Summer opening pegged for Kataluma Chai Co.

One year we’re bemoaning the lack of coffeehouse/cafe options downtown, now we’ve got at least two coming our way soon; well, one coffee shop and one chai cafe if you want to be technical about it.

Kataluma Chai Company expects to open this summer, by June or July depending on how long the city’s permit process takes, according to Aisha Thomas Petit, a co-owner along with Danielle Etienne.

Kataluma will take up about 650 square feet at 1470 Main St., leasing out part of the property from the adjacent Nieces Pieces, a home decor shop that had occupied the entire site to the corner of Lewis Street.

No word on how long a lease has been signed but Petit said that in addition to their signature chai tea lattes, the cafe will serve ice cream, gourmet sweets and coffee, as well as offering “Wi-FI, live entertainment and special events.”


Not much going on this week and I’ve been pretty busy but this story about a “Quiet Zone” being implemented in Edison today reminded me of a reader discussion on the blog last year about noise and living near the train. Montclair is also moving toward establishing a “Quiet Zone,” which prohibits trains from using their whistles/horns in some cases.

A reader also inquired last summer about the city implementing a “Quiet Zone.” I’m not sure how the “Quiet Zone” would work for elevated tracks — or if it’d be any different — but Montclair and Edison both involve grade crossings. (Here’s a primer on “Quiet Zones” from the Federal Railroad Administration if anyone’s interested in some light reading before bedtime…) According to the Montclair story, NJ Transit estimates 70 trains pass through each weekday and federal regulations require four whistles before each roadway or railroad crossing.

The catch is that the municipality is on the hook for physical improvements and installation of signals and such. For Edison, that’s $1.5 million and estimated at $1 million Montclair.

What do you think? Would it be worth it? Hey, you new SkyView residents, do the train whistles bug you enough to drop seven figures on improvements? Discuss…

Library space went for $4.55 million

The office space on the top two floors of Rahway Public Library sold for about $4.55 million, judging by state tax records. The sale by adjacent SDI Technologies closed at the end of last year, and the new owner is listed as Rahway Office Center LLC with a North Bergen address.

Based on an assessment of $1.86 million, the 41,000-square-foot site would pay almost $95,000 in property taxes.


So what do you know about this Twitter thing? I’ve been tooling around on it and I’m curious if readers would be interested in seeing Rahway Rising join the 140-character fad. Let me know your thoughts.

See you at The Taste!

Settlement discussions with Carriage City

City officials are in discussions with Carriage City Properties to resolve their dispute over payments related to Sky View at Carriage City Plaza. The Redevelopment Agency claims almost a half-million dollars is owed by Carriage City while the developer has threatened bankruptcy.

Declared in default of their agreements last month by the Parking Authority and Redevelopment Agency, Carriage City Properties had about 30 days, until April 8, to rectify the situation or they could be taken to court. Redevelopment Agency attorney Frank Regan said after Tuesday’s City Council meeting that any litigation is essentially on hold as they discuss a resolution.

According to written correspondence between the two sides, the Redevelopment Agency is claiming Carriage City Properties has not paid fees of about $458,000 related to at least 11 condo sales ($74,250), reimbursement for professional costs ($15,351), and a “reasonable contribution” toward the cost of intersection improvements at East Milton Avenue and Irving Street ($368,562).

Carriage City has paid the agency $323,000 to date but has not received closing-related fees since December. Payments on the 11 units ($74,250) would push them over the deferred $331,194 threshold set last summer and revert to the full $11,750 fee per unit owed the agency upon each closing. About 58 units have closed and appeared in tax records while the agency claims that fees have been paid for only 47 units.

According to that same letter, Carriage City has expressed concerns about the Redevelopment Agency’s financial ability, requested the agency’s audits for the past three years, and has “repeatedly stated in meetings with city and agency officials that it cannot meet its financial obligations and may lose the hotel flag and have to file for bankruptcy,” Regan wrote.

Representatives of Carriage City Properties/Silcon have not returned my email messages in months, but in this report last week its president of real estate suggested an unspecified change in the redevelopment agreement proposed by the city last year. He also claimed city officials turned down an offer to meet late last month to resolve the situation and that they have more in escrow than what the city claims it’s owed, according to the report.

City to pursue developer for improvements

The city is preparing a complaint against the developers of Riverwalk to compel them to complete almost a half-million dollars in improvements or recoup money to do the improvements on its own.

During his report at the last Redevelopment Agency meeting, RRA attorney Frank Regan said officials have met with the condo board and management company at Riverwalk to talk about a number of concerns, including various improvements that have not been completed.

The biggest issue, according to Regan, has been the failure of Diversified Communities to complete more than $400,000 in on- and off-site improvements, with some streets still not permanently paved, leaving sewer manhole covers exposed on Hancock and Essex streets.

Bachmann’s reconstruction moving along

Could this be the fastest-moving project in Rahway?

The old Bachmann’s Tavern was knocked down last fall and construction on a new building started just a few months ago, with a frame going up by February. Six weeks later, fencing still surrounds the property at St. Georges and West Lincoln avenues but it looks like the roof, along with a steeple, has been completed and most windows installed.

How much would you pay?

A new poll is up and though it’s not specifically redevelopment related, I thought it’d be an interesting take on the evolution of the news media. Metropolitan newspapers have folded in cities like Denver and an fascinating experiment is under way in Seattle, where a major daily has gone completely Web-only.

Don’t be alarmed, there are no plans to “monetize” the blog through subscription fees or even ads, and I pulled numbers below out of the air. No fancy market research or anything, just an discussion about the future of local news.

“Would you pay a subscription fee to access Rahway Rising?”

* Name a price — it wouldn’t be enough!
* $1 per blog post
* A buck a week is as high as I’d go
* How’s a dollar a month sound?
* You mean you’d pay me, right?