Dornoch updates agency on retail properties

As promised, the remainder of the briefing the Redevelopment Agency received last week from Glen Fishman, managing partner of Dornoch Holdings.

Fishman was invited to provide an update on the firm’s activities and while the “bad news” portion consisted of an update on the lack of activity at The Savoy, the “good news” portion, as it was described, concerned Dornoch filling its rental properties along Main Street.

Temporary surfacing parking eventually will take over the rest of Lot B on Main Street, adding about 100 spaces in a deal with the Parking Authority and Redevelopment Agency. How temporary the parking is likely will depend on when the economy rebounds. The space originally was planned for 152 residential units with retail-residential mix and parking component known as The Westbury.

Dornoch has been able to rent all but two of its buildings along Main Street, Fishman said. Residential apartments above its properties at 1513 Main St. and 1469 Main St., are rented while they’ve had some interest in the retail components. A New York tenant abandoned 1469 Main St., Fishman said, but a clothing store (headed up by his stepmother) has moved into 1513 Main St. (photo above) while 1501 Main St. has two potential tenants, including a Westfield attorney who may come before the agency and/or Planning Board with changes to the interior, and another tenant who may be interested in the entire building. He’s hopeful to have the spaces filled by February or March.

“People continue to have faith in the town and are willing to spend,” Fishman told commissioners.

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Here’s an idea that might be worth copying. Summit’s merchant association, Summit Downtown, Inc., issues an annual report of sorts, the going vacancy rate and detailing the past year of openings and closings. While Summit may be vastly different in terms of demographics, like Rahway, it also has a Special Improvement District (SID) tax.

Perhaps an effort such as this may be undertaken by the reorganizing Rahway Center Partnership, which is revamping its website, the fledgling Chamber of Commerce, or be included in the mayor’s pledge to market the city.

By the way, Summit reported a vacancy rate of 4.8 percent, 10 vacancies, down from 7.6 percent, 16 vacancies, with 21 new stories and seven expansions/relocations, and five new openings anticipated early this year.