Commissioners debate Lafayette Village facade

Presented with an update on Meridia Lafayette Village, Redevelopment Agency commissioners discussed pros and cons of the new design during their meeting this month, ultimately asking that the developer tone down the stark white on parts of the facade.

The 115-unit rental complex planned at the corner of Main and Monroe streets will feature four stories of apartments over two levels of parking, one of which will be below grade and accessible via Dock Street. The project gained approval by the Zoning Board last month, but as a condition of the approval, the final rendering must get the OK from the agency.

Meridia Lafayette Village rendering.Jan2014
The latest rendering

Henry Szwed, executive vice president of development for Capodagli Property Company / Meridia in West New York, reviewed some recent design changes made to the project at the Jan. 8 meeting. On the lower level, planned Dryvit material was changed to hard stone and more awnings were added. Window bays were added on corners of the upper level and banding on the white areas was eliminated and left only on the brown areas so that it appears as if it’s a separate building, Szwed said. Signage was modified somewhat and expanded.

Senior Planner and Redevelopment Agency Secretary Cynthia Solomon suggested that a partial brick facade would separate it from the rest of the building, especially brick corners. Executive Director Peter Pelissier said the overall plan was to be more similar to Park Square (on Irving and Main streets). “We wanted to see downtown bricked like Park Square,” he said, and while projects like River Place on Lewis Street and Meridia Grand on East Grand Avenue are nice, downtown was thought to be all brick projects, like a proposal from Slokker Realty for the Lot B area, which incorporates a lot of brick and glass.

Pelissier suggested providing alternative renderings with approval subject to the commissioners and planner. The developer has had a good working relationship in the city and while he was unsure what additional costs it would entail, years from now, brick would look better in the downtown area.

Redevelopment Agency attorney Frank Regan reminded

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commissioners that the reason the project needed additional approval was because the previous redevelopment plan — which was updated last year — didn’t have design guidelines. Lafayette Village already had approval by the Planning Board when the plan was revised.

Chairman William Rack suggested a lighter shade of brown and summarized commissioners’ concerns to tone down the white, which was a little stark, but the design itself drew no objections.

Regan suggested commissioners approve the design with a variation of that color, to allow the developer to move forward. “As long as it looks like different buildings,” he said.

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