Developments go rental — not just in Rahway

Informative story in Sunday’s New York Times about condo projects turning to rentals, namely the state law that says after 75 percent of units are sold, “management shifts control to a homeowners’ association.”

It’s definitely worth a read, and particularly timely and relevant in Rahway. Apparently, it’s not uncommon in this market to go from condo to rental:

Developers often decide to switch from condo to rental, or vice versa, depending on which way the market is turning. Mr. Stolar said that he was aware of several condo developers who were contemplating the switch at buildings where sales are going slowly — or are even stalled — right now. And he isn’t the only market watcher to see this as an issue for a number of builders.

Switching to rentals is “a way to create cash flow,” he said, “and the rental market is still strong” compared with the condominium market.

Not only have two projects originally planned as condos shifted to rentals this year, but I’ve been asked a few times whether Sky View at Carriage City Plaza is converting to rentals. Not likely. While individual unit owners can rent their apartments (and several units have been purchased by the same owner, by my count), Silcon Inc. would have to seek approval from the Redevelopment Agency to amend the redevelopment agreement. And I’ve heard nothing to even hint that such a move would be sought — much less gain approval.

With 209 units in Sky View, 75 percent of the building would be 157 units. By my count, almost three dozen units officially have sold and appeared in property transactions, but I’ve heard that as many as 65 percent of the units have closed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ice rink planned in front of City Hall

A temporary, artificial ice rink will be installed in front of City Hall and will be available for several weeks after the tree lighting ceremony on Friday. The synthetic surface allows the use of regular ice skates.

The rink came up during a discussion at the last Redevelopment Agency meeting about the property along Augusta Street and East Milton Avenue, which probably will be used for parking for at least two years.

Landmark Companies will let the city use the parcel for parking until it obtains other parts of the block, City Administrator and Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier said.

Landmark has purchased several parcels along Main Street, including the Wenson Associates building on the corner of East Milton.

Agency buys Hamilton Street home for $340K

The Redevelopment Agency last week authorized the purchase of a Hamilton Street home for $340,000 as part of an overall plan for an amphitheater at the former Hamilton Laundry site.

The agency previously made an offer of $310,000, which was rejected by the current owner, Colonia-based Grove Investments, LLC. The property is assessed at $146,700, according to, and paid about $6,400 in property taxes last year. PropertyShark lists the most recent sale date as February 1998, but no sales data was available on the 0.0859-acre site.

The multi-family home at 312-314 Hamilton St. (Block 167, Lot 44), adjacent to the former Hamilton Laundry, eventually will make way for a concession stand and restrooms, as part of the plans for an amphitheater along the river.

Movie theater, clubs and related retail for entertainment district

A small, two-screen movie theater, night clubs, and ground-floor retail space for entertainment-related businesses could build upon the foundation provided by the Union County Arts Center.

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Retail demands of new growth

Future residential growth downtown will be sufficient to support a 15,000-square-foot grocery store, in addition to a dozen or so new limited service and fast-food eateries.

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Three distinct retail districts downtown

Three distinct retail districts, with specific styles tailored to each, are recommended within downtown:

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Enough demand for 18 more restaurants

Can the downtown area fit another 18 restuarants, on top of the existing handful already in business? Consultants that put together the Rahway Survey think so.

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