Rev. Soaries Announces Plans For Project To Include ‘Financial Freedom Center,’ Veterans’ Housing

Wants to buy Post Office building, would give Post Office new space.

CJCDC Breakfast1

The Rev. Buster Soaries announced Jan. 6 a Franklin Boulevard project that will combine a financial literacy center with veterans’ housing.

An ambitious project for Franklin Boulevard that would include veterans’ housing, a health care facility and financial literacy services was announced Jan. 6 by the Rev. DeForest Soaries.

Soaries said that to fully accomplish the project, he wants to purchase and raze the U.S. Post Office building at 602 Franklin Blvd. In turn, he said, he would provide the U.S. Postal Service with a “state-of-the-art space” in the new building.

Soaries, head pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens on Route 27, made the announcement during the Central Jersey Community Development Corporation’s annual corporate recognition breakfast at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick. The CJCDC is a project of the church.

The project would also encompass the building at 610 Franklin Blvd. – owned by an affiliate of the church – which would also be razed, Soaries said. He said he wants the post office building so that he can build up to 60 residential units for veterans, which would be located on the second floor of the new building.

Soaries said that St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick has signed a “letter of interest” in running a health care facility in the new building.

The focus of the project, Soaries said, would be to create a “community based financial freedom center.”

“This will be a building dedicated to financial literacy and entrepreneurial development,” he said.

Other interest areas include “job training that leads to specific jobs, financial mentoring and youth financial literacy,” he said.

“There is no free-standing institution in any low-income neighborhood” whose only purpose is financial empowerment, Soaries said. “This is the first of its kind. It’s going to become a national model.”

“We are focused, we are determined and we are raising money,” Soaries said.

The U.S. Postal Service would be “open” to Soaries’ proposal, said USPS spokesman George Flood.

“We are always interested in identifying areas of opportunity to improve the way we do business,” Flood said in an email. “We are open to any proposal that would be beneficial in supporting our mission of providing quality mail services at reasonable rates for the American public.”

Earlier that morning, awards were presented to two Central New Jersey residents and a law firm who “use their influence, resources and energy to aid and advocate” for the work done by Soaries’ organizations, according to the event’s program.

Honored were the Rev. Tabiri Chukunta, executive director of community outreach for St. Peter’s University Hospital, who received the Chris Kjeldsen Community Service Award; the law firm of Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst and Doukas, which received the Corporate Partner Award, and Steve Kalafer, chairman of the Flemington Car Country and the Somerset Patriots, who received the Legacy Leadership Award.

Praising Soaries as “an example of leadership and responsibility,” Kalafer pledged to work with him to “stop the hopelessness.”

2015 CJCDC Corporate Recognition Breakfast



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