Brownstones set to go before Planning Board

The Redevelopment Agency last week endorsed a plan for a 487-unit rental development at the former Wheatena property . The proposal is next expected to go before the Planning Board on Dec. 16 Nov. 25. (UPDATED, 11/21: The Nov. 25 Planning Board meeting has been canceled.)

Meridia Brownstones from Elizabeth AvenueThe Brownstones, at Elizabeth and West Grand avenues, also will include 3,900 square feet of retail space over a one-story parking garage. The three retail spaces, each about 1,300 square feet, would be “supportive retail,” such a coffee shop. The four-story project will have 542 parking spaces in addition to 59 off-site parking spaces in a lot off Jackson Avenue.

Representatives of Capodagli Property Company made a brief presentation to the Redevelopment Agency at its meeting on Wednesday. The agency previously named the firm as developer and approved a redevelopment agreement.

This is the third iteration of the plan but is very similar to what the agency was presented with previously, architect Yogesh Mistry said, adding that the agency’s comments were taken into account and an interior courtyard was created where previous versions had parking.

The property currently has a dilapidated four-story industrial building and a “hodge podge” of 1-1/2 story industrial buildings.

Meridia BrownstonesThe main entrance will be on Elizabeth Avenue with a second access on West Scott Avenue. The project will be built in three phases, starting at the corner and continuing north along Elizabeth Avenue.

“I think this will work really well in this neighborhood,” Mistry said, with the advantage of having a park across the street (the Wheatena section of Rahway River Park).

“What we have out there today is horrible,” Redevelopment Agency Chairman Egon┬áBehrmann said. The whole area will be lifted up, he said and property values in the neighborhood will rise. “It’s a beautiful design and well thought out,” Behrmann said.

“It’s a net improvement, to say the least, tenfold what it was,” said Commissioner Paul Sefranka.

The City Council this past summer approved a 30-year Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) for The Brownstones.

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