A critical gateway property to downtown recently changed hands and has seen some activity in recent weeks.
Longtime plans to transform the former Kelly’s Pub site and an adjacent property into KC Jazz Club never materialized. Three lots (Block 162, Lots 5-7) at Irving Street and Seminary Avenue were sold in February, according to property records, after the bank sold the property last June.
The site was sold in February by RSI Bank’s Highlander Investment Company to Cranford-based Lelas 4, LLC, for $125,000. Highlander had acquired the property last June for $552,752 from E.T. Buildings, Inc., which had been the developer behind the proposed KC Jazz Club. The latest sale did not include the liquor license, which explains the disparity in sale price seven months apart.
Plans for the site are close to what originally had been approved, according to Realtor Matt Dobrowolski, with half the space eyed as an eatery and half as retail. In recent weeks, a Dumpster was situated on the property in what appeared to be gutting the interior of the two-story building. The building in recent years has been plagued by structural issues, water damage, and stolen plumbing.
The Planning Board approved KC Jazz Club in 2007, along with some apartments on the upper floors. The Redevelopment Agency in 2012 lifted a restriction on the property that required it to be developed specifically as a jazz club after the project ran into problems.
Back in 2014, I floated the idea of a civic fundraising project to create a mural or some public art on the site until the property could be sold or renovated.