New concept plan for Center Circle site

The third version of a concept plan for the Center Circle site on Main Street would feature 219 rental units within a five-story complex.

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Shane Sorrano of  AST Development Corp. and architect Bruce Englebaugh of Minno and Wasko offered the concept site plan during a 15-minute presentation before the Redevelopment Agency on Wednesday night.

The 219 units would break down as follows, approximately:

  • 111 one-bedroom (51 percent)
  • 78 two-bedroom (36 percent)
  • 25 studio (11 percent)
  • 5 one-bedroom with a den (2 percent)

Center Circle concept.Floors1-2

Parking for 196 cars would occupy the ground floor, topped by four floors of residential units. There would be an additional 82 surface parking spaces along the southern side of the site, for a total 278 spaces. Executive Director Leonard Bier said it’s the first development in memory where all parking requirements of the city’s redevelopment ordinance (1.25 spaces per unit) are satisfied.

There will be no retail space but a two-story gym and recreation center for residents would occupy about 5,840 square on the third floor. A leasing office would occupy about 970 square feet.

Center Circle.1255 Main St.Front elevation

The goal was to have a continuation in design from the Slokker project (Main & Monroe) further up Main Street, so the same architectural firm was used. “In conversations we had, we wanted to see some continuity along Main Street, not a hodge podge,” Bier said. A common road from Main Street to West Milton Avenue would be an improvement done as part of the project, he said.

The lower level will be a brick facade, divided vertically to give it scale, Sorrano said, with fiber cement panels and metal panels, in addition to aluminum sun shade and balconette.

With no questions or comments from commissioners, the agency approved a motion (5-0) accepting the conceptual design. There were no members of the public in attendance.

Center CIrcle Concept site plan

The next step will be to eventually come before the Planning Board with a more specific site plan. One of the Center Circle buildings has begun to be rebuilt after a January snowstorm caused the roof to collapse. Bier said owners of the facility want to get one more season in — which runs October to April — before development begins.

This is at least the third concept plan presented in recent years for the 3.5-acre Center Circle site. Previous versions were scuttled because of unexpected environmental remediation that complicated the sale of the property. Three years ago, AST Development presented a concept plan for 250 units within three buildings. In 2014, Heartstone Development, which partnered with AST on the 116-unit Metro Rahway, presented a concept plan for about 250 units in one building.

7 thoughts on “New concept plan for Center Circle site”

  1. Are there any plans on the horizon to attract a grocery store to this town? It would seem with all of the condos under construction there should be a store within walking/ short car ride distance for local shopping. This town needs pedestrians and a grocery store might attract not only city residents but also nearby folks from surrounding towns.
    It’s sad to see empty sidewalks downtown.

    1. Thank you for bringing this up. With the loss of two grocery stores last year just outside the borders of Rahway, this is a more urgent situation. Lack of a nearby full-service grocery store threatens the “walkability” rating, and the livability of the town. Many of our residents (the elderly and young families) rely on foot power or taxi rides to obtain groceries, and taxi rates jump up sharply outside of the town. Alternatively, you can patch the food supply together by visiting the green grocer at one end of Rahway and the meat market at the other end. We used to have three or four small-to-medium-sized grocery stores in town at a time which provided a complete selection. Now you must visit the green grocer at one end of town and the meat market at the other in order to put a partial supply of groceries together. CREATIVITY is needed. A two-or-three story grocery store which takes a smaller footprint? A free-or-low-cost city bus service to a limited number grocery stores? A low-cost delivery service? We need to request a survey from the city council to determine the level of need and preference. Please talk to your Ward Council person, and I will talk to mine.

    2. Ramona, your post motivated me to check out the Universal Meat Market on Elizabeth Avenue in Rahway. I LOVE it. They have a lot of what I (a not too-adventurous shopper) need, plus food that would make the rest of the Western Hemisphere citizens feel at home. My husband and I met the manager who told us to ask him to order whatever else we needed. So, WE DO HAVE A SUPERMARKET IN TOWN ALREADY. Go see it.

  2. I suppose there are “plans,” as the administration says they’re always working to attract some type of grocery store, although I would imagine downtown location options are dwindling just because lack of suitable real estate for one.

    That’s the idea. The city’s redevelopment plan aims to create housing density around the train station to hopefully sustain local business and create that pedestrian traffic.

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