Nine development companies will vie for the right to develop the 8.2-acre residential parcel at Kings Highway and Hopkins Lane. Their proposals are widely varied.
By Matt Skoufalos | August 11, 2023
After seven meandering years and a $3.25-million settlement with developer J. Brian O’Neill of 2 Hopkins Lane, LLC, Haddonfield is prepared to hear new alternatives for the redevelopment of its 8.2-acre residential parcel, which historically housed the Bancroft school.
As part of its legal negotiations with 2 Hopkins Lane and the nonprofit Fair Share Housing, the borough government was ordered to solicit alternative proposals for the site after O’Neill’s representatives told a courtroom that the group had neither the interest nor the intention to build there.
The deadline to file those proposals was 4 p.m. August 10; when the bids were unsealed yesterday, the borough had received nine in total, submitted by developers ranging in size from boutique firms to those with a national footprint.
What follows is a review of each of these concept plans as described in documents filed with the municipal clerk. These proposals vary in content, depth of detail, and presentation. They have not been previously reviewed nor discussed in any government meeting, and should not be construed as final (or even preliminary) designs.
The projects outlined below do, however, reflect a variety of potential approaches to designing the future of the site, and may at some point be pursued by the local government, or not at all.
Alterra of Philadelphia, PA
Leo Addimando, Managing Partner/Cofounder
The novelty of the Alterra proposal hinges on its pitch to “create two blocks within one new neighborhood,” constructing an access road from Hopkins Lane aligned to the easternmost historic building on the site.
Doing that, the developer suggests, would give the parcel “a smaller, more intimate, more inviting, and more walkable pedestrian scale,” maximize open space, and connect the living space to the adjoining Cooper River Trail.
On the northern block of the property, Alterra would build a four-story, L-shaped multifamily building with 50 “luxury” one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, ground-floor enclosed parking, a lobby, front desk, and elevator.
On the southern block, the developer would construct 40 townhome flats across four, three-story, “garden-style luxury” apartments with 10 units each flats in a townhome configuration with dedicated, garaged parking. Design elements would include brick, cement clapboard siding, double hung windows, and other such touches in keeping with the borough aesthetic.
The developer would “maintain and rebuild” the loop road on the parcel to minimize the need for new curb cuts, limit unnecessary removal of vegetation, calm traffic, and secure emergency vehicle access. In addition, Alterra proposes amenities such as pickleball and bocce ball courts, community gardens, an open-air amphitheater, and an outdoor exhibit space for the Haddonfield Outdoor Sculpture Trust (HOST).
“Health and wellness will be a deliberate theme,” the developer notes, with walking and biking paths, meditation and reflection areas, and repurposing a historic building as “a boutique fitness club,” complete with yoga studio.
The other historic buildings would be renovated into a clubhouse and greeting house, respectively.
The Alterra project proposes age-targeting all units to buyers aged 55 and older, which the developer said projects an estimated six or fewer schoolchildren. If an agreement is signed by the end of November, construction could begin in March 2025 and be completed in August 2026.
Haddonfield architect Thomas Wagner, DeSimone Construction of West Deptford, civil engineer Stantec of Philadelphia, and APG Living property management company, also of Philadelphia, are attached to the project.
Purchase price: $3.25 million, plus a PILOT agreement. Alterra based this price upon a $36,000 per-unit valuation, which it believes can be increased if Haddonfield increases the allowable density on the site. The developer will pay all realty transfer taxes, and offered to invest “up to $100,000 in a mutually agreed upon project with community stakeholders.”
Comparable projects from the same developer: 1148 Frankford, 23 W. Girard Avenue, The Pepper Building, all in Philadelphia.
D.R. Horton of Mount Laurel, NJ
Jon Davern, Principal
Incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Arlington, Texas, D.R. Horton is the largest homebuilder in the United States by volume over the past 20 years. The developer envisions the Bancroft parcel as attractive to various potential buyers, including “young families who want to buy in Haddonfield, but are continuously priced out of the market,” and “long-term residents” looking to downsize.
Its pitch: 70 residences, including 60 market-rate three-bedroom homes and 10 affordable two-bedroom homes with converted studies. D.R. Horton describes these as “a two-story product with the space of a small single-family home, but at a price that is reasonable.”
The project could generate 84 schoolchildren, based on Haddonfield demographics of 36 percent of households with kids, and 2.89 people per home on average, according to the RFP.
After six to eight months of construction, the developer believes it could construct and sell all units within a year and a half of the project being completed.
Design elements are proposed that would be in keeping with current homes in the borough historic district, “with an emphasis on the use of brick.”
Purchase Price: $4.3 million, based on an offer of $75,000 per approved market-rate lot, plus $5,000 per lot if a 5-year PILOT is secured.
