were on vacation and member Frank Schmidt did not attend because of illness, Mercado said.

The mall is being built on 55-acres of former farm land that has been designated a redevelopment zone on a new interchange on the busy North/South Highway. That designation typically includes the consideration of a PILOT as an incentive to a developer to build in an area in need of redevelopment.

A PILOT often includes an abatement of local school taxes, but a continuation of municipal and county taxes for a period of years. School taxes usually makeup the majority of a local tax bill.

A cadre of residents complained to the Board of Education last week about the possibility of a PILOT. Most of the board members said they had not heard about the issue and promised to look into it.


Gloucester Premium Outlets may seek tax abatement

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