(Cherry Hill, N.J.) — Township Council tonight took the first step toward revitalizing two underutilized, stagnant properties in town, with the goal of transforming them into premier corporate and commercial facilities.
Council directed the Township Planning Board to conduct a preliminary study to determine whether a 35-acre parcel known as the Victory Refrigeration Site and a 10-acre property on Route 70 referred to as the “OTB” site should be designated as areas in need of redevelopment. Such a designation would enable the Township to redevelop the properties to help attract and retain new commercial tax ratables.
The Victory site, located on Woodcrest Road across from the Woodcrest Corporate Center, is currently home to an outdated, 1950s-era manufacturing plant that has been underutilized for years. The site’s proximity to the PATCO High-Speed Line and the New Jersey Turnpike and its separate, direct access to Interstate 295 make it an ideal location for major corporations, such as Subaru of America, that are looking for new suburban headquarters.
“I envision transforming the Victory site into an economically viable and thriving world-class corporate campus fit for the 21st century,” Mayor Chuck Cahn said. “This is an opportunity to grow the Township’s commercial ratable base, solidify our thriving local economy and set a precedent for future growth.”
The first step in the redevelopment process is for Council to direct the Planning Board to undertake a preliminary investigation to determine each area’s potential for redevelopment.
Based on the Planning Board’s findings and recommendations, Council may designate all or a portion of each property as a redevelopment zone and move forward with developing a plan for the site. Residential development will not be included in the plans for either site.
“The Victory plant was built for a different time, a time when Cherry Hill’s economy relied on manufacturing,” Council President David Fleisher said. “We need to revitalize this property and bring it to 21st-century standards, to attract important tax ratables and further enhance the local economy.”
Council also directed the Planning Board to evaluate a 10-acre parcel at the Garden State Park that was purchased a decade ago for use as an off-track betting facility. Despite its highly visible location on Route 70, the site remains vacant and undeveloped.
“This is the gateway to Cherry Hill and an ideal location for a state-of-the-art commercial facility,” Cahn said.
Over the next several weeks to months, the Planning Board will study both sites to determine whether they meet the statutory criteria to be designated as areas in need of redevelopment, before making a final recommendation to Council.