SECAUCUS – Local real estate developer and property management company Hartz Mountain Industries has donated a 3,000 square foot space at 210 Meadowlands Parkway to Secaucus for the town to use for its food pantry. The pantry gives food to needy people.
The company has agreed to allow the town to use the space – free of charge – for the next five years. Hartz will also pick up the tab for utilities at the new facility, according to Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli.
The Secaucus Food Pantry is currently based at the top of a narrow staircase in the Secaucus Senior Center.
According to Gonnelli, the last paying tenant to use the 3,000-square-foot space, a retail tenant, paid $6,000 a month in rent, or $72,000 annually. Since Hartz is letting Secaucus use the space free for five years, this amounts to an in-kind donation of more than $360,000 once utilities are added.
“This will give us the opportunity to expand our food pantry. It will allow us to help more people,” said Gonnelli. “Right now we don’t have room to take donations that we’d like to take because we have no place to put them. Given the economic times, the need is definitely there."
Although food pantry volunteers and staffers have in the past claimed that the food pantry in Secaucus is underutilized, the mayor insists “people are using it…On behalf of the Town Council, I have to thank [Hartz President and Chief Operating Officer] Stern for giving us this opportunity. I mentioned in passing that we needed a better site for our food pantry, and the next day I got a phone call for Hartz offering this to us.”
In addition to the food pantry, the town also plans to use a portion of the space to warehouse some of its municipal files and other records.
The building at 210 Meadowlands Parkway is also home to an urgent care medical facility and the apparel outlet A Real New York Bargain. – E. Assata Wright