Demolition of a string of East Cherry Street buildings could begin by the end of the month, making way for construction later this year of a 45-unit project called The Gramercy.
The Gramercy will replace a series of one- and two-story buildings from 38 to 52 E. Cherry St. — essentially from the entrance to Lot B up to but not including the building on the corner of Irving Street (where Kennedy Jewelers is now located). The four buildings to be razed would include:
- 52 E. Cherry, the former Police Assistance Center and one-time Beverage Shop prior to about 2010;
- 46 E. Cherry, formerly home to Rahway’s Finest Barber Shop, which was relocated around the corner to Irving Street, next to Kennedy Jewelers;
- 44 E. Cherry has been vacant for awhile but housed several eateries over the years, including Eat to the Beat Cafe many, many years ago but most recently Casa Borinquen, which closed five years ago; and,
- 38 E. Cherry, which has been vacant for as long as I can remember.
Jacqueline Dirmann of Bohler Engineering told the Redevelopment Agency at its meeting on Wednesday night that the project is moving along and recently met with PSE&G. Demolition of the building probably will occur this month, she said. Executive Director Leonard Bier explained that the developer (R2-N2 Properties, LLC, a partnership between DMR Construction and Netta Architects) will start the site work and foundation in-house and the framing, weather permitting, will be done by a vendor. The developer has all the appropriate utility shut-offs required for demolition, which could begin by the end of the month.
The four-story Gramercy will include 23 one-bedroom units, 19 two-bedrooms, and 3 studios. The ground floor will have about 1,200 square feet of retail that’s expected to be a coffee shop at the corner of East Cherry Street and Monroe Street (which will eventually be extended from Main Street as part of the Main & Monroe project by Slokker Real Estate Group).
Here’s a quick timeline of the project:
- December 2014: DMR Construction acquires four East Cherry Street properties, through entities, Cherry Street Properties, LLC
- April 2015: 33-unit concept plan presented to Redevelopment Agency.
- September 2015: Revised concept plan of 44 units presented to Redevelopment Agency.
- November 2015: Planning Board approved application for 45-unit, 5-story project.
- June 2016: City Council approves a 20-year Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT).