Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mayor's double coup includes Armory deal

Long-term lease of the Armory comes as a second coup
after Mayor assumes control of city's day-to-day operations.
While Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs' decision to take over the day-to-operations of the City left many Plainfielders agog, it was not -- as some mistakenly thought -- an early April Fool's Day joke.

The decision was noted by Courier News reporter Mark Spivey (see story here), as well as bloggers Bernice Paglia (see here) and Olddoc (see here).

In her new, more activist role, the Mayor has made a major coup in her first day as Acting City Administrator, at once overcoming the setback she received Tuesday evening, when the Board of Education approved a lease of the vacant Lincoln School property to the Barack Obama Green Charter High School, which Mayor Robinson-Briggs had hopes would take over the Armory.

Instead, the Mayor has found a long-term tenant for the Armory property, and is prepared to close a deal that will bring jobs and substantial revenues to the City for the long term.

In a press release issued today (see here), Mayor Robinson-Briggs says --

It is my pleasure to announce to the residents and taxpayers of Plainfield that my administration has found a long-term tenant for the vacant state-owned Armory property on East 7th Street.
I have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Chinese firm, Long Bow Village Ginkgo and Durian Products Peoples Cooperative, by which the firm is committing to a twenty-year lease of the Armory property as a distribution center for its high-end organic Chinese gourmet foods.

Consummating the deal will require a long-term lease of the property by the State to the City for $1 per year, which Assemblyman Jerry Green is facilitating on behalf of my administration.

Long Bow Village will execute a lease agreement with the City for a rent to begin at $800,000 per year, to be reviewed and adjusted upwards at five-year intervals. Although this will not put the property on the City's tax rolls directly, the rent will compare favorably with tax receipts that would be received if Long Bow Village were actually to own the property.

The firm will hold an option to purchase the property from the State, with the City to share in the proceeds in the event of such a sale. In that event, the property will be assessed and put on the tax rolls.

Long Bow Village has promised to employ Plainfield residents both in the staffing of the distribution center into which the Armory will be converted, as well as its sales and delivery staff in the New York metropolitan area. Our estimate is that this will bring approximately 250 full-time jobs to Plainfield.

In addition, I am truly excited to announce that Long Bow Village will be opening a gourmet tea and dumpling shop on the premises,which will add to the many choices already offered to visitors to our South Avenue 'restaurant row'.

The tea and dumpling shop, which will go under the name 'The Stolen Dumpling', will include both a dining area and a takeout counter for Long Bow Village's selection of gourmet Durian goodies, including Durian paste and ice cream, and its line of Ginkgo jams and preserves, both of which I am sure will become big sellers with Plainfield's discriminating palates.

Long Bow Village is also pursuing a license to distribute its Ginkgo brandy, a pungent drink that resembles the famous Slivovitz plum brandy popular in the Balkans.

My administration will be drawing up the resolutions necessary to finalize the transaction and hope to be able to present them to the Council for adoption on Monday evening.

Long Bow Village, made famous in William Hinton's book Fanshen, a documentary of the agricultural revolution in a Chinese village following World War II, has had its ups and downs over the years.

It never prospered as well under the Maoist regime as it has under China's current state-dominated capitalism, and has begun to seek outlets in foreign markets in Europe, the United States and South America for its popular gourmet food lines, based on the popular Asian delicacies, Durian and Ginkgo fruits.

The retail shop evidently takes its name from a famous incident in Fanshen, where the mystery of a stolen dumpling practically paralyzes the transformation of the backward village into a modern agricultural community.

Gourmet foods based on the Ginkgo (top) and Durian (above)
form the basis of the Chinese firm's success.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Bernice said...

Let me be the first to treat you to all the Durian goodies you can eat!

Anonymous said...

My leg is suddenly 20 feet long and so is someone nose! I sense a Great Leap Forward. We can raze all the historic properties, like North Ave., and commune with the land through a collective farm effort. Now that we'd have a distribution center it would be a natural.

Rob said...

Here's to ever made this happen!! High Five for us...thank you whoever you are!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful news -- jobs for Plainfielders and income for the city.

Olive Lynch

Anonymous said...

Although the idea of having a new employer in Plainfield is wonderful, the idea of having a distribution center smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood is awful planning.

With all the other buildings available in commercially zoned areas of this City, something of this nature will definitely affect property values, density and traffic in the neighborhood.

