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RIDGEFIELD, NJ-Hartz Mountain Industries, the Secaucus, NJ-based real estate development firm, has sold the 90-acre Meadowlark tract here to the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission as part of a new round of acquisitions by the commission. For tax reasons, the tract couldn’t be donated, according to Hartz president and COO Emanuel Stern, but the parties agreed to a price of $10,200 per acre, or a total of just over $914,000.

The Meadowlark tract, just east of the Hackensack River and the New Jersey Turnpike, is environmentally sensitive relating to wildlife, and the purchase is part of the Commission’s effort to “retire” undeveloped sites within the heavily developed region. The NJMC, a state agency, is also in the process of buying 11 acres of wetlands in East Rutherford, NJ from Murray Hill Parkway Land Corp., and recently bought up 170 acres of wetlands in nearby Lyndhurst and Kearny.

“This completes a significant piece to the Meadowlands’ environmental puzzle,” according to Susan Bass Levin, chairman of the NJMC, who also serves as director of the state’s Department of Community Affairs. “In the middle of this densely populated industrial landscape, we’re carving out an environmental haven.”

“Selling this tract to the Meadowlands Commission makes sense for the buyer, the seller and for the environment,” adds Stern.

The proposed acquisition of the 11-acre Murray Hill Parkway Land tract, meanwhile, calls for just over $122,00 per acre for four upland (i.e., readily developable) acres, and $10,200 per acre for seven acres of wetlands. If that deal is concluded, as is expected to happen shortly, the total purchase price for the site would be in the vicinity of $545,000.

“With this acquisition, we will be closer to the vision our master plan puts forth, which is redeveloping the district’s contaminated sites and conserving wetlands,” says NJMC executive director Bob Ceberio. “These two sites are both hemmed in by industrial development. It’s good to know that in the middle of all that economic ‘heavy lifting,’ we can preserve vital wetlands for future generations.”

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