Comparable projects from the same developer: Aura 3 and Silvergate, Elk Township; Congressional, Moorestown; Patcong Farms, Egg Harbor Township.
Ivy Property Group of Haddon Heights, NJ
Chris Mrozinski, Principal
Local developer Ivy Property Group envisions a development that connects to existing open space on the parcel, with minimal paved areas and amenities intended to help establish a sense of place.
The project, which also includes multifamily owner-operator-developer Merion Realty Partners and Dynamic Engineering Consultants of Yardley, Pennsylvania, would create 105 rental units (71 one-bedroom and 24 two-bedroom units), plus 15 three-bedroom townhomes for sale. Of the total, 15 units would be affordable, including some of the townhomes.
Dubbed “The Preserve” at Haddonfield, the rental units would comprise residential midrise apartments (four floors over parking). Both the apartments and the townhomes would incorporate design elements that “reinterpret the historical architectural tradition of Haddonfield with a 21st century flair,” the developer wrote, including metal roofing, cement board siding, red brick, glass, and steel. The townhomes would feature surface and underground parking.
“The Preserve” also proposes constructing a network of paths connecting to the green space on the parcel, a dog park, a pop-up café with seasonal community space, and a sculpture garden along Hopkins Lane. Ivy Property describes its design as emphasizing connections with nearby Pennypacker Park, and maximizing use of available landscape.
The developer estimates a 32-month, two-phase construction timeline, with the townhomes built first over the course of a year, and the apartments completed in 20 months thereafter. The project would target empty-nesters and retirees as well as young professionals, and could generate an estimated 22 school-aged children (seven in the apartments, 15 in the townhomes).
Purchase price: $4.4 million, plus a PILOT agreement
Comparable projects from the same developer: 2501 Oakford Street and 801 Market Street, Philadelphia; Knights Crossing, Camden City.
J.G. Petrucci Company of Asbury, NJ
Jim Petrucci, President
Since 1987, the privately held J.G. Petrucci Company has operated in commercial, industrial, and residential properties across New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Its partners for the Bancroft proposal include its subsidiary, Iron Hill Construction Management, architect Cerminara of Hillsborough, and senior living developer Allegro.
Petrucci offered the only proposal to lean in completely to the idea of a single structure dedicated entirely to senior living: “a four-story, active adult community that will give those 55+ the flexibility to reduce the financial and physical burden of maintaining a home while keeping residence in Haddonfield.”
Citing the aging demographics of the five-mile surrounding area, which includes a population of 60,943 people 65 and older, the developer suggested constructing a four-story low-rise building with 161 market-rate rental units and 20 affordable rental units.
“This project allows for luxury living designed to promote socialization and quality of life by way of design,” Petrucci wrote.
“It is a response to the preference of the leading edge of the baby boomer generation who are younger and have lower-acuity needs than the current residents in senior housing independent living.”
Its solution to limiting the generation of school-aged children is to make the entirety of the building age-targeted at residents 55 and older.
However, Petrucci noted that “a resident may have an additional occupant aged 18-plus,” and thus no schoolchildren.
The building would feature amenities such as a bistro and demonstration kitchen, activity hall, fitness and yoga area, pool, spa, grilling station, fire pit, and bocce court. It would be flanked by 209 parking spaces, designed to earn LEED new-construction certification, and could be completed within 16-18 months of approvals.
Purchase price: $5 million. Petrucci estimates that the project could net Haddonfield $100,000 in new ratables annually during construction, and $700,000 in ratables annually thereafter.
Comparable projects from the same developer: The Winston at Lyndhurst; The Station at Grant Avenue, Plainfield; Davisville Senior Apartments, Willow Grove, PA; Allegro Harrington Park, Harrington Park, NJ
Lennar of Hamilton, NJ
Anthony Mignone, Division President
Established in Miami, Florida in 1954, Lennar is the second-largest homebuilder in the country, behind D.R. Horton, and the largest homebuilder in New Jersey. If approved, the company said it could fully develop the Bancroft site within 10 to 24 months. Its partners include Commercial Engineering Services (CES) of Gloucester Township and Holliday Architects of Medford.
Lennar would build 84 age-restricted, for-sale condo units across seven 12-unit buildings, one of which would contain 12 affordable units. Lennar estimates the per-unit market rate development price at $154,761, or $1.857 million per 12-unit building; the affordable units would have an average construction price of $110,000 apiece, or $1.32 million for a 12-unit building.
In addition to the condos, Lennar would restore three historic buildings on the property by converting them to potential gathering spaces. Additionally, the developer would establish pickleball courts onsite and connectors to existing trails in the Cooper River watershed.
