Phillipsburg Mayor Harry Wyant Jr. is optimistic that the 208 vacant acres of the Ingersoll-Rand brownfield property will be developed into retail space sometime this year.
Wyant, speaking after Tuesday's Phillipsburg Town Council reorganization meeting, said talks are occurring with interested developers for the property that the town purchased for $1 from Conshohocken, Pa.-based Preferred Unlimited Inc. in December 2011.
Preferred Unlimited bought the property more than a decade ago for $16 million with its own plan to redevelop the site, which never came to fruition.
Phillipsburg, as part of that transaction, forgave more than $274,000 in back property taxes Preferred Unlimited owed.
Since then, the town has struggled to get developers interested in the real estate parcels which surround Center, Green and Roseberry streets.
Neighboring Lopatcong Township, which owns about 100 acres of former Ingersoll-Rand property, is expected to have developers working to convert its portion of the property sometime this year.
"We have people that are interested in it," Wyant said. "There's nothing I can say about it until we nail it down, but I am very optimistic."
In other business, incumbent Phillipsburg councilmen Todd Tersigni, Randy Piazza, Sr. and Bernie Fey, Jr. were sworn in for another four-year term during the town's Tuesday reorganization.
Tersigni, who previously served as council vice-president, was named and sworn in as council president for 2014.