Metro Rahway project moving along

West Cherry and Campbell

With a completion timeline of later this summer, Metro Rahway continues to rise along Campbell Street with the work on the West Cherry Street side reaching the third story.

The 116-unit apartment complex being built at the former A&M Supply site will include 62 two-bedroom units and 52 one-bedroom units in four floors of living space above one level of parking, with 120 spaces and another 18 on-street spaces.

Elm and Campbell

The A&M Supply building was demolished in June and Metro Rahway got under way later in the year. The project received a 15-year Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT), approved by the City Council last year, details of which can be found here.

Village Bistro to open on East Cherry Street

The Village Bistro
February 2014

The Village Bistro, a halal and kosher style eatery, plans a grand opening on Friday, taking East Cherry Street space formerly occupied by D&R’s Deli and for many years by Big Belly Deli.

Big Belly Deli had occupied the space from about early 2005 until March 2011.  D&R replaced it later in 2011, until it closed up shop last year.

For the uninitiated, here’s the answer to your question, “What’s halal meat?”

January 2014
January 2014

The building at 78 E. Cherry St., built in 1900, is on the market for $265,000 and includes apartments on the upper floors, but the retail tenant has a lease that would have to be honored by a new owner, according to Bob Markey of Striker Realty . Property taxes run about $10,400 annually, according to property records.

State of the City 2014

Note: The full State of the City remarks can be viewed here.

Redevelopment took a back seat to parks upgrades and other initiatives related to the arts during the 2014 State of the City address last night.

Continue reading State of the City 2014

‘The State of the City is…’

With the second postponement of the State of the City (now scheduled for Wednesday at 7:15 p.m.), I thought it’d give us another opportunity to have some fun with it and also solicit some input from readers. Inspired by a reader comment via Facebook last week, I ask you to finish the sentence:

“The state of the city is…”

Feel free to use one word or a short phrase that you think best describes the “state of the city” — in your view. The most typical phrase we often hear when it comes to State of the City or State of the Union, is always “strong” — but that’s usually coming from the person delivering the remarks, so what else would you expect? Instead, what would you say?

Agency to get additional $100k in fees for project

The Redevelopment Agency will receive another $100,000 in redevelopment fees from Metro Rahway, currently under construction on Campbell Street.

Commissioners last week approved a fourth amendment to the redevelopment agreement for the 116-unit project (Resolution 12-14)Redevelopment Agency attorney Frank Regan said the additional $100,000 will be payable over five years, and is the result of the agency’s assistance with the project, including development of the PILOT and other issues.

Developers of Metro Rahway are scheduled to pay $145,000 once the first Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) is issued, which could be by August or September.

Another three redevelopment agreements could be presented to the Redevelopment Agency for apprMetro Rahway.Feb2014oval at its March meeting: the Fulton Street project, the Slokker property at Lot B, and the artist housing development in the former Elizabethtown Gas Building.

The Redevelopment Agency anticipates revenues of about $720,000 in redevelopment fees from various redevelopment agreements this year, according to Regan.

The 108-unit Meridia Water’s Edge will owe the agency $500,000, payable  upon the first final Certificate of Occupancy (CO) and no later than six months after the first temporary CO is issued.

The 115-unit Lafayette Village, which is expected to file building permits in the coming weeks, would be due to pay $75,000 in fees within six months after the first permit is issued.

Elizabeth Avenue parcel wins tax judgment

A commercial warehouse property on Elizabeth Avenue will get a nearly 24-percent break on its 2013 property tax bill as a result of a state tax court judgment. Nearly 120 properties had successful appeals at the county level, resulting in some $182,000 in refunds for the 2013 tax year.

Continue reading Elizabeth Avenue parcel wins tax judgment

Developer close to acquiring Wheatena lots

The developer behind two downtown projects is close to acquiring properties comprising the former Wheatena site for a possible 400-unit development.

37f79-wheatena1 Capodagli Property Company is building the 108-unit Meridia Water’s Edge and the 115-unit Meridia Lafayette Village. The West New York-based developer presented a 400-unit concept plan for The Brownstones in August 2012 and last summer the Redevelopment Agency approved a redevelopment agreement for the property.

Redevelopment Attorney Frank Regan told commissioners at their meeting Wednesday night that representatives of Capodagli Property Company told him that the deal was imminent with terms are all but agreed upon.

The Redevelopment Agency on Wednesday approved a resolution amending the redevelopment agreement with Meridia Brownstones Rahway, LLC, allowing another six months. The redevelopment area includes Block 226, Lot 1, Block 227, Lots 1-7 and Block 228, Lot 1.

Amendments approved to the redevelopment agreement extend certain timelines another six months, Regan said, though he does not expect six months will be necessary, “but just to be prudent in case it drags on.”

Approximately seven acres across three lots along75f17-img_4786 Elizabeth and East Grand avenues are owned by David and Sylvia Weisz Foundation, which had also been in discussions with American Properties. The Redevelopment Agency earlier this year discussed potentially pursuing condemnation on the properties, if necessary.

Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier said at January’s Redevelopment Agency meeting that American Properties, which had a letter of intent to purchase the Wheatena properties, was being shown various properties for possible redevelopment that could be acquired, including the Post Office on Main Street, the Monroe Street substation area across the river from Luciano’s, as well as the Edge building on Irving Street which has been for sale for some time, most recently listed for $1.295 million.

Site for artist housing under contract

The Redevelopment Agency has entered into a contract for the purchase of the Elizabethtown Gas Building, where affordable housing for artists is planned. About 60 units are planned for the 219 Central Ave. site.

A contract was entered into in December and a redevelopment agreement is being drafted, Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier told the Redevelopment Agency at its meeting last month.  The Redevelopment Agency in May authorized the acquisition for $1 million, with $400,000 held in escrow for remediation.

The final redevelopment agreement will address typical issues plus certain funding and financing issues, according to Redevelopment Agency attorney Frank Regan, who said the sale was executed Dec. 6.

The Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation (AFHDC) last year was replaced on the project by TRF Development Partners, a nonprofit support organization of The Reinvestment Fund. The redevelopment team now includes Crawford Street Partners, Ingerman Development CorpElizabethtown Gas building., and TRF Development Partners.

AFHDC’s parent organization, The Actors Fund, wanted to redirect its financial resources toward the delivery of social services and is “best positioned to champion projects through public promotion and marketing assistance,” according to Steve Burns of Crawford Street Partners.

TRF Development Partners has developed City Arts in Baltimore, Md., a 69-unit tax credit project plus 15 market townhomes for sale and rent, and is currently raising funds for City Arts 2, a 62-unit building with 12 market rate townhomes,  Burns said.

The New Jersey Multiple Housing Financing Agency (NJMHFA) is expected to release draft regulations for the 2014 Low Income Housing Tax Credit programs and once those are published, the development team will “be in a position to form a strategy and timetable for securing financing,” Pelissier said.

Approvals by the NJHMFA for the tax credits and financing could come during the first quarter of this year, and once construction financing is closed, construction could begin several weeks after that.