The builder projects that its market-rate condominiums will sell for anywhere from $749,000 to $839,000 apiece. By comparison, Lennar notes that the average Haddonfield home sale price in 2022 was $745,939, and the average annual tax bill was $16,350.
In exchange for constructing a wholly age-restricted project, Lennar will seek a multi-year PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) tax abatement.
At a projected average sale price of $780,000, the developer believes the annual per-unit tax ratable to be around $17,082 per unit.
According to its RFP, Lennar anticipates its design would add another 200 residents to the borough, including 20 children.
Without age restrictions, the developer claims the project could generate “at least 400 percent” more schoolchildren, or 80 kids.
Purchase price: $13.325 million ($13 million in land value plus $325,000 in contributions to recreation and common areas).
Comparable projects from the same developer: Venue at The American, Morris Plains; Hopewell Parc, Hopewell Township; Venue at Smithville Greene, Eastampton.
Scannapieco Development Corporation of Philadelphia, PA
Tom Scannapieco, President and CEO
In its 30-year history, Philadelphia-based Scannapieco Development has carved out a niche in the high-end regional housing market. Its proposal for the Bancroft site reflected that position, presenting the most expensive (and potentially lucrative, if the estimates wash) option contemplated among any of the projects submitted.
Together with architects Minno and Wasko of Lambertville, Colliers Engineering and Design of Mays Landing, and Urban Intent, Scannapieco’s affiliated multifamily rental development company, the developer envisions a combination of 86 for-sale, luxury townhouses and flats with a total value in the neighborhood of $90 million.
Scannapieco would construct 10 affordable and 46 market-rate townhomes ranging from 1,500 to 2,800 square-feet, and selling at $700,000 to $1.3 million apiece. The developer would also add 30 market-rate flats (1,200 to 2,800 square-feet) priced from $600,000 to $1.2 million apiece, plus two affordable flats.
The project is intended to keep things at pedestrian scale, with walkable streets, open space, and “a sense of place.” It proposes two-bedroom townhouses of three different sizes and four models of flats overlooking the park toward Cooper River.
Ten 17-feet wide, two-bedroom townhouses (1,500 square-feet) would be priced from $700,000, which the developer described as “a lower entry price alternative for our empty-nester targets to this exquisite community.” Each would contain two-car garages, private elevators, and open floor plans. Among these are six two-bedroom and two three-bedroom affordable units, which would all be built in the first phase of the project.
Another 36 27-feet wide townhouses would be built in groups of two to four units, each with “high-end exterior detailing,” varied facades, and individual outdoor space.
The 32 luxury flats (1,200 to 2,800 square-feet) would be built in groups of eight across four five-story buildings with parking beneath, in which would be included two 2-bedroom affordable units (900 square-feet).
The structures would feature oversized windows and private balconies, among other amenities.
Scannapieco proposes adapting the historic buildings onsite either for use by local nonprofits, or as recreation and clubhouse areas, possibly a golf simulator or spa. The property would also boast a centralized water feature, plus walking and biking paths.
Its chief strategy for limiting the number of schoolchildren generated by the project (four or five) is simply to price out families with kids, a strategy that Scannapieco writes has been successful in its other properties.
“Since families can get more room for their money in other developments and existing housing stock, history shows this product will appeal to older buyers who have the financial ability to pay a premium for a product specifically designed for them,” the developer wrote in its proposal. “The result in our other projects has been almost exclusively downsizing empty nesters.”
The developer estimates nine months for planning and approvals, followed by 12 months of site work, including construction of the first units. Phase I would include the smaller townhomes first, with the hope of selling the larger townhomes within two years of launch. The flats would be the last built, and could require presales prior to construction.
“We view these as premium units, and our preference would be to sell the premium units after the value has been established in the rest of the property,” Scannapieco wrote. Depending upon the pace of sales, the project could be completed in four years.
Purchase price: $7 million, plus a 30-year PILOT ($1.5 million minimum annual local payments). With no PILOT, Scannapieco predicts a $45 million valuation for Haddonfield; with a PILOT, the borough could land $52 million in direct payments.
Comparable projects from the same developer: Rabbit Run Creek, Waterview Flats, Waterview Townhouses, and Waterworks, all in New Hope; 500 Walnut Street and 1706 Rittenhouse in Philadelphia; Sheraton and Bella in Atlantic City.
Sterling Properties of Livingston, NJ
Nicholas Hollenbeck, Director of Development
Sterling Properties is a regional developer operating primarily in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.
At the Bancroft site, it proposes to develop, build, own and manage a 90-unit, LEED-certified, age-restricted, 55-and-older luxury rental community comprising 80 market-rate rental and 10 affordable rental units. The developer would construct 30 townhome rental units across eight buildings, and 60 condos across three buildings to achieve this.
