Town Looking at Buying Princeton Packet Property on Witherspoon Street for Public Works Department
The Princeton Council held a closed session Monday night to discuss negotiations to purchase property for the municipality’s public works department. Sources say the town wants to buy the Princeton Packet property on Witherspoon Street and has been looking into the acquisition for the last few months.
According to property tax records, the property at 300 Witherspoon Street is assessed t $1.86 million. The Packet also owns 283-287 Witherspoon Street, which is assessed at $436,900; 294 Witherspoon, which is assessed at $362,100; 290 Witherspoon, which is assessed at $438,800; and 9 Birch Avenue, which is assessed at $250,600.
Earlier this year, after the town began looking at the possibility of moving the public works department to the Princeton Packet property, the Packet buildings were removed from the new Witherspoon Jackson Historic District.
The Packet property is owned by James Kilgore, who made a deal with Philadelphia-based Broad Street Media in April to create a new media company to run the papers.
Kilgore did not respond to an email this afternoon from Planet Princeton inquiring once again about the possible sale of the Packet buildings. In April, he denied that the town was looking at buying the property.
“We are not in any negotiations,” Kilgore said in an April 11 email to Planet Princeton when asked if the town was looking at buying the property. “In any event the Packet buildings are not listed for sale. The Packet operation will still be in the main building through a lease with our new partnership. We have talked to a number of professionals and other entities over the past three or four years as to what to do with excess space to include leasing it out for permitted uses, etc. I have talked to a number of parties then and now about what our options might be with this excess space and where our operation would best be located. So we have talked to a number of people and had individuals, professionals and varies entities who have looked at our facility and this is giving us some ideas as we consider how to best use the campus.”
In March, the Princeton Planning Board held two meetings to discuss contract negotiations. It is unclear whether the negotiations are related to the sale of the Packet property.
Why is this a “closed” discussion and not open to the public?
Real estate offers are always discussed in closed session because they are offers that will be privately negotiated with a seller. The session is closed because they are discussing purchase price.
If they are discussing the purchase price, that should be in closed session.
If they are discussing whether to purchase the property (or property in general) that should be in open session.
Wait. With consolidation, the town has at least two large buildings (of which I am aware). (There may be more.) And one is spanking new. State of the art. Built based upon near current needs with respect to space.
Consolidation hasn’t resulted in efficiencies of scale. Rather, it has resulted in the opposite.
This is disappointing. Slightly less equally so the timing — after last Tuesday’s election. Hmmmm.
Don’t do it. The budget is already bloated as it is, and taxes are way too high.
Agreed. Monument Hall’s ground floor & the old/main Valley Road Building have unused space that should be repurposed for government if needed. Council should be required to use every inch of publicly owned space already available while consolidation is in progress. Princeton already has more square footage than neighboring towns for government offices. Furthermore the world is changing. It may be cheaper to contract out more government services from commercial providers or have some employees work from home via computer. Time for this Council to tap their creativity not our wallets. (Note: Princeton also has been very lax in maintaining the older buildings & some affordable housing units already owned, which involves a lot of expense for taxpayers. Why add to that unmet burden??)
The Valley Rd building has no space at all available and at most the Monument building has one or two small offices. Where do you get your bad information from?
However you want to look at it (& I’ve seen some really large rooms/lots of space on the bottom floor of Monument & some big multipurpose rooms on the first floor for groups like Corner House to meet)… How about beginning with the actual need? How many staff need to be housed by “public works”? Remembering, of course, that ” Access Princeton” staff & web presence is serving as the “receptionist”/ “communications aid” for that department.
Spending more on property and buildings (that will then require substantial rehabilitation)? Removing more private property from paying taxes?
This is from the Council that wants to make Princeton “more affordable”?
Right across the street from the Valley Rd white elephant that would have extraordinary value to the community (and share in the tax burden) if allowed to be developed by a private entrepreneur.
First off know your facts. If the property was to be purchased it would be for the blue collar workers.The ones who are out there working in the streets taking care of your town. Who currently reside in different TRAILERS spread out around town with most of ur tax money in equipment sitting out in the weather.
The parcel that sits in the area defined by Terhune, Witherspoon, Valley, & 206, with access to 206 is a better site for low maintenance Butler building type public works garages & offices. Garages next to the Witherspoon Municipal complex could use office & employee lounge space in that main building. As for trailers, many people live in them, district teachers have worked in them, & so have our students. Trailer offices are great for those doing construction, utility, & outdoor work. Like any space, trailers need to be of good quality, well maintained, & adequately heated & cooled. Certainly those in the public works department deserve comfort & work space. Just not sure that the Packet building isn’t more of a problem long term for many reasons & in a very bad location for heavy equipment * vehicle storage.
Our tax dollars at work. How much will the town borrow for this? Our debt service is already too high. We were promised that the consolidated Princeton would reduce the number of buildings it owns, not increase the number. Consolidated Princeton seems to translate to even more bloated government. Also, was the Packet allowed to be exempt from the historic district because of this little deal while other property owners who sought the same were told no?
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