Ports America to close on Bayonne terminal
Ports America expects to close on the purchase of a new marine terminal in Bayonne, N.J. Wednesday, following a decision by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to drop a lawsuit that sought to block the deal.
“We have had a leased operation there for a number of months. This allows us to complete the purchase. We look forward to building a roll-on/roll-off automobile terminal,” said Stephen Edwards, president of Ports America. “We will continue with the current operations, but the facility needs improvements. Some of the buildings need demolition, we need some paving, demolition. Once we close on the purchase we can make those permanent improvements.'
Ports America’s purchase of the terminal will bring an end to a year-and-half old controversy swirling around the 153-acre plot (94 acres are land, the rest is under water). Once part of the Military Ocean Terminal Bayonne it is being redeveloped for a variety of uses including housing, shopping, parks and a cruise terminal in addition to the car terminal.
In September 2007, the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority agreed to sell the parcel to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for $50 million for development into a ro/ro terminal. But then Bayonne reversed itself and decided to void the sale for technical reasons — the meeting where the sale was agreed to was not properly advertised. Afterwards, Ports America offered $90 million.
The BLRA sold the property to Ports America, and the port authority tried to overturn the sale in court. It lost in New Jersey Superior Court, then appealed.
Last week the port authority decided to drop the suit.
“We felt it was in the best interests of all parties now to withdraw the appeal,' said spokesman Ron Marisco. 'We look forward to working with Bayonne on future ways to strengthen the region’s maritime facilities.”
Edwards said to date the terminal has been used by about six or seven vessels each month by carriers such as Hoegh, Grimaldi and Eukor to load used automobiles for export, and by Toyota as an overflow area for import automobiles to supplement their facility in Port Newark.