Council readies to sell firehouse at auction

3 December, 1991 (~estimated)

Council readies to sell firehouse at auction

By Patti Wieser
Staff Writer

The Chambers Street Firehouse is going up for sale a public auction. Princeton Borough Council Thursday told Borough Attorney Michael Herbert to prepare for a public auction, with the stipulation that the municipality can reject any or all bids on the firehouse.

The firehouse is a joint facility shared by the borough and Princeton Township and both parties would have to agree over accepting a bid from a buyer. A bid could be rejected as long as a lower bid is not accepted afterward, the borough attorney said.

Mr. Herbert, who reported to council on his recent meeting with township officials on the firehouse, said township representatives pressed for its sale.

A new firehouse is being con-structed on Witherspoon Street that will serve in place of the Chambers Street facility and officials had hoped to offset the costs of construction with profits made from selling, the downtown building.

Over the months, borough officials fearing the dip in the economy and the poor market —have discussed leasing the property rather than selling it.

But Mr. Herbert said the township “wants to explore outright purchase,” adding that the town-ship wants to find out if the building can be sold before considering leasing it.

Mayor Marvin Reed commented that the township wants it to be proven that the bids will be low before it accepts leasing the property.

Officials said rough estimates put the market value of the property at $1.3 million.

Borough Councilman David Goldfarb said there would probably be no difference between leasing the property and selling it. Rent would go toward paying off the debt on the new firehouse, just as profits from a sale would.

Borough Councilman Roger Martindell said the borough is more concerned over a sale because the property affects the borough since it is in the borough.

“Merely selling for the most is not the only interest we have,” Mr. Martindell said.

Some officials discussed amending the zoning in the area to protect the use of the building before it is sold but the borough attorney cautioned against such a move.

Mr. Herbert is expected to have a form of auction for council to consider at the Jan. 22 meeting.

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