By Jeffrey White
With several land remediation and redevelopment projects recently completed, River Development Equities, LLC is establishing itself as a leading re-developer of contaminated urban properties in the Northeast. Notable projects include the Hess Oil Terminal in Bogota, NJ, the Republic Container property in Jersey City, the Belford seafood co-op in Port Monmouth, as well as a current project at exit 15W of the NJ Turnpike.
I sat down with River’s Managing Member, Warren Waters, to learn about what makes the firm unique in this industry.
What kind of issues do business owners face when it's time to sell off a property and what role does River Development Equities play?
Many business owners in the Industrial Northeast face similar challenges in deciding when to sell their manufacturing or supply operations, many of which have been in the family for generations. While there are differences in the type of business, type of property, and exit strategies, many of the decisions and impacts to the seller are similar. Regardless of whether a business is family-owned, a private company, or a public corporation, the mechanics are similar. Upon engagement, River Development must execute the same strategic checklist to advance.
The value of the business must be quantified, and the process for the subsequent sale initiated. Typically, there is a requirement upon sale to relocate the business. Relocation requires a tremendous amount of coordination. River Development must identify and offer the purchaser a variety of options and then analyze equipment price, relocation, fit-up in the new facility, and negotiation of the new lease or purchase terms.
In addition to managing all of these moving parts, River must identify the nature and extent of the environmental clean-up, execute an approved clean-up plan, and finally complete the remediation before the site's redevelopment. This subsequent remediation will typically distance the seller from liability and relieve their anxiety about the remediation's challenges and unknown expense. It is this package of services that River Development is positioned to deliver.
What solutions does River Development Equities provide?
River needs to contemplate what could be built on the property, and ultimately manage the Federal, State, and Municipal regulatory and approval process that promotes the business to be sold. The value for the seller rests in the economic understanding of what amount of money the business and the land are each worth. River Development's vision, effort, and plan execution ultimately allowed the seller to reap the financial benefits of both.
Our company's vertical approach to identifying, planning, and delivering this multi-faceted protocol is the difference between confusion and the seller's economic reward. Compare this with River Dev creating a turnkey solution that provided financial, emotional, technical, and professional guidance. It's vital to mention emotional support because, in our experience, even the most secure of business executives get overwhelmed when faced with all of the challenges coming at them at once.
Our Unique Process
What is the proposed timeline of your projects?
Land remediation and redevelopment is a legal process. We are clear from the beginning that to successfully complete the entire protocol correctly, it takes at least 24 months, assuming no significant issues arise. It is in our company's DNA to anticipate and plan for the unexpected roadblocks.
Once a business has put its trust in our hands, excuses and delays are not an acceptable outcome. The business owners we deal with are experts in what they have created but letting go and putting their future in someone else’s hands is daunting.
We do this to create an economic value for the company, which we will benefit from in the future. Once we have committed to a business owner that we will complete the process, we must maintain sincerity and integrity. Once we commence the remediation we stay with it to completion. Phasing is contemplated by design if necessary.
Are there unexpected issues that cause you to deviate or modify your original plan?
There are always unexpected issues during a land remediation and redevelopment project. If we are not flexible or cannot adapt, we do not belong in this industry and should not be attempting to execute our specific business model.
River Development's landowner clients are always happy when the wire transfer hits their account. Without the services we provide, there is little chance to create the successful solution we deliver to our sellers.