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$2.05M Condemnation Settlement

New Jersey Law Journal, January 17, 2005

Housing Authority of New Brunswick v. Suydam Investors: New Brunswick’s housing authority will pay $2.05 million to the owner of homes and commercial properties condemned for conversion to low- and moderate-cost housing.

In 2000, the authority offered $972,000 for the properties, on Remson and George streets, but owner Suydam Investors wanted $2.5 million. A compensation commission awarded $1.7 million. The settlement, approved Dec. 21 by Middlesex County Assignment Judge Robert Longhi, reflects the authority’s environmental costs and interest from the date of the taking, according to the owner’s lawyer, James Turteltaub of Florham Park’s Carlin, Ward, Ash & Heiart LLC.

An environmental issue in the case went to the state Supreme Court. The authority sued to amend its original valuation to take into account alleged asbestos, oil spill and lead paint contamination. In Housing Authority of the City of New Brunswick v. Suydam Investors, 177 N.J. 2 (2003), the Court said contaminated property, when condemned, must be valued as if it has been remediated and the condemnor should reserve the right to maintain a separate action for remediation or cleanup costs. As it turned out, the remediation did not require a substantial expenditure.

The authority’s lawyers were Marvin Brauth, Anna Monforth and Yvonne Marcuse. The commissioners were Colonia real estate appraiser Edward Kane, and lawyers Michael Rutter, of New Brunswick’s Watson, Stevens & Rutter, and Peter Barnes III, of Jorgenson & Barnes in Iselin.

– By Henry Gottlieb

Vol. CLXXIX – No. 03 – Index 165
January 17, 2005

This article is reprinted with permission from the JANUARY 17, 2005 issue of the New Jersey Law Journal. ©2005 ALM Properties, Inc. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.