CNBNEWS.NET Note: The second part of the series analizes the lease arrangement made between the City and Holt for the former Coast Guard building at King Street and the Delaware River. How did Holt end up on the site that was once called the "Jewel" of the City's future waterfront development? Since 1996 Holt has used the building for their corporate headquarters. The first part of the series was a review of the sometime rocky relationship between the City of Gloucester City and Holt Logistics. In 1984 Holt borrowed $5.6 million from the Urban Development Action Grant program to be used for the expansion of its terminal. Those two UDAG’s generated a total of $21.8 million for the City to use on various ventures. The first part also looked at how the UDAG funds were spent.
By Bill Cleary
In 1988 (see video)the Coast Guard moved from their Base in Gloucester City, NJ to a new $20 million facility in Philadelphia. The Coast Guard had occupied the 10 acres located on the Delaware River at King and Cumberland Street for 90 years. Although City officials hated to see the base closed they were excited to take ownership of the property. After all with the right developer the ground could be converted into a tourist attraction. City officials began talking about building boat marinas, hotels, restaurants, even a new Gloucester City Municipal Building was suggested for the ground.
The former Coast Guard building which is now headquarters for Holt Logistics Corporation. photo by cnbnews.net
Once the word got out that the base would be available the NJ State Police announced it was interested in it for a marine police station. Even though Holt said they were not interested in using it for expansion of their marine terminal the rumors persisted.
In the end the City prevailed. On March 15, 1991 U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg handed the deed to the property to Mayor Walter Jost. Cost to taxpayers, $1.
Today, some 23 years later, the dreams for development of the City’s riverfront are still being talked about. Instead of the City occupying the former Coast Guard building Holt Logistics is leasing the four story structure for its corporate offices.
So what happened?