Demolition looming for Campbell Street building

The industrial supply company that eventually will make way for a 116-unit rental complex could be out of its Campell Street facility within the next few weeks.

Clay Bonny of Heartstone Development expects A&M Industrial to move out of the Campbell Street building by the middle of next month, anticipating another six to eight weeks to after that for demolition to begin. That would put a timeline for demolition sometime in June. Some activity is noticeable around the neighboring home at 1442 Campbell St. (corner of Elm) that also will be razed to make way for the five-story project, which changed its name from Station Place to Metro Rahway.

A call to A&M Industrial yielded a recorded greeting indicating that they have moved around the corner to 37 W. Cherry St. for the time being, with a distribution facility on Hopkinson Street.

Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier told Redevelopment Agency commissioners earlier this month that Heartstone has filed an application with the city for a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) but he will ask that it not be acted upon until other issues are resolved with the project. A&M Industrial is apparently seeking some relocation assistance via litigation.

The A&M property was acquired by Metro Rahway Urban Renewal, LLC in East Hanover for $2.87 million on Nov. 20, according to property records.

Closing near on property for artist housing

A deal is nearly done and closing should be completed soon for the Elizabethtown Gas building property that is planned as 60 units of affordable artist housing in the Arts District.

Continue reading Closing near on property for artist housing

Two developers in talks about Wheatena property

The vision for the old Wheatena property on Elizabeth Avenue has gone through a number of iterations for more than a decade, from some 300 townhouses to 130 condominiums.
Continue reading Two developers in talks about Wheatena property

KC Jazz site could become parking

The building that was to become a jazz club is no longer structurally safe and developers are ready to cut their losses on the project.

File photo

Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier reported to the Redevelopment Agency earlier this month that Ronald Esposito, an attorney representing E.T. Building, LLC, said the property is plagued by multiple problems: the building is structurally unsafe, plumbing has been ripped out due to theft, and a leaking roof has created water damage. The building has no value but RSI bank still is owed some $400,000 on the mortgage, he said.

Should the bank take the property in foreclosure, Pelissier said the Parking Authority could negotiate with the bank to see what  the best use of the property might be, most likely as parking since it’s needed in the area of Seminary Avenue and Irving Street area.

The Redevelopment Agency last year granted Esposito’s request to lift a restriction that the property be developed specifically as a jazz club. For years, the former Kelly’s Pub site was slated to become KC Jazz restaurant, receiving Planning Board approval in July 2007.

Possible changes, delays for Lafayette Village

State environmental regulations are forcing some minor design changes for Meridia Lafayette Village while the developer also has requested more space to redesign the 115-unit project more favorably.

Continue reading Possible changes, delays for Lafayette Village

Council OKs water rate, taxi fare hikes

The City Council tonight approved three separate ordinances to raise water rates and taxi fares, as well as a revised downtown redevelopment plan.

The governing body last month introduced the ordinance (O-11-13) to increase water rates as well as the ordinance (O-12-13) to increase taxi fares. Here’s a Google Map that details the taxi zone boundaries (and has more than 1,800 views).

Virtually all three ordinances were approved unanimously, 9-0, with the exception of the redevelopment plan, which had one abstention (Council President Samson Steinman). There was no comment from council members on the three measures:
O-6-13, revised redevelopment plan
O-11-13, water rates
O-12-13, taxi fares

City Redevelopment Plan to be revised

The City Council is set to approve a revised redevelopment plan that will consolidate more than three dozen amendments to the existing, 15-year-old redevelopment plan. The new plan also will combine what were separate redevelopment plans for the Central Business District (CBD) and Lower Main Street Redevelopment Area.

The ordinance amending and supplementing the Redevelopment Plan was introduced by City Council Feb. 11 and is scheduled for a public hearing and final approval on Monday. The process to update the Redevelopment Plan started last summer.

The original CBD redevelopment plan was adopted January 1998 and since has been amended 37 times. “It’s not a plan, it’s 37 amendments,” said Redevelopment Agency attorney Frank Regan before the Planning Board last week.

The new plan would consolidate all those amendments and allow a number of redevelopment projects recently proposed, he said. For instance, the former Westbury site now controlled by Slokker is planned for as many as 180 residential units with parking and possibly some retail. “This plan would permit that development,” Regan said, adding that developers hope to come before Planning Board this summer. Previous redevelopment projects were added to the 1998 Redevelopment Plan over the years as amendments, requiring approval from the City Council and recommendations by the Planning Board each time.

Paul Phillips of Phillips Preiss Grygiel said the Redevelopment Plan will mandate active ground-floor retail, present-day standards of redevelopment as well as improvements to design standards. The biggest change in the ordinance will be adding the Lower Main Street Redevelopment Plan into the Central Business District Redevelopment Plan, Paul Grygiel of Phillips Preiss Grygiel said in remarks before the Redevelopment Agency in recent months.

The plan spells out minimum standards for things like floor area, bulk standards for lot area as well as prohibited uses and maximum density within certain zones and subdistricts of the CBD. For instance, the minimum floor area for a unit would be 350 square feet for a studio and 500 square feet for a one-bedroom, plus 150 square feet for each additional bedroom.

Maximum gross density would be highest within the center of downtown and decline in zones toward the outskirts:

* Subdistrict CBD-1 (West Milton to Poplar): no maximum.
* Subdistrict CBD-2 (River Place and Station Place): 75 units per acre, 100 per acre for properties 20,000 square feet or greater
* Subdistrict CBD-3 (Hamilton, Bridge and Pierce streets): 50 units per acre, 75 for properties 20,000 square feet or greater

* Subdistrict M-X (City Hall Plaza): 143 units per acre, with a maximum building height of five stories.
* Subdistricts R-2, R-3, R-4: In accordance with medium-density single-family residential zone, low-rise multifamily residential zone and high-rise multifamily residential zone, respectively.
In general, 1.25 parking spaces would be provided per unit, with some exceptions, and of that amount, one unit should be provided on site while the remaining requirements could be fulfilled by public or private lots, on-street spaces, or payment in lieu of parking agreements (within CBD 1, 2 and 3).

The 26-page Redevelopment Plan is available in its entirety within O-6-13.