Third story to rise from ashes

Boarded-up windows and a charred facade could be transformed into a renovated three-story building along East Cherry Street by April. The Planning Board unanimously gave minor site plan approval Tuesday night for the former wig and beauty supply store that went up in flames in the summer of 2005.

The plan adds a third floor to the existing building, which would be set back to allow for a balcony, and also maintain the existing scale and proportion along East Cherry Street, said Michael Nelson, architect for Dornoch Rahway. It minimizes the impact of the addition, and gives more of a two-story look from street level, he added. Dornoch has two other projects downtown: The Savoy and The Westbury.

The first floor would have 1,402 square feet of retail, with another 2,863 square feet for three residential units on the second and third floors. A variance was necessary because zoning regulations require six parking spaces (1.8 per unit). The Rahway Parking Authority, which held ownership of the building until a plan was presented, will sell the property and as part of the sales agreement will designate the necessary parking spaces.

The second floor will have two 700-square-foot, studio-type apartments with “very open floor plans.” The remaining roughly 1,400+ square feet on the third floor will feature a two-bedroom, two-bath unit. All three units are expected to be for purchase, not rentals.