HOPEWELL TWP. – Following the recent joint effort to preserve 240 acres of forest and farmland surrounding Carter Road in Hopewell Township, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes announces the County’s plan to enter an agreement to purchase and preserve an additional 11 acres owned by Equus Capital Partners of Yardley, Pa.
In July, 2013, New Jersey Conservation Foundation and Equus Capital Partners entered into an agreement to preserve 240 acres of forests and farmland. This land had been approved for 800,000 square feet of commercial office space. In November 2013, Mercer County, Hopewell Township, Hopewell Valley Citizens Group and seven additional public and private partners agreed to fund a major portion of the acquisition. This purchase will significantly reduce projected traffic impacts on the county and local roads in the area.
This latest 11 acres, not part of the original preservation deal, was part of the development area to be retained by Equus on the east side of Carter Road, closest to Cleveland Road. The total lands being retained by Equus on the east side of Carter Road could have supported an additional 100,000 square feet of research and office space.
This smaller tract plays a big part in the overall plan to preserve this fragile environmental area,” said County Executive Hughes. “The County is pleased to be a partner in this project, while providing the opportunity to complete a critical link in the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail. This complex project demonstrates the value of partnerships in solving regional problems,” Hughes added.
With this purchase Equus will be limited to a maximum of 20,000 additional square feet of research and office space on the east side of Carter Road. This additional space must be constructed within the area being retained by Equus. As a condition of the purchase Equus will demolish the existing dormitory building on the west side of Carter Road.
The purchase price for the 11 acres will not exceed $632,500 and is contingent upon the finalization of the 240 acres slated for preservation, which is under contract for $7.5 million by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, in conjunction with Hopewell Valley Citizens Group.
The 240-acre property straddles the former Western Electric campus on Carter Road, a scenic and environmentally significant gateway from the Hopewell Valley to the Sourlands in Hopewell Township. The property has been the subject of land use litigation for the past five years. Preserving the land will settle the lawsuit. The 11 acres are contiguous to the 240 acres.
Preserving these parcels will fill a key link in the 22-mile Lawrence-Hopewell Trail, a major regional trail system in Mercer County.