South Avenue may just be around the corner, however, that is the commercial strip, not East Seventh.

Obviously there wasn't much thought put into this and how it would affect the immediate surroundings.

The people who run this City do not have any sense of planning, vision or common standard.

What happened to an "arts center" or something that would be more in synch with the surroundings of the neighborhood?

I'm sorry to say that I hope the deal does not go through! at least not there!

Maria Pellum, Plainfield Resident said...

Happy April's Fool Day to you too Dan!

BTW, did you see that the real breaking news today are that NJEA has decided to drop its opposition to Choice and Voucher programs? So does the president, they just announced a similar program to RTTT but for vouchers and religious education. I'll see if I can get more news on these.


Anonymous said...

I tried googling the company. I cannot find any information on it. Can anyone find a link to this company?

active citizen said...

I hope this is true, though I will never by Chinese food, it's too risky, but I hope it happens. I wonder who made this happen, surely not our inept mayor. Kudos to her office and Plainfield. Maybe now they'll get rid of those dangerous things that butt out onto South Ave. and keep you from passing left turning vehicles.

This is sure better then the dollar stores and latino bars we've been getting for years. I still won't vote for this woman if she runs again, but I'm glad it happened.

Anonymous said...

Has there been any thought to the additional traffic? Does the planning board have to approve the parking and ensuring that the traffic flow is OK?

olddoc said...

As others who have already read this blog have noted,this is not in a commercial but a residential area and will need a zoning change. How is the exemption for the Armory worded or was one needed because it was State property?

olddoc said...

Active Citizen, you can blame the "New Democrats" leadership for those idiotic obstructions.

The RDs will love you.

Anonymous said...

In reading many of the comments from those who are pleased to see this happen, I ask you to keep in mind that the Armory sits on a lot adjacent to some of the more attractive neighborhoods in Plainfield, one of the few reasons some people still choose to move here.

Inserting a distribution center in a residential neighborhood of well kept homes and tree-lined streets is a very poor idea.

Most likely, the parking lot will be filled with box trucks, tractor trailers - a complete eyesore; not to mention the additional vehicular congestion and increased foot traffic along the residential streets. Inevitably this will start to diminish the overall attractiveness of that neighborhood and the value of the properties which surround it.

There are so many other warehouses and spaces WITHIN the commercial district which could use new tenants. This is not the place for a distribution center.

Just because it seems like a good idea doesn't mean that it is, especially when this administration is involved. We can look no further than the Monarch, initially a great idea that was poorly executed and has since turned into a mess.

Please, please, please keep this in mind!

Anonymous said...

Too real sounding (to which some comments will attest) to be truly funny, too sad that it's not true.

Anonymous said...

She done did an axcelent job and dids alot fo da communtiny

Anonymous said...

And happy April Fool's Day to you too, Dan. Too bad you fooled so many people, but that's nothing new--it happens all the time.

YEP IS SAID IT!!! said...

Hmmm . . . 10:16 . . .

in the world of GOOGLE -I too cannot find anything.

Dumplings??? Smells like fish to me. Very fishy!

Anonymous said...

OMG Its April's Fools Day!!!

Pat said...

In the great tradition of the eminent BBC journalist David Dimbleby who did an extended TV news report on the failure of the spaghetti crop, showing peasants harvesting small amounts of spaghetti strands hanging from otherwise bare trees. You probably can google this. I saw it, in a cherished repeat, when I worked for the Beeb in London. Keep up the good work. Your readers should have known better...oh, well, these are the citizens who keep reelecting the same ole team...

Anonymous said...

I Bing'ed and Dogpile'ed all the combos possible, and all that comes up is your ptblog about the Mayor's proposal. Do they really exist or is this a continuing figment of the Mayor's imagination or some type of April Fool's joke gone awray. Future traffic nightmare. And the 250 Plainfield residents. . . How long does it take to move to plainfield and become a resident.
If the Council goes for this on the first reading. . . . WELL.

Anonymous said...

Badddd idea.It would bring one of the most best areas in Plainfield down.We need to place a community center there for our youths.Not more cojestion

Rob said...

Dan...seriously? April Fools?
Now that was just down right mean...funny, but mean. :-)

Anonymous said...

Holy @!%#$@!!! I didn't realize this was joke!

Silly boy, trix are for kids!

Anonymous said...

Naughty Dan!!!! LOL