Last Thursday, officials from Verona joined executives from Roseland Property Company and JMP Holdings to break ground for the next phase of development of the rental complex on Verona’s western ridge. That’s Mayor Frank Sapienza on the far left and Town Council member Kevin Ryan (second from right) with the shovels above.
The second phase of the Highlands at Hilltop will add 130 one- and two-bedroom rental apartments, tennis and basketball courts, and a second larger clubhouse to the complex, which already has 95 residences (pictured below). But perhaps more importantly for Verona, it will get us closer to getting the full tax stream.
Rather than being assessed for regular property taxes, the Highlands development was set up as a PILOT, or payment-in-lieu-of-taxes. In the usual property-tax formula, 50% goes to the schools, 25% goes to the county and 25% to the town; in a PILOT, 95% of the $1.5 million annual tax revenue from the Hilltop units will go to the town and 5% to the county. Verona is getting an intermediate boost from the construction phase because, last year, we raised the cost of building permits.
According to Roseland Property, all of the existing Hilltop residences are fully rented. The complex was originally to be an age-restricted community, but was switched to market-rate rentals in January 2010.