DEVCO In The Hot Seat For Unpaid $20 Million CRDA Loan On Heldrich Hotel

New Brunswick Development Corporation, also known as DEVCO, is sitting pretty following the successful opening of their latest project for Rutgers University. It’s called The Yard at College Avenue and features 160 apartments for undergraduates and 15,000 square feet of retail space. In the heart of the impressive 14-story, U-shaped apartment building is 25,000-square-foot public green space and a huge outdoor LED monitor. The Yard has been called the new “front porch” for the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus.

The private nonprofit urban real estate development company is known for its several urban renaissance projects. Others include, the Middlesex County Family Courthouse, Civic Square Public Safety Building and one that’s raising questions, the Heldrich Hotel. DEVCO has won numerous awards over the years for “smart growth.”

According to an item in the, DEVCO is tied up in an unpaid $20 million loan from CRDA, the Casino Reinvestment Redevelopment Authority. The loan was arranged by attorney Chris Paladino in 2005 for the renovation of The Heldrich into a major hotel and conference center. The building re-opened in 2007, but since that time, has had challenges trying to lure visitors into the spacious, mixed-use facility that sits on 1.8 acres in the heart of the New Brunswick’s cultural district.

Paladino assures everyone that the loan will be paid but that more time is needed, in the way of “a couple more years.”

Meantime, The Heldrich is lacking the money and has had to dig in their own wallet to the tune of about $776,000 to take care of basic hotel necessities like mattress and carpet replacement.

Formally speaking, the Middlesex County Improvement Authority was the borrower of the $20 million. They realize that The Heldrich is struggling, but when the overall economy improves, then the DEVCO project will complete its outstanding obligations.