Thursday, July 11, 2013

Poor Fundraising Derails $28M NJ Community Center

Plans for a $28-million Jewish community center have been halted after fundraising for the project ran dry. Only six more weeks of construction were required.

According to a report in The Times of Trenton, plans for the community center, which was being built by the Jewish Community Campus (JCC) Council of Princeton Mercer Bucks, are likely finished as the organization has been unable to secure more funds.

“We’ve been trying to get this back on track,” Howard Cohen, president of the JCC, said in an interview with The Times. “So far, we haven’t succeeded, which means short of a miracle or something else, we can’t continue.”

Planning for the new community center began in 2006 after the old JCC, which is now the Ewing Senior and Community Center, was sold. The Council secured approval from the borough of West Windsor to build the 77,000-square-foot community center in 2007, the construction of which was made possible by using the money from the sale of the old JCC and by borrowing $11 million.

Since the Jewish community in West Windsor had been talking about a new community center for many years, Cohen told The Times he expected that donors would line up to contribute. The donations were not as plentiful as anticipated, however, and construction halted in mid-October when the JCC could no longer pay the construction bills.

According to the New Jersey Jewish News, the JCC is not only short on its construction funds, it also lacks the money to pay back the $11-million loan it received at the beginning of the project. Approximately $6 million of that loan is due in December.

While the Council is attempting to restart the project, Cohen said that he is not optimistic. “At this point, I’m not sure what kind of help there really is,” he said. “The odds are not in our favor.” He also noted that the property could soon go into foreclosure.

You can read the full story in The Times of Trenton.

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