Hamilton demolition targeted for June

Demolition of the former Hamilton Laundry building is expected next month. The City Council last Monday night awarded a $281,000 contract to LVI/Mazzocchi Wrecking of East Hanover after the state Department of Environmental Protection approved demolition permits last month.

Conceptual designs for an amphitheater planned at the site, which abuts the Rahway River, have been presented to the Arts District Council, City Administrator/Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier said. Construction is expected next spring, to be completed by summer.

Flooding last spring (.pdf) proved too much for the Hamilton Laundry site, which at one point had been considered for a comedy club/black box theater, with Joe Piscopo among the investors. Instead, the focus of the Hamilton property will be a park and 1,000-seat amphitheater. A 7,000-square-foot black box theater and 9,000-square-foot performing arts space will focus instead on the nearby Bell building and Elizabethtown Gas property. The Redevelopment Agency is targeting the nearby Shami Apartments on Hamilton Street for 80 units of affordable housing for senior citizens and artists.

Once the amphitheater is completed, funding would be sought to retrofit the Bell building, which might be completed by summer 2010.