Developer satisfied with progress in Egg Harbor North

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Model home at Neighborhoods of Cedar Creek. Model home at Neighborhoods of Cedar Creek. EGG HARBOR CITY – Real estate developer Brad Haberof Brad Haber Homes said he is satisfied with sales in the Neighborhoods of Cedar Creek housing development currently under construction in the Egg Harbor North Redevelopment Zone. Haber provided City Council with a project update at its March 27 meeting.

Haber purchased 46 lots from the city for $690,000 in May 2012. He immediately started building roads and installing curbs and utilities, and had a model home built and furnished by November. The first family moved in by May 2013.

Aerial view of current development at Neighborhoods of Cedar Creek. Aerial view of current development at Neighborhoods of Cedar Creek. To date, he has sold 27 homes in Neighborhood One, 14 of which are occupied, and the area is becoming a “real neighborhood,” he said. Development in Neighborhood Two will start in May. He is planning to purchase Neighborhood Three and start development there in October.

Haber said the average sale price is $255,000, with buyers spending as much as $15,000 for upgrades.

Buyers are coming from all over South Jersey, including Cape May and Mt. Laurel, and have a favorable impression of the area. Surprisingly, only four students were added to the regional and local school districts, he said.

“That’s less than I expected. We have a very healthy mix of one-third young, just married couples, a third who have kids, and a third empty nesters, which I did not expect,” he said, noting that the city planned for the recently built middle and high schools to accommodate additional students.

“We’ve done 27 sales in 15 months, and we are averaging 1.8 sales a month. That’s something I’m delighted with,” he said, which is above his projected sales target of one per month. He projects 24 sales this year.

In addition to land acquisition costs, Haber has spent nearly a half-million dollars in developmental fees, including infrastructure, utilities and recreation fees, and has generated $1.4 million in ratables, including the homes and land development.

Despite a 5-year tax abatement granted to new homeowners, the city has realized $117,000 in real estate taxes on lots that were previously tax exempt, without having an impact on city services. In anticipation of development in the zone, the city foreclosed on hundreds of undersized lots that were under tax title lien.

Neighborhood homeowners will pay between $7,200 and $10,000 when the abatement ends, which is lower than in North Jersey and the western part of South Jersey, Haber said. They pay full tax on land and pay tax on the house in 20-percent increments until it reaches 100 percent in five years.

Haber said he has supported the local economy by hiring local suppliers, such as Senn Plumbing and Mazza Flooring, and contractors who patronize local business. He said he and his workers spend an average of $1,000 a week getting gas, buying lunch and patronizing local bars.

“As the freight train starts rolling through, the revenue generated will be substantial,” he told council members and members of the public who live in the “gold coast” area.

St. Louis Avenue resident Anthony Carfagno said efforts should be made to ensure the city does not become divided between new and old.

“It’s not your father’s Egg Harbor City, but I expect some of that will happen,” Haber said.

Council Pro-tempore Hazel Mueller said it is up to residents in the older part of the city to maintain and improve their properties.

George Mauroff, president of Key-Rec, Inc., which maintains the city’s athletic fields, thanked Haber for donating materials to build dugouts at the Little League field.

Mueller also read a letter from Cedar Creek High School baseball coach Mike Isgro, thanking Haber for donating all the materials to build a 12-foot-square storage shed to house baseball equipment.

“I love it here, and I’m honored to be part of the community,” Haber said. “You gave me a lot of opportunities here, and I want to make the most of it.”

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