Haddon Heights has struck a deal with a developer to build homes on a former public works site, officials announced Thursday.

Bob Meyer Communities will build up to 28 houses on the 6.3-acre property next to Haddon Lake Park.

The deal comes during a historic dip in the region's real estate market. The developer and the town have agreed to a sale price for the land of $1.55 million, which the developer will pay off as the houses are sold, Mayor Scott Alexander said.

"We're very confident," he said. "We've got the best scenario possible. We've got a branded, award-winning builder, and he's done lots of these developments."

According to the company's website, Bob Meyer has been building homes in South Jersey for 40 years. Among its projects are the Wyngate and Village Pointe developments, both in Medford.

The land deal is the final piece of the mayor's plan to cut property taxes by increasing the town's tax base and reducing the number of municipal employees.

Termed Project Garnet, it has some detractors, who maintain there has not been enough transparency over the course of the project.

"There should have been more public participation," said Susan O'Neill, a member of a citizens group that opposes Alexander. "He had this idea he'd do Project Garnet first, and he's forced everything else to fit it."

Alexander said all homeowners within 200 feet of the development property had been notified, and only one person had come forward.

"They said we support the development, just make sure you cross your t's and dot your i's," he said.