“The community will attract local downsizers looking for a maintenance-free lifestyle and incoming, discerning professionals,” the developer wrote in its proposal.
The townhome units feature “majority master down floor plans,” with 3,000 square-feet of living space, while the condo flats promise “all the bells and whistles of a luxury resort hotel,” with elevators, private garaged parking, single-floor homes, storage, and private outdoor space.
Sterling would redevelop the historic structures onsite into a bath house for the community pool it proposes to build there, a community gardening center, and a pet grooming station. Its architect for the project is Devereaux and Associates of McLean, Virginia.
Purchase price: $7 million, plus a 30-year PILOT agreement ranging from 5 to 7 percent
Comparable projects from the same developer: Station Place in Lawnside; Evan’s Mill in Cherry Hill; The Gables in Mount Laurel.
Toll Brothers of Fort Washington, PA
Douglas C. Yearly, Jr., CEO
Established in 1967, Toll Brothers is the fifth-largest homebuilder in America by revenue, operating in 24 states. The builder split the difference with its proposal for the Bancroft site, offering one concept based on rental units and another based on for-sale construction.
Under the rental scenario, Toll Brothers would create 74 two-bedroom, age-targeted townhome villa units at an estimated build cost of $105,000 per unit, with 10 of those being designated as affordable units in a separate building.
If Haddonfield selects its build-and-sell plan, the developer would create 64 two-bedroom, market-rate, age-targeted villa-style townhomes at an estimated build cost of $113,000 per unit, plus 13 affordable units, all of which would be sold to private owners. Either plan could generate an estimated 18 schoolchildren.
Each unit ranges in size from 1,600 to 2,000 square-feet, and consists of two bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus a one-car garage.
Buyers will be invited to visit the builder’s design studio in Cranbury to customize their home interiors.
Toll Brothers said it “will explore repurposing the historic buildings onsite into community amenities,” but made no specific claims as to how or what form those would take.
This proposal stood out among the others for the number of amendments to the design proposal that it would require to build, including:
• creating an alley-load street system with building frontage along Hopkins Lane
• establishing a minimum setback of 90 feet from Kings Highway to retain the landscape berm there
• extending the allowable building length from 125 feet to 140 feet, the building height from 35 to 38 feet, and amending the front yard setback to allow for front-entry driveways
If the project were to be granted approval in September, Toll Brothers anticipates closing on the land in March 2026, with construction spanning 2026 to 2028.
Purchase price: $7.7 million (rental), $8.362 million (for sale), plus a PILOT agreement. The developer estimates the market value of the new homes at $52.561 million, with a taxable value of $45.366 million.
Comparable projects from the same developer: Reserve at Franklin Lakes; Reserve at Holmdel; Enclave at Shackamaxon, Scotch Plains; Edge-on-Hudson, Hudson Valley, New York; Naval Square in Philadelphia.
Woodmont Properties of Fairfield, NJ
Eric Witmondt, CEO
Established in 1963, Woodmont Properties is a regional real estate developer operating primarily in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Its vision for the Bancroft site is 108 market-rate rental apartments and 12 affordable units, none of which are age-restricted, in 3.5-story buildings with integrated and detached parking garages.
“We concluded that non-age-restricted inclusionary housing would best achieve the borough’s goals and objectives,” Woodmont wrote, by “maximiz[ing]housing affordability, diversity, and availability.
“Townhomes are unlikely to achieve the borough’s goal of increasing its housing diversity to provide existing residents with less expensive downsizing options, as any new townhomes constructed on this site will be priced at the top of the market,” the developer wrote. “Our apartments, while spacious, will be modestly sized in comparison to single-family homes in the area.”
Most of the units would be two-bedroom layouts, with some one-bedroom units. All apartments would offer single-level living, with integrated and detached garages, and “top-of-the-market” amenities.
The Woodmont proposal also occupies a smaller footprint than some of the other projects; its seven-acre purchase price excludes 1.2 acres that will be dedicated to public open space and padding the green buffer with the Cooper River. The developer also envisions constructing walking and cycling paths and electric vehicle charging stations onsite.
Its construction would include green building technologies, and design features chosen to approximate local historic district styles, with brick, painted fiber-cement, and glass. The Woodmont proposal didn’t account for any schoolchildren generated, but promised a fiscal impact study will follow.
Purchase price: $5.85 million for 7 acres, assuming a 10-percent PILOT. Woodmont estimates that the project would generate annual payments of $440,000 upon its completion, and that the project could be constructed within 24 months.
Comparable projects from the same developer: Woodmont Metro at Metuchen Station; Woodmont Station at Cranford; Woodmont Townsquare, Washington Township; Metropolitan Lofts at Morristown.
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