Meridia developer proposes 116-unit complex

Parking and density issues are some of the initial concerns over a 116-unit development proposed along the Rahway River behind the public library. Developer George Capodagli made the presentation to the Redevelopment Agency Wednesday night with his daughter Kim, who manages the firm’s other complex in Rahway.

Pompton Plains-based Capodagli Property Company built Meridia Grand on East Grand Avenue, which broke ground in fall 2009 and started leasing last summer. He credited the Redevelopment Agency for its patience as his firm acquired several properties over the years before the 88-unit project could come to fruition.

The 0.755-acre lot behind the Rahway Public Library and Center Circle athletic complex is owned by the Redevelopment Agency and the initial design appears similar to Meridia Grand, with a sort of triangular-shaped building, with an interior courtyard, abutting the levee along the Rahway River.

The five-story complex, dubbed Meridia Water Edge, would have 116 units (96 one-bedroom/20 two-bedroom) with 91 ground-floor parking spaces. There would be 24 one-bedroom units (650 square feet) and five two-bedroom units (800 square feet) on each of the remaining four floors. Kim Capodagli, who manages Meridia Grand, said rents could run $1,500 for a one-bedroom and $2,000 for a two-bedroom but possibly more since it’s closer to the train station.

“A town grows on heartbeats,” said George Capodagli, who was effusive about redevelopment efforts in the city. “You need people to make a town move,” he said, adding that the proximity to downtown and city facilities like the recreation center and library, make it an ideal location.

To address parking concerns, Capodagli hopes to work out a plan to share spaces in adjacent, underutilized city parking lots, which he described as “virtually empty at night.” More parking likely will be necessary, as Capodagli said he’s not finding as many commuters as expected at his Grand Avenue development.

The project falls within a flood plain and Capodagli said parking would be two feet underwater  in a 100-year flood but residents could come out and parking in nearby city lots which are level.
City Engineer James Housten suggested to commissioners that the developer seek a preliminary application conference with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) about the flood plain because he would have to demonstrate that residents could access the property during a flood. “I’m not saying it’s undoable but he has to address it,” he said.

Redevelopment Agency commissioners were complimentary of the design for the most part, with some minor questions about landscaping. While Capodagli told commissioners he’d like to be “in the ground” in six months, City Administrator and Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier said that’s a very ambitious schedule considering the project would still needed approval from the City Council and Planning Board after a redeveloper is designated – which the agency should do next month.

Pelissier said the presentation was merely a preliminary conceptual proposal that was made on short notice to make Wednesday’s meeting but praised Capodagli’s cooperation with city departments and his track record on his previous project. He was confident that further discussion could iron out issues relating to parking and density.

13 thoughts on “Meridia developer proposes 116-unit complex”

  1. Let's hope their building "designs" are monitored by someone with a little taste. That place they built next to the nursing home is a cross between a fancy section 8 and a motel 8…please leave the lights out!

  2. let these guys do whatever they want, nobody else seems to be able to actually complete anything.. whatever they want to do with the savoy has to be better than what we have now

  3. "Capodagli said parking would be two feet underwater in a 100-year flood …"I wonder whether our old calculations of "100-year" events will need to be adjusted; events like this seem to have been frequently underestimated in recent years. Isn't there is a better location for a new building than in a floodplain like that?Still, since it's a rental complex, I suppose the residents are better off being two feet underwater than $100,000 underwater like many recent home buyers these days …

  4. I can't fail to notice the rendering appears to be floating on water already :pAside from that, it's quite cumbersome looking and there are too many materials in the facade. I hope they streamline this by the time it gets built.

  5. This is absurd! We can't get people to rent/buy what we already have in town. Rather than build PLACES for people live here, lets build REASONS for people to live here. Grocery stores, actual clothing stores, places that will attract residents. Otherwise we will have another fallow apartment building downtown.

  6. Everyone has made valid points. One thing that can't be argued, the more people living in town, the more tax base,->the more tax base the better the town..I hope this happens, but hope it's original design is modified somewhat. Building places to live will create reasons. Most of the time people come first then small businesses that support the community. It takes time, patience, and SUPPORT. Put all of your efforts together and create the town you want…stop waiting for other people to do it!

  7. I agree that if Rahway can get more people living downtown, it will provide more incentive for businesses to support the population and fill the need for things like a supermarket, coffee shop, etc. Just not sure that another large apartment complex is a wise move at this time, especially on a floodplain. What is the occupancy rate at Park Square and RiverPlace, and Carriage City?

  8. Didn't Rahway just buy the old Savoy property on Main St.,and plan on making it a parking lot?That is a buildable site,and not in s flood plain….let's use pre-approved sites that are laying fallow!

  9. The way I understand it, the site is behind the Center Circle complex, adjacent to the library parking lot along the Rahway River. The plan as presented would abut the levee. Technically, it's Block 305, Lot 5.04, vacant land with a general Main Street address (no number, yet). There have plans to develop it over the years, including a day care center at some point in the early 2000s.This is a very preliminary concept plan at this point. While Commissioner Matt Dobrowloski thought the design blended in with what's in the area, he raised a question about the stark first-floor design portrayed in the rendering. Capodagli assured him that it will be more defined though it must be a concrete structure given the flood plain.No, Rahway did not buy The Savoy property. The same developer, Capodagli, is negotiating with Wells Fargo to try to acquire The Savoy site, which is at the corner of Main and Monroe streets. An interim parking lot is coming in across the street, adding to parking at Lot B, where The Westbury had been proposed at one point. But the city did not buy the property; the Parking Authority will lease it from the developer, Dornoch Holdings.I haven't heard about occupancy rates in awhile but recall Park Square's Irving Street side and River Place both at one point in the last few years were above 90 percent.

Comments are closed.