Campbell's Soup : 5-1 HSC Council also noted applicants' failure to explore possible uses other than Class A office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TRENTON - June 22, 2007
Preservation New Jersey (PNJ), the statewide, grassroots historic
preservation advocacy and education organization, today congratulated the
New Jersey Historic Sites Council (HSC) for its vote yesterday to protect
from demolition Camden's historic Sears building. The Sears Building
is listed in the National and New Jersey Registers of Historic Places.
The HSC found that the applicants - Campbell's Soup Co, the New Jersey
Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and the Camden Redevelopment Agency -
have not adequately explored the economic feasibility of rehabilitation of
the 1928 landmark Sears building as part of the 90-acre redevelopment plan
that Campbell's and the state are proposing. The Council also noted the
applicants' failure to explore possible uses other than Class A office
space. The HSC offered its help to the applicants to fully investigate
other scenarios that would result in a successful redevelopment for
Campbell's and the community while preserving the historic building
on Camden's Admiral Wilson Boulevard. The Sears Building was included in
PNJ's annual 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites in New Jersey list in 2000.
PNJ also called on State Historic Preservation Officer and DEP Commissioner
Lisa Jackson to uphold the carefully thought out recommendation of the
Historic Sites Council. (The New Jersey Register law allows the DEP
Commissioner to overrule the HSC's recommendation and approve demolition.)
As part of Campbell's development plan the New Jersey EDA has offered up to
$23 million in subsidies for the $90 million redevelopment project, which
would result in a suburban-style office park that would include the
Campbell's corporate headquarters and areas for other office development.
Preservation New Jersey has criticized the NJEDA and other parties in the
project for describing the Sears building as "an impediment to development"
and calling for its demolition long before any efforts were made to explore
the feasibility of its preservation and its incorporation into the larger
redevelopment. The present Campbell's plan calls for the landmark to be
replaced with a paved parking lot for the office park.
In testimony before the Historic Sites Council yesterday, Ron Emrich, PNJ
Executive Director, pointed to the application's failure to explore historic
preservation easements, New Market Tax Credits and other financial
incentives available to designated historic buildings like the Camden
landmark. Also noted by the PNJ Director is the failure of the State of
New Jersey to enact a state historic preservation tax credit - already
available in 29 states - that would assist in financing the preservation
and rehabilitation of historic commercial and residential buildings,
including the Sears edifice.
The Historic Sites Council's resolution recommending denial of the
demolition noted that there is an alternative proposal for rehabilitation
and re-use of the Sears structure from an international clothing design
company that currently employs at-risk youth in Camden and is seeking to
expand its operations to the historic Sears building.
Preservation New Jersey, founded in 1978, has more than 1,000 organizational
and individual members across the state. The organization advocates for and
promotes historic preservation to protect and enhance the vitality and
heritage of New Jersey¹s richly diverse communities. It is the only
statewide, membership-based organization that works to protect unique,
historic "someplaces" from becoming "anyplace."
Preservation New Jersey
30 S. Warren Street
Trenton, NJ 08608
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