Richard DePetro, the redeveloper of Wellwood Manor Apartments, recently came under attack by resident, Marvin Gaskill, who distributed an informational flyer door-to-door in Merchantville. The flyer seeks to incite the community by accusing Mr. DePetro of intending to "turn it
(Wellwood Manor Apartments) into a subsidized low-income rental project" that "could enable a monstrous economic/financial situation in Merchantville". Mr. Gaskill further asserts that the property will be inhabited by 54 low income families, rents are set below market rate and that the P.I.L.O.T.program for this redevelopment was prepared by Mr. dePetro rather than the Borough. In a in a letter addressed to to neighbors and posted below, Mr. DePetro endeavors to answer these accusations and set the record straight so that the "residents and taxpayers can form opinions based on facts not hysteria and fear".
Borough Council will discuss the introduction of an ordinance regarding the redevelopment of 606 at their next Council meeting on Monday, August 13th at 7:30 p.m. Council Agenda
I am Richard DePetro, the Director of Development for Citadel Wellwood Urban Renewal LLC, the redeveloper of Wellwood Manor Apartments. I have recently come under attack by a person named Marvin Gaskill whose campaign of distributing misinformation has enraged certain members of the community.
I would like to set the record straight so that the residents and taxpayers can form opinions based on facts not hysteria and fear. Before I "fact check" Marvin Gaskill, I would like to state that since I took control of the building in December, 2011 police calls are practically nil. I evicted all the trouble makers, tenants who overcrowded their apartments, and vagrants. For the first time in five years the residents that are presently in the building have heat, hot water, working toilets, tubs and sinks. These are hardly the actions of a slumlord.
Now I will do a " fact check" on some of Mr. Gaskill's statements.
1. Marvin states the entire building will be deed restricted to only low income families.
Not true: Of the 54 units in the building, only 6 are deed restricted to low income families. A low income family earns from $32,000 to $40,000 per year. The rest of the units are market rate.
2. Marvin compares the future of Wellwood to the welfare motels of Route 130.
Ridiculous! Those motels were inhabited by NO income people, not low income people. Why would my group invest millions in a building and turn it into a homeless shelter.
3. Marvin warns that I will be forced by Camden County to rent my apartments to prison parolees.
Really? I would like to see where that came from. That statement pushes the "fib" meter to the "pants on fire" level.
4. Marvin states that all the apartments will rent for $660 per month.
Wrong again! There are 21 studio apartments that will rent for $660 per month which sounds reasonable, but they are only 330 sq. ft., the size of a large bedroom. There are 27 one bedrooms that will rent for $750 per month, however, they are only 450 sq. ft., the size of a typical studio. The 6 three bedrooms are $850, but they are only 600 sq. ft., the size of an average one bedroom. The rents sound reasonable, but for their size, it's a market rate.
5. Marvin wants you to believe that I can abandon the building, and the town will be stuck with the P.I.L.O.T. program for 30 years. Not true at all. If the property falls into disrepair and the strict conditions of agreement are violated, the P.I.L.O.T. can be withdrawn.
Ride by Wellwood and see the changes that are taking place. The facade has been upgraded with English Tudor trim work to compliment the beautiful homes on Maple Avenue that were built in that style. We even added two lion statues to "guard" the entrance to the courtyard. This is hardly the action of a slumlord.
I welcome an ongoing intelligent dialogue with the community regarding Wellwood's redevelopment progress and our pending completion of this beautiful landmark building. I have not addressed all of the misstatements that have been made by Mr. Gaskill regarding this development process, so expect more "fact checking" in the near future.
Director of Development
Citadel Wellwood Urban Renewal LLC
201 Union Lane
Brielle, NJ 08730
Office phone: 732-223-6706
Cell phone: 732-239-4632
Office fax: 732-223-6141
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Last modified on 09/24/2018