Obvious who developers support in Dem primary

A quick look around town will show you who developers are supporting in next week’s Democratic primary. Campaign signs appear in the windows and on the buildings of several properties owned by developers: the sales office of SkyView at Carriage City Plaza (above) and the former Dornoch offices (still owned by Dornoch) at 1513 Main St. (right).

and the building on the corner of East Milton Avenue and Main Street (below), purchased in 2008 by Landmark Companies, which is building Park Square, the 159-unit rental project at Elizabeth Avenue and Irving Street. CORRECTION: I’ve been told the space the corner of East Milton and Main was rented by the Proctor campaign and is not an endorsement by Landmark.

The June 8 primary will be the city’s first contested primary in about 20 years. City Health Officer Rick Proctor, also a county freeholder and the municipal Democratic chairman, got the backing of the local party, while former Housing Authority chairwoman Renee Thrash is running off the line. Three at-large council seats are up, with incumbents James Baker, Sal Mione and Nancy Saliga challenged by Yvonne Wesley, Lynn Parker and Grace Jacquet. The Republican primary is uncontested, with local GOP chairman Patrick Cassio running for mayor with council at-large candidates James Grady, Kevin Retcho and Jeff Spatola.

Mayor James Kennedy, a Democrat, decided not to seek re-election this year after five, four-year terms. He plans to remain as unpaid executive director of the nonprofit Rahway Arts District, which now receives funding generated by the Special Improvement District (SID).

Art sneaking into downtown

The first of several planned public art pieces recently went up in the alley between Main Street and the River Place parking lot.

A few more murals are expected to go up in the alley over the next few months and others are tentatively planned, according to Jim McKeon of the Art Hive.

The Art Hive also will take over space in the former Main Street Barber Shop storefront on Main Street. McKeon expects the first official opening at the site this summer.

The space is three times the size of the East Cherry Street storefront and will allow up to eight artists. The Main Street building will be the first of a pilot program to transform empty store windows into art exhibitions, McKeon said, along with new awnings.

Dirt makes way for more parking near Lot B

Temporary sidewalks have been constructed along The Savoy site in recent weeks. The site has stockpiled some of the dirt from across the street adjacent to Lot B where additional surface parking is planned this summer.

Continue reading Dirt makes way for more parking near Lot B

A year after settlement, city & Carriage City in talks

City officials met with representatives of Silcon/Carriage City Properties (CCP) early this month to discuss money owed the Redevelopment Agency, a year after approving a settlement agreement with the developer.

Continue reading A year after settlement, city & Carriage City in talks

Marketing firm to oversee arts district development

The Redevelopment Agency last week approved a one-year, $75,000 contract with Ryno Marketing Group to assist in redevelopment of the Arts District.

Continue reading Marketing firm to oversee arts district development

Rundown of related redevelopment news

Catching up on a few news items around the Interwebs that relate to redevelopment locally in one way or another:

* Here’s not one but two stories from Hoboken Patch about temporary art studios filling vacant storefronts in Hoboken and “Empty Storefronts: Bad for the Economy; Good for Art.” If that idea sounds familiar, it’s because Mayor James Kennedy mentioned it earlier this year, patterning it after a similar program in Asbury Park.

* There’s also this Crain’s New York piece (“Bronx merchants’ artsy ambitions”) about leaders in the Westchester Square neighborhood of the Bronx turning the area into a “nexus of art and commerce.”

* Also, Cranford narrowly approved expanding its Special Improvement District (SID). If you recall, Rahway did the same, to include the Hamilton Street arts projects, but also shifted management of the SID funds (roughly $140,000 annually) from the Rahway Center Partnership to the Rahway Arts District.