With construction under way on the 115-unit Meridia Lafayette Village, the next significant downtown project could break ground within the year, possibly before the end of 2015.
Executive Director Leonard Bier briefed commissioners during a discussion at the Feb. 4 Redevelopment Agency meeting, anticipating the next major project to be Slokker Real Estate Group’s Main & Monroe.
While the 196-unit proposal still must come before the Planning Board, Bier said it could break ground before the end of the year but more likely by March 2016. That way one project will not be in conjunction with the other.
The ultimate goal is to add some 3,000 units downtown, which would translate to about 5,000 to 6,000 bodies in the central business district, Bier said, and “finally get some real vibrancy here.”
With the city adding some 1,000 or more units in the last decade, Commissioner Anne Marie Williams asked whether new developments are getting leased. Existing buildings are 95 percent full, according to Bier, and the latest to open, Metro Rahway on Campbell Street, is closer to 60 percent and going nicely. “The absorption rate continues to be strong,” he said, adding given the timing, there’s no question it will be fully leased by fall.
The 115-unit Lafayette Village project under construction at Main and Monroe streets has been leased up before the framing has even risen, he said.