Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tepper's Condo Fit-Out Planned

The City Council is expected to vote tonight on awarding a professional services contract to Vincentsen Associates of Westfield to prepare construction documents for the fit-out of the Tepper's basement.

The city took possession of the basement several months ago, but has yet to decide how to use it. The former department store has a residential component of 75 apartments and a commercial section at ground level. The basement was to be donated to the city as part of the deal with Regan Development Corp. Click here for details of Horizons at Plainfield.

Initially proposed as a space for a new senior center, the basement was rejected by seniors who clamored for a free-standing, new center. Other options for the space included a new City Council meeting place and offices, a surveillance center for downtown security cameras or storage for city documents. No decision was made, but meanwhile about half a million in federal funding to outfit the space was about to be lost.

On Monday, Councilman Cory Storch said the council was given a chance to provide input in previous discussions of how to use the space. He asked whether the council would have any say in the current plan. City Administrator Marc Dashield said a portion of the space will be fitted out in a "very flexible" way and the rest will be fitted out later on.
The Westfield firm will receive $35,000 to prepare the construction documents.
The grant, which was arranged several years ago by U.S Sen. Frank Lautenberg, must be used by September.


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