Lenox sale could mean manufacturing revival for Pomona factory

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GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – The former Lenox China plant on Tilton Road, an industrial landmark that ceased manufacturing operations nine years ago, was purchased by a Hammonton company recently, bringing hope to the township that the property, which became an eyesore, will once again be a vital ratable for the township and bring jobs to the county.

BTR Tilton LLC purchased Lenox for $7 million in December of 2006. Plans for the property never came to fruition and the property was put up for sale.

After several potential buyers came and went, the 56-acre tract sat vacant. Property records show that on May 30 and effective June 3, RGC 1 LLC purchased the land for $2.2 million.

RGC 1 LLC owner Jimmy DiNatale said he has big plans for the property. He and Barrette Outdoor Living, a vinyl fences and hand railings company out of Ohio, are working out a long-term lease agreement for the company to utilize 40 acres of the site.

“We were looking for a long-term renter who would employ a lot of people in the area. Barrette Outdoor Living is going to be big for the county,” said DiNatale, whose business is based in Hammonton. “They will be employing a lot of people in the area.”

But it will take some time to get the Lenox site renovated – possibly more than a year.

“I think it will be the gem like Lenox was. That is my hope.”

DiNatale is also talking about building a self-storage facility on another area of the site and possibly an environmental-related business. He also wants to bring the rail line back to the property.

“I hope to import and export goods by rail, with the cost of transportation by trucks, it would be so great,” he said.

Galloway Township Mayor Don Purdy’s hope is that the old Lenox site will once again be home to an industrial complex that will create more than jobs for the region. But for now, the fact that the property was purchased is a major step toward economic development in the area that has been closed since 2005.

“I think this is the first step in a great redevelopment plan for Galloway Township. My main focus on council has been economic development and the Lenox property,” Purdy said Wednesday, June 25, adding that the economic downturn in recent years, not only at Lenox but in Atlantic City, is all the more reason why it is so vital to bring back business to the area.

“It is very important we bring stable, smart growth jobs to Galloway Township,” he said. “Over the next few months, we have great opportunities for economic growth in Galloway Township.”

The Lenox China plant employed more than 1,000 people and was a huge ratable for the township after it opened in 1954s. The fine china and ceramics maker sold its products worldwide and even graced the table at the White House. When it closed its doors, it was a major loss to the region.

The Planning Board declared the Lenox site an area in need of redevelopment in April 2010 and the redevelopment plan was adopted the next month, township planner Tiffany Cuviello said June 5.

The Lenox property met two qualifications for being deemed an area in need of redevelopment because it was abandoned and deteriorated enough to become a detriment to public safety. The neglected buildings, groundwater contamination from lead and trichloroethylene, and use of asbestos dating to Lenox’s manufacturing days, were all cited.

On June 4, the Atlantic County Development Review Committee met and approved subdividing the 56-acre site into three separate properties.

The building lot is 40 acres with parking and improvements, and has a rail right-of-way. The second lot is 7.7 acres and remains vacant. The third contaminated lot is 8.5 acres. 

DiNatale said environmental concerns did not scare him off. His company is licensed to do abatements and environment cleanups.

John Peterson, the director of planning for the county, said in 2010, property owner BTR Tilton LLC made a subdivision application and received conditional approval. On June 4, the county granted final approval to subdivide the parcel.

Peterson said the county reviews all subdivisions. In this case, it had to go to the county for full approval because the property is on Aloe Street and Tilton Road, which are both county roads.

“One lot contains all of the contaminate issues. The New Jersey DEP is handling the hazard there. Apparently that area will be declared cleaned up in the near future,” Peterson said.

 “All this is done for the intent of the company to come in and start operations. This has been a redevelopment site,” Peterson said. “This was just something they (BTR) had to do as a matter of course. They came to us to do this to facilitate the plan. The county’s portion was just the subdivision. If there is any additional development on any of those lots, it will have to come back for approval by the company.”

Related:

Galloway Council designates White Horse Pike commercial zone as rehabilitation area 

Development proposes low student impact 

Township sees DEP sewer map as a threat to economic growth 

Galloway sets the table for Lenox site redevelopment 

 


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