AvalonBay, a publicly traded real estate firm that owns more than 78,000 apartment units in several states, is under contract to purchase the Thanet property at 100 and 101 Thanet Circle.
Mayor Liz Lempert announced the deal at the Princeton Council meeting on Monday night when talking about affordable housing. She said she couldn’t disclose details about Princeton’s revised affordable housing plan, but she did make a point of mentioning that AvalonBay was purchasing the Thanet property and that some apartment units there would be part of the affordable housing plan.
AvalonBay is purchasing the Thanet property from the KABR Group, a New Jersey real estate development and management firm based in Ridgefield Park, for an undisclosed sum. The property, which was assessed at $10.2 million back in 2018, generated $233,910 in annual property tax revenue that year, according to property tax records.
The KABR Group bought the property in November of 2018 for $3.5 million, and the assessment was lowered to $6.5 million. KABR specializes in repositioning distressed properties. The company develops, manages and sells residential and commercial properties, and leases apartment buildings in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.
Back in 2018, the two office buildings on the 15-acre property at Thanet Circle were slated to become the headquarters for the administration of the Princeton Public Schools. Office space not used by the district would have been rented out as part of the district’s plans. The district also planned to keep schools buses at the property. Those plans were part of a proposed $130 million bond referendum. The referendum was scaled back to $27 million, and plans for a new administration building and other additions and renovations were tabled.
AvalonBay already owns 280 apartment units on Witherspoon Street at the old hospital site, and 56 of the apartments are affordable housing units. The company had a contentious relationship with Lempert and her administration during the approval and construction process, and had to sue the municipality more than once to move forward with the project.