Demolition begins at Renaissance site

Demolition work appears to have started within the past week at the site of Renaissance at Rahway.

Work seems to have started primarily at the former Triangle Inn, a three-story building at the corner of Monroe and Montgomery streets.

The four-story project will include 88 rental units. It was originally proposed as a 72-unit condo complex before developers got approval last summer from the Redevelopment Agency to switch to rentals. The Planning Board gave its approval in the fall.

Waiting Room plans patio area

For those of you looking for more outdoor dining options in Rahway, take heart, there’s something on the way. Rahway’s most popular bar, The Waiting Room received Planning Board approval Tuesday night to build a 1,089-square foot concrete patio behind the building at 66 E. Cherry St.

Owner Chris Wenson said the patio would cover the entire area behind his building on East Cherry Street but only part of it would be used for outdoor dining. He expects it could be open by next spring, with as many as 10 to 15 tables.

The Waiting Room will mark its third year at its new location on Saturday. It relocated from the corner of Lewis and Irving streets to make way for the parking garage.

It’s summer time: What’s your favorite park?

It’s summer, you should be spending time outside (not in front of a computer), so what better poll question for this time of year than:

“What’s your favorite park in Rahway?”
Berzinec Park
Bezega Park
Brennan Field
Flanagan Field
Hart Street Park
Howard Field
Kiwanis Park
Madden Field
Madison Avenue/Greenfield Park
Milton Lake Park
Rahway River Park
Riverfront Park
Ross Park
Skarrow Field
Stein Field
Tully Field
Wheatena Park
Williams Field

Some of these are municipal parks, some county parks, and some are passive parks while others are more active. Whether you like to kick back and read or kick some balls around, your favorite park should be listed above as we tried to include as many as we could think of (with some help from readers). Let me know if we missed one that you’d want to include.

Council hires arts consultant

City Council approved a one-year, $18,600 contract for a consultant to serve as a liaison with the Arts District Advisory Board. The contract was approved during a special meeting June 30.

Elizabeth-based Coen Consulting Group, headed up by former county director of heritage affairs Susan Coen, will serve as a liaison between the Rahway Arts District Board and City Council, helping to raise money, secure grants and coordinate activities between local arts organizations, according to City Administrator Peter Pelissier.

The Arts District Advisory Board has been considering designs for the Hamilton Street amphitheater project, which is expected to begin construction late this year.

Also at the June 30 meeting, City Council approved increases of 5 percent and 8 percent in water and sewer rates, respectively.

Dornoch: Savoy to begin in a month

An nj.com report this week quotes Dornoch managing partner Glen Fishman claiming that work at The Savoy is expected to begin within 30 days. It’s been almost a year since steel went up at the site at the corner of Main and Monroe streets.

Dornoch had to replace a lender who backed out, according to the report. Their other planned development, The Westbury, will follow. “You’re never going to get financing for a 150-unit building [Westbury] until you sell out your 36-unit building [Savoy],” Fishman told nj.com.

City Administrator and Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier still stands by Fishman even though Dornoch has not built anything yet. Something ultimately will be built at The Westbury site though not in the immediate or near future, he said during a progress report to the Redevelopment Agency board last month. Pelissier offered commissioners an overview of projects around town over the past decade, adding that “every project may not materialize as originally conceived.”

Dornoch “did come in and buy up some nasty properties,” Pelissier said, suggesting that the site for The Westbury be acquired by lease for temporary surface parking in the meantime.

Though he said he’s not positive it will be built, in a meeting as recently as June 30, Pelissier said Fishman gave verbal assurances that they would move on The Savoy. A forebearance letter from Wachovia bank, which restructured the deal, should give comfort to Dornoch’s financial backers, Pelissier said.

Assuming 18 months for construction, if The Savoy does begin this month, you’re talking early 2011 before focus shifts to The Westbury site.

Downtown parking assessment

I forked over $17.50 to the Parking Authority for a copy of the 45-page final downtown parking assessment by Blue Bell, Pa.-based Tim Haahs and Associates, commissioned last year. I finally got to reviewing it and will present it in two posts: parking needs followed by recommendations tomorrow.

Continue reading Downtown parking assessment