E. Cherry Street buildings prepared for demolition

Fencing surrounds three East Cherry Street buildings that could be demolished as early as next week.

The series of one- and two-story buildings occupying 38-52 E. Cherry St. will make way for The Gramercy, a five-story, 45-unit rental development by R2-N2 Properties, LLC. The five parcels are identified on tax records as Block 318, Lots 18-21 and 1.03.

East Cherry St.38-52
Photo By D. Palmer

A staging area has been set up and once demolition is completed, the foundation will be installed, according to Jacqueline Dirmann of Maser Consulting, who briefed commissioners during her report to the Redevelopment Agency meeting last night. The developer is completing outside agency permits, she said, and recently received its water permits.

Site work began in March and previous updates to commissioners had potential demolition slated for October and then January.

The three buildings to be razed previously housed a Police Assistance Center (which was home to The Beverage Shop before 2010); a restaurant space that had been vacant for five years; and Rahway’s Finest Barber Shop, which relocated around the corner on Irving Street.

The Planning Board in November 2015 approved an application for The Gramercy. The development first was presented to the Redevelopment Agency in April 2015 as a 33-unit concept plan with no parking. The concept plan was revised in August 2015 and September 2015.

Photo By D. Palmer

The 45 units include 23 one-bedroom units, 19 two-bedrooms, and 3 studios within 70,328 square feet. Studio apartments will range from 455 to 555 square feet and one-bedrooms will run 795 square feet while two-bedrooms will be about 1,030 square feet.

As far as parking, the project will have 23 double-stacked parking spaces on the ground floor with tandem spaces assigned to the 19 two-bedroom units. The shortage of 34 spaces (57 are required by code) would be made up with a payment in lieu of parking for spaces in the Lewis Street parking deck.

Developers behind the $10-million project requested a 30-year Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) and in June 2015 City Council approved a 20-year PILOT that stipulates an annual fee of $78,000.

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