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Palisades Financial announces partnership to redevelop Fort Lee site

High-profile parcel near George Washington Bridge has been vacant nearly 40 years.Palisades Financial, a commercial real estate lender and advisory firm, has announced a partnership with Fort Lee Redevelopment Associates to redevelop the east parcel of a 15-acre site located next to the George Washington Bridge, in Fort Lee.

The joint-venture announcement follows a recent agreement by the firm’s second fund, Palisades Regional Investment Fund II, LLC, to sell the seven-acre parcel to FLRA, which itself is a partnership between Parsippany-based real estate developer SJP Residential Properties and Bergen County attorney James Demetrakis.

In July, FLRA was one of four developers that submitted proposals to the borough to redevelop all or portions of the 15-acre site. FLRA’s proposal involved redeveloping the east parcel of the property into The Center at Fort Lee, a mixed-use town center that will feature high-end retail shops and restaurants around a central park, as well as two towers that will house office space, a gourmet food market, a four-star hotel and luxury apartments, according to Palisades Financial.

The other three developers that submitted proposals were Tucker Development Corp., which owns and is seeking to redevelop the west parcel; a partnership between the Taubman Co. and Silverstein Properties Inc.; and Amerea Development LLC.

The fund had originated the loan for the east parcel of the property in April 2007 to Town and Country Developers, which had planned to build Centuria, a high-profile, $1 billion mixed-use development on the site. The loan went into default in April 2008, and the lender took the deed from the developer last June, which led to a foreclosure sale of the property on Oct. 23, according to Palisades.

“As a result of its prominent location, this property is one of the most significant parcels posed for redevelopment in the New York metropolitan area,” said Palisades principal Mark Zurlini, in a statement to NJBIZ. “We are extremely impressed with FLRA’s plan for The Center at Fort Lee, and are confident that it will be a successful project.”

The property — the subject of a Request for Proposal process by the Borough of Fort Lee to redevelop the site — has remained vacant for nearly 40 years, and saw two other failed redevelopment attempts during the 1970s and 1980s.

E-mail Evelyn Lee at elee@njbiz.com

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