FLORENCE, NJ-Hired last summer by the Burlington County freeholder board (the equivalent of county commissioners), consultants The PMK Group of Marlton have unveiled two decidedly different plans of what to do with the 234-acre site of the defunct Roebling steel mill here. The county used $98,000 in U.S. EPA grant money to pay for the study.

And after a series of public hearings, PMK has developed two distinctly different site plans. The first would entail business park with 13 buildings and more than 720,000 sf of light industrial space. The target would be a mix of industrial, R&D and flex space uses. The projected cost would be about $100 million, according to PMK project manager Lisa Sauer.

The second plan, which would cost an estimated $20 million, would include an 18-hole golf course and driving range, and a 25,000-sf clubhouse complex. Common to both site plans would be a marina complex on the Delaware River, walking paths, a station for the proposed Trenton-Camden light rail line, and an historical museum.

The museum is tied to the site’s historical significant–John Roebling opened his original steel mill here back in 1904. Among other accomplishments, the mill turned out the steel cabling for a number of major suspension bridges, including the Brooklyn Bridge and others. Colorado Fuel and Iron bought the mill in the mid-1950s, and shut it down two decades later. The plan is to locate the museum in the mill’s former main gatehouse.

Complicating its redevelopment is the fact that the U.S. EPA declared it a Superfund site in 1981. A substantial amount of remediation would be required to make it developable, according to sources.

The next step, according to Burlington County planner Mark Remsa, is to determine how to market the site to potential developers. Florence’s governing officials will have final say on what happens to the site, but the county is involved in the process because it’s considered a key element in the redevelopment of the Route 130 corridor.

According to Remsa, a single developer is the likely scenario if the choice goes in favor of the golf course project. The business park plan would likely be divvied up among several developers, and could be done in several phases. The selected developers would be required to come up with the funding, according to Remsa, although government money might be available for the common elements.

No timetable for the project has been announced.

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