The vision for the old Wheatena property on Elizabeth Avenue has gone through a number of iterations for more than a decade, from some 300 townhouses to 130 condominiums.
The Los Angeles, Calif.-based David and Sylvia Weisz Foundation (which has about $9 million in assets) has owned the largest, seven-acre parcel (Block 228, Lot 1) for years and is currently in negotiations with two developers: American Properties and Capodagli Property Company.
Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier told the Redevelopment Agency at its meeting earlier this month that he and other agency officials met with a foundation trustee. They have 120 days to put a deal together, if there’s a sincere effort by the trustee to sell, and Pelissier told commissioners that he left the meeting “fairly confident” they will do their best to reach agreement.
Issues discussed include the Redevelopment Agency possibly acquiring the property if no deal is consummated, as well as environmental cleanup of the site, fees associated with developers so that both buyers are on equal footing, Pelissier said. For instance, if sewer connection fees are about $2,700 per unit, that’s about $1 million if there are 350 to 450 units developed.
The Redevelopment Agency conditionally designated Capodagli as redeveloper of the site after a concept presented last summer for two- or three-story walk-up style developments known as The Brownstones. The Capodagli firm is in the midst of two other projects in Rahway: the 115-unit Meridia Lafayette at Main and Monroe streets and the 108-unit Meridia Water’s Edge adjacent to the library behind City Hall.