Dance center vacates Irving Street location

Catching up on a few older items in this blog post. As pointed out by a reader email, the Union County Dance Centre last month moved out of its Irving Street location (photo at left) to a new home in Linden. Showfur Pets also vacated its East Cherry Street location.

As far as newcomers, it looks like Edward Jones Investments will be moving into one of the commercial spaces at Carriage City Plaza, next to the former Mr. G’s Coffee. Signage has been up for awhile but interior work appears to be progressing.

Since we’re on the topic of retail/commercial vacancies and I’ve been meaning to post this link for weeks, here’s a write-up on nj.com (“Pint-sized Gem: Kitchen a la Mode”) about a tiny, specialized kitchen store in downtown South Orange. It goes back to the types of niche stores and merchants that a downtown needs or wants, something Rahway surveyed a few years ago.

And in another look at what other towns are doing, Metuchen has started offering 10 minutes of free parking downtown. The Rahway Parking Authority reinstituted parking meters downtown last summer but the parking deck offers up to 30 minutes free.

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Here’s a piece in Philanthropy Journal (“Nonprofit theaters see financial upswing”) that examines two reports about nonprofit theaters. One reports theaters are rebounding slightly from budget cuts yet many still expect cash flow problems this year, while the other indicates theaters still face staff reductions and changes, including smaller shows and casts and greater reliance on local talent.

There’s also this story from nj.com last month about some arts groups cutting back schedules or closing altogether.

Renaissance project taking shape

Another month, another milestone for Renaissance at Rahway on East Grand Avenue.

After breaking ground last fall, the 88-unit complex continues to make progress. The image at left was taken last week.

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Rahway plans to install public art downtown, including sculptures and murals, among other things, so I thought this recent story about public art in and around Summit might be relevant.

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A little late on posting this but: Landmark at Rahway, LLC, the developer of Park Square on Irving Street was fined $85,000 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for stormwater pollution issues from 2008 and 2009 that have since been corrected.

‘It’s time to knock it down’

City construction and health officials will determine what it will take to raze the building on the former Wheatena property at Elizabeth and West Grand avenues.

“It’s time to knock it down,” said City Administrator and Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier. The five-story building is structurally sound but has numerous broken windows, sustained recent storm damage, and is known to have “feet of pigeon droppings,” he said. Pelissier expects the Health Department can find grounds for demolition.

The developer, Matzel & Mumford, had asked the city not to pursue demolition previously so as not to interfere with efforts to acquire the property, Pelissier said. The trustee of the property and the developer have not been able to come to terms for acquisition but he suggested demolition might encourage the two sides to get together. Demolition could cost at least a half-million dollars, he added.

A K. Hovnanian Company, Matzel & Mumford have plans for a 130-unit condo complex at the former Wheatena and Quinn & Boden sites.

KC Jazz not likely in 2010

Not that it’s any surprise but don’t expect KC Jazz Restaurant to open during 2010.

Redevelopment Agency Commissioner Courtney Clarke inquired about the status of the project during the March 24 Redevelopment Agency meeting.

City Administrator and Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier said the project at the corner of Irving Street and Seminary Avenue is not likely to be realized this year. Developer Casey Granieri is expected to go out to bid again and resubmit quotes to the bank, which had advised him to reduce the costs of the project by $500,000, Pelissier said.