More on guest houses
Commerce St., aka pandora Gallery 50 and the Canvas Bag.
Cumberland Empowerment Zone has established an agreement of sale with the seller to acquire the property for $160,000 with the goal of working in partnership with the city to market and sell the property to a complementary business.
The city will split “interim carrying costs” including property taxes, insurance, utilities and marketing costs on a 50/50 basis with the Cumberland Empowerment Zone.
Cumberland Empowerment Zone is funding this through second generation Empowerment Zone funds. Cumberland County Empowerment Zone Executive Director Jeannine MacDonald gave a presentation during work session explaining the program, available by phone at (856) 459 1700.
Basically she explained that the Cumberland Empowerment Zone was formed to administer empowerment zone funds received for Bridgeton, Millville, Vineland and Port Norris as round II empowerment zones.
The original plan was for the Cumberland Empowerment Zone to receive $10 million per year for 10 years, which never came to fruition, but Cumberland Empowerment Zone has received $26.5 mil since its formation in 1999.
Bridgeton now has $3.2 million in second generation funds, which have been collected as first generation loans have been repaid.
The Canvas Bag/Gallery 50 property wi pandora ll be owned by “Cumberland Redevelopment,” a nonprofit formed by the Cumb pandora erland Empowerment Zone for the purpose of this Bridgeton land banking project.
Note: The seller and Cumberland Empowerment Zone have signed an agreement of sale with a number of protections (ex.: if structural problems requiring over $2,500 of repairs are discovered the buyer can back out of the deal, etc.) but have not closed on the deal yet.
Mayor Kelly said he and Kevin Rabago had spoken with an interested tenant who wants to do a walk through ASAP.
Kelly and council agreed that they want to start land banking to gain more control over the downtown area.
“Let us control some of t pandora hese properties to market to organizations and businesses with benefits to our town, not prospectors who want to sit on these properties until the market turns,” Kelly said.
He noted he can’t fault investors for trying to stay afloat by participating in that kind of practice but noted, “We can’t prosper with five or six of the same stores on each block.”