flooding incidents occurred prior to that event while MSG was a tenant of the building and the most recent event was in August 2009, though less severe than the others. The lease is up in 2013, and the tenant plans to move because of the flooding. The company would like to remain in the FWOP because of the location. The same owner (Weinberg) owns 375 Commerce Drive, a now-vacant lot that is being marketed for development. An application has been submitted to the Township as well. The parcel is mostly out of the 100-year floodplain, and would most likely be elevated entirely out of the floodplain as part of the construction of a new building. This could potentially create an opportunity for a TDR arrangement with the single landowner in which development rights from 565 Virginia Drive are transferred to 375 Commerce Drive and a new mixed-use building is constructed at a higher density than the rest of the FWOP. The lot’s location on a prominent corner could contribute to its value.
520 Pennsylvania Avenue Property Description:
Ownership: Robert and Ellen Seltzer
Contact: Michael Schwartz, Director of Finance
Parcel Size: 2.33 acres
Building Size: 16,794 square feet
Current Use: Office
Current Tenants: Cohen Seltzer
Assessed Value: $1,085,000
520 Pennsylvania Avenue is a two-story office building on the south side of the street, technically located outside the FWOP. It is located in the existing 100-year floodplain, but the property will be in the 25-year floodplain after the dams are built. The property owner and President of Cohen Seltzer is Robert Seltzer, who purchased the property in 1970 and had the building built. The Director of Finance reports that the most recent flooding events occurred in 2001 and around 2006, when the nearby rail bridge was blocked up because of debris, which cause severe flooding along Pennsylvania Avenue. Since then, he reports that no major flooding to the property has occurred. Cohen Seltzer’s office is on the second floor of the building and the first floor is currently vacant and for lease. The first floor was occupied by the contractor for the Route 309 interchange construction project, but upon completing of the work, the contractor vacated the premises. The Finance Director said that finding a tenant has been difficult and rents they can command have been decreasing from a high of $18 to $20 per square foot. He mentioned that the building owner has attempted to sell it on several occasions, and continues to be interested in selling, but has not received a high enough offer. While he realizes that flooding, both real and perceived, will always bring the price down, he needs to at least recover a set number he has in mind to reconsider selling the building.
Other Interviewed Property Owners/Managers
Using the current floodplain delineation prior to the release of the post-dam construction engineering analysis, we interviewed several other property owners/managers that were thought to be located in severely flood-prone areas. With the new analysis, however, they have been downgraded to the 100-year floodplain or having no threat of flooding. Following are those properties and their associated interview summaries.
Technical Memorandum #1UDT: Characteristics of Flood-Prone Parcels