A look back at 2008

A little belated but let’s take a year-in-review look at the milestones in redevelopment during 2008. A good starting point is Mayor James Kennedy’s State of the City address last January since he’s scheduled to deliver the 2009 version during Monday night’s City Council reorganization meeting:

– Town Center negotiations were continuing and the project was “continuing to be defined.” The plans may still include some of the aspects originally proposed but the residential and retail components likely will come in phases, at last estimate, around 2013.

Luciano’s opened and received favorable reviews, not just from readers here, but also The Star-Ledger.

Carriage City Plaza opened in the summer. While the Hotel Indigo reportedly has enjoyed a solid occupancy rate, about 40 of the 200+ condos at SkyView have closed, and it’s unclear how many might be owner rentals.

Park Square was to open this year but a revised timeline is looking more like March, though construction on the Main Street side of the project started in 2008. The photo below right is from January 2008, left, is from December 2008.

– The Hamilton Laundry building was finally demolished in August.

– The economic meltdown and ensuing credit crunch was enough to change two projects. Station Place and Renaissance at Rahway both received approvals last year to become rentals instead of for-sale condos.

So what does 2009 hold for Rahway? Any predictions?

You’d have to think that people will finally move into Park Square. Let’s hope that something more substantial starts happening at The Savoy. As for new shops or stores though, let’s be honest, it doesn’t look good given the retail sector and the economy in general. Who knows what’s going on with the retail space at Carriage City Plaza, where a coffee shop, dry cleaners and restaurant has always been part of the plan. In recent weeks, two more downtown spaces have closed up shop or will close: the former photo store at the corner of Irving and West Main streets and the art gallery at 89 E. Cherry St.