Last year when the Medford Municipal Government prepared to move from the old municipal building to the newly constructed one, they began to plan what to do with the old property located at 17-19 North Main Street, a property that the Medford Municipal Government was still occupying until the end of 2021. The over 7600 square foot building sits on a lot just slightly bigger than a half an acre, with 11 parking spots located at the back of the lot next to Charles Street. The assessment on the property as of last year was $890,420, yet the appraisals used to set the sale price, are extremely far from the nearly one million dollar value placed on the prime piece of real estate.
At the July 6th closed session meeting, the previously redacted minutes now show that Medford’s Solicitor, Tim Prime, let the council know that they had received two appraisals for the property. He said “that the appraisals varied in value and the Township will take the difference in the two and ask for this amount for payment of the land.”. As soon as we saw that statement we did an OPRA request for the appraisals, and boy oh boy, did we hit pay dirt.
Just so you can get an idea of what the current market is like in Downtown Medford, a building located at 10-14 South Main Street, which has no parking, and is just under 7000 square feet, is currently listed for $750,000.
The first appraisal received was done by Martin Appraisal Associates out of Hamilton, NJ, which was completed on June 29th, 2021. The appraisal used several comparisons to appraise the property, some from as far back as 2017, with none being from the Township of Medford. The appraisal compared land sold in Cherry Hill, Mount Laurel, and Lumberton, with their certified opinion finding that the old municipal building, was only worth $290,000.
The second appraisal was done by Sockler Reality Services Group out of Hightstown NJ, which was completed on July 1st, 2021. This appraisal also used several comparisons to asses the value to the old municipal building, with all properties in this appraisal being from Medford. One of the properties used in the comparison is located at 11 South Main Street, which is a 3,457 square foot mixed use building that sold for $360,000 back in August of 2020, yet somehow the appraisal for the old municipal building came in at $146,000, which is only 16% of the properties assessed value.
Since the Solicitor said that they would ask for the difference in the two appraisals, that means whoever is buying the old municipal property is only paying $218,000, which is a literal steal by any sense of the imagination, quite possibly, even a legal one.