13 August, 1991
Council Discusses Sale of Chambers Street Firehouse; Proceeds to Offset $1.6 Million Cost of New Facility
The sale of the Chambers Street firehouse moved one step closer to reality last week when Borough Council dis-cussed the possibility of its being placed on the auction block. A minimum bid of $1.2 million would be required.
A notice of auction was drawn up by Borough Attorney Michael Herbert, but the date was left blank. If the circa-1932 firehouse is sold, rather than leased, State statute decrees that it must be by auction, said Mr. Herbert.
The new firehouse currently under construction on Wither-spoon Street, in Princeton Township, will replace the firehouse on Chambers Street. It will be the only fire station, of three serving the community, to be located in the Township.
In April, a formal agreement between the Borough and Township stated that the new firehouse will be jointly owned by both municipalities. The construction and maintenance will be shared on the basis of 1989 ratables, with the Town-ship paying 64 percent and the Borough 36 percent.
Municipal officials hope that the sale of the Chambers Street firehouse will pay a large part of the $1.6 million cost of con-structing the new facility. Any costs not met by the sale price would be divided between the Borough and Township on the same ratable basis.
The Township is concerned about leasing, said Mayor Marvin Reed, because they are closer to their bonding limit than is the Borough. The Township has the right to review the Borough’s plans to dispose of the Chambers Street firehouse, which has been assessed at $1.2 million.
Firehouse Empty in Spring
Councilman David Goldfarb suggested that the auction be held in the spring rather than in the fall. The building would then be empty (the new fire-house is scheduled to open in March, 19927 and the town would be in a better situation regarding the sewer ban. Right now, development has been stymied by a sewer ban imposed by the Stony Brook-Millstone Regional Sewerage Authority. Most potential uses for the Chambers Street fire-house, such as a restaurant, would require additional sewer capacity.
Mayor Reed commented that he felt the sewer ban would be lifted within six months, appearing to make Councilman Goldfarb’s recommendation all the more reasonable. The Mayor said the preparation of a notice of auction, along with additional information he had requested on zoning and the meeting of code requirements, will be of help in taking the next step.
“Bringing it to this point has given me something to talk about,” said the Mayor, “something to think about.” Councilman Roger Martindell said he planned to get in touch with developers in Princeton about future plans for the old fire-house.