Park Square targets June opening

Corner of Elizabeth Avenue and Main Street

The second building of Park Square, one of the first cornerstone projects of downtown redevelopment efforts, should be ready for occupation starting in  June.

Joel Schwartz, principal with Keasbey-based developer Landmark Companies, appeared before the Redevelopment Agency at its meeting last week to provide an update on the 159-unit complex. He last appeared before the agency in late 2009 for an update.

Schwartz expects the second building to obtain certificates of occupancy one floor at a time — which also was done with the first building — so it should be fully occupied by about September. He said the second building boasts larger windows and more space. One-bedroom units list for starting rents of $1,600, two-bedrooms at about $2,000.

The project first broke ground nearly five years ago (October 2006) and the first building on the Irving Street side, which houses 63 of the units, was completed just about two years ago, beginning leasing in summer 2009. The Irving Street side also has 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space which is fully occupied, with five tenants, and Schwartz said the rental units are 100 percent occupied, with some turnover. The Main Street building, without any retail space, houses the remaining 96 units.

Corner of Elm Avenue and Main Street

Schwartz presented renderings that were part of Planning Board hearings in 2004 and 2005, and compared them to present-day photos of the project, as well as what the 2.4-acre site looked like before construction. He said they took a two-pronged approach: first, to redevelop in the spirit of what had been downtown, and second, to incorporate the best of redevelopment efforts from around the state and country. Some of the areas that inspired Park Square include Princeton’s Palmer Square, Forest Hills in Queens and Lake Forest, Ill. As time goes by, Schwartz hopes the complex has more of a connection with Merck as well as be more actively involved in the day-to-day activity of downtown.

The entire complex has 159 units and 205 parking spaces, including ground level parking on the Irving Street side, and two levels of parking on the Main Street side. [Note: The photos above are from last fall]