November 23, 1992 (~estimated)


Two Governing Bodies Agree to Accept Offer On Former Firehouse

By Myrna K. Bearse

Princeton’s two governing bodies agreed at a joint meeting last Tuesday night to accept Lawrenceville resident Rysia de Ravel’s half-million-dollar bid for the Chambers Street firehouse.

Borough Council is expected to adopt a resolution approving the sale of the firehouse at its Thursday night meeting. Township Commit-tee is then expected to adopt a similar resolution at its meeting on Monday night.

During last week’s closed-session meeting, a number of people said they were disappointed that the building did not bring more money, said Mayor Marvin Reed, “but they realized there were problems with the building itself as well as in the current real ‘estate market that would limit the chance to get more money on a second try.”

The proceeds from the sale — minus the five percent com-mission to be paid to Coldwell Banker Schlott for running the auction — will go toward pay-ing for the new home of Engine Co. No. 3 — the Wither-spoon Street firehouse. The cost of the new firehouse is $1.8 million.

Mayor Reed said the firehouse building itself need-ed a great deal of work to bring it to code. “For some uses, especially for use by a restaurant, there would be a problem in getting an easement from neighboring property owners,” he said. Owners of the adjoining properties are Princeton University and Township resident Mary Vuglen.

In a November 20 memo evaluating whether the half million dollar offer should be accepted, Borough Administrator Thomas Shannon said he believed the market for the building had been successfully reached through the auction process.

He added that a number of prospective serious bidders had questioned the prohibitive front costs associated with the pur-chase of the firehouse. These costs were in the area of $1.2 to $1.4 million.

The memo also noted that, if a restaurant were to be located there, a liquor license would be necessary to offset heavy front costs. Such a license, if it were available, would cost between $200,000 and $300,000.

Mr. Shannon concluded that there would be no rational ex-pectation of an improved purchase price if the property were ‘ remarketed. , Feasible remedies, he said, do not exist to diminish front costs and improve purchase price.

“Holding the property for future disposal is not advantageous,” he said. “It is recommended that the $500,000 bid in hand be accepted and that the sale be consummated.”

Mayor Reed noted that he had received appeals from groups such as the Downtown Teen Center, which asked the Borough to place a hold on the sale so its members could work out some kind of deal to purchase the building.

They did not have money on hand, the Mayor said, adding that the Teen Center’s efforts to try to get the Board of Education to fund the purchase through leftover school bond money would just be a way of getting tax money from one source to give to another.

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