Time for another fun, completely unscientific blog poll. What do you think?
How would you grade Rahway’s redevelopment?
It all depends on what your window of redevelopment might be. If you go back to the 1980s — from what I’ve heard — you wouldn’t even want to walk around downtown during the day. Your perspective might be completely different if you arrived here in the late ’90s as redevelopment got rolling, when the housing market heated up in the mid-2000s, or when it crashed just a few years ago. Whatever your perspective, I’m sure there are things you like and don’t like over the years, so feel free to share.
* Meridia Grand, 88 units
* Riverwalk townhouses, 86 units
There’s also two age-restricted projects that were built, Rosegate on East Hazelwood Avenue and Park Terrace on St. Georges Avenue and School Street (though I’m unsure of how many units on each of those). Even not including those two projects, that’s at least 691 units within the general downtown area, starting as early as about 2002 with Riverwalk. Unfortunately, about 20 percent of the Riverwalk units went into foreclosure, as did at least some of Sky View units. Meanwhile, The Savoy (36 units) and The Westbury (152 units) never got off the ground, although there is a plan to resurrect The Savoy plans as Meridia Chateau (<120 units).
There also was the renovation of the train station (1999), which included demolition to create the train station plaza, as well as erection of the 524-space parking deck on Lewis Street (2004), and the new library and recreation center near City Hall. There also was construction of Luciano’s Ristorante and that includes 14 rental apartments on the upper floors, which would push the number of new residential units over 700, and another 50 units at Brookside on St. Georges Avenue that should come online this year.
On the arts side of things, there was the $6-million renovation of the arts center by Union County, and construction is nearly complete on the Hamilton Stage for Performing Arts, though the Hamilton amphitheater has been put on hold. The Arts District also has taken over the $130,000 or so in revenue generated by the Special Improvement District.
Those are just a few of the things off the top of my head, I could go on and on but I’m sure you have some things you’d add, so feel free. I know quite a few of you are frustrated about the lack of retail options and turnover among certain retail properties, particularly along East Cherry Street. Before you go on a rant though, one question: What would you do differently?