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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Frelinghuysen Land Auction Successful! 30-Acre Highway Parcel Sells for $1.4M

Despite several previous unsuccessful auctions, such as this one from May, Frelinghuysen sold a 30-acre lot on Route 94 for $1.4 million Aug. 16. Photo by Joe Phalon, 8/2023.

Sometimes it pays to wait. Frelinghuysen Township was finally able to offload a 30-acre parcel of land on Route 94 at an auction Aug. 16.

A lone bid of $1.4 million was accepted for the property later that day at a Township Committee meeting. That bid was a half-million more than a bid from a May 10 auction. That deal fell through, however, when the buyer failed to make a 10 percent down pay by the end of day the auction was held.

Mayor Keith Ramos said the bidder from Aug. 16 did make the required down payment that day, so the sale moved forward.

The bid of $900,000, which met the minimum bid for the property, was rejected May 10 after the bidder failed show up with the required down payment of 10 percent, or $90,000, by the end of the day of the auction.

Township attorney Richard Bellin explained at the May 17 Township Committee meeting that the governing body has the right to reject any bids it deems unworthy, and in the case of the May 15 bid, the committee rejected it on the basis of the down payment not arriving.

Previous attempts to auction the land were made on Feb. 15, when the minimum bid was $2 million, and March 22, with a minimum bid of $1.8 million. No bids were submitted at those two auctions.

The property, 30.68 acres located at 720 Route 94, just south of the county line, was rezoned earlier this year for commercial research, office and manufacturing. The property has 1,383 feet of frontage along Route 94 and is mostly farmland.

Frelinghuysen came into possession of the tract in February 2015 for $1 after a tax sale. Before the zoning change in November, it has been zoned as non-commercial.

Mayor Keith Ramos said the township remains committed to selling the land and returning it to the tax rolls.

Ramos said last spring that despite the failed bid there continued to be what he described as “a lot of activity and action” surrounding the property and that given the right circumstances and enough time, the property could fetch a higher price.

He noted that a number of residents, including neighbors of the property, were skeptical of some of the earlier expectations of $2 million, but that he remained confident the town would eventually get a good price for the land.

The identity of the buyer was not clear at the August 16 committee meeting.

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.