Thursday, March 26, 2009

More Downtown Residences Proposed

Details on PNC Bank exterior.

Developer Frank Cretella, who recently unveiled projects with a total of 36 residential units downtown, is planning to add 112 more, according to a presentation Tuesday by City Administrator Marc Dashield.

Dashield spoke at a forum on economic growth and stimulus funding sponsored by Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs, who is running for re-election. This writer could not comprehend the stimulus funding part, which involves numerous funding sources and opportunities. Dashield promised a new web page will soon be posted on the city web site, with an overview, a listing of projects and a status report.

After the slide show on stimulus funding, Dashield presented one calling the downtown a “diamond in the rough,” with a diamond image superimposed over a Google map of the central business district. What makes it a “jewel,” he said is the presence of the main train station, the as-yet-unnamed Union County office building and the Plainfield campus of Union County College.
Hailing plans for closed-circuit television cameras, the Music in the Plaza program and the new Madison Avenue playground and the new senior center as highlights of the downtown, Dashield went on to enumerate Cretella’s projects. Although his company, Landmark Developers, is the designated developer for the entire North Avenue Historic District, Cretella has recently offered separate projects with various names.

One involves two buildings in the 200 block of Park Avenue, under the names of Certified Green Property One LLC and Next Step to Collins Avenue LLC. The first will have four residential units and 3,565 square feet of commercial space, and the second will have 12 residential units with 3,935 square feet of commercial space.

Arts Loft I LLC is a project in the 100 block of East Second Street that will include 20 residential units and 3,737 square feet of commercial space.

A project called Front Street Offices LLC will contain 50,000 square feet of commercial space and an adult day care center.

One new one is the somewhat ironically named “Luxury Condos” in the largely ruined Miron’s warehouse on East Second Street. A former developer failed to proceed with his project, leaving the building open to the elements from both the roof and sides of the building. For months, only a sign for “luxury condos” stood at the site. Cretella proposes 12 residential units on the site, but has no approvals as yet.

The most ambitious project announced Tuesday is the “West Second Commons,” apparently to take place on the so-called North Avenue Extension behind the PNC Bank building. Dashield said 100 rental units and 11,500 square feet of retail space are proposed. The PNC Bank now at the corner of Park Avenue and East Second Street would relocate to the new complex. The current PNC Bank building would become a “hospitality operation,” Dashield said, with lounges in the former bank vaults.

Cretella was in the audience but did not speak except to answer questions. Asked about a timetable for the commercial development on West Front Street, he said it would take place within the next 12 months.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm....this will end up as more 'affordable' housing or rental units..and commercial opportunities..let's salons? dollar store? bail bonds office? ...we're a real diamond in the rough all right. I'm sorry, I just don't see it...

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very hard to believe that Mr. Cretella is a serious developer
for our "diamond in the rough." Not only will he not get financing, but if one looks at the vacancies and higher risk occupancies that Paramount Property and others are dealing, Mr. Cretella comes off as a shill a pitchman for Mayor Briggs re-election campaign. Nothing more nothing less!

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With this primarily residential development downtown, where is the parking? If these units are to attract middle-income folks, 2 parking spots will be required, because MOST middle-income families have at least 2 cars.

If minimal parking is in the design, then these units will end up housing for more lower-income individuals, overcrowding, and crime ... what Plainfield does not need.


10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This also shows more of Plainfields spot zoning instead of coming up with a realistic long term plan. The other comments are accurate. How many more dollar stores and short term spanish restaurants do we need. For a city with 2 existing train stations and the potential for 2 more, its just so very sad. The once a ghetto almays a ghetto mentality has to change. Right now our diamond in the rouigh is still a lump of coal. His plan as well as those of Paramount are lacking the one key ingredient to make them successful, parking. Not all renters are illegals without transportation. They need to look at the future, not just today.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"hospitality operation"

Cool a City of Plainfield Visitors Center! For all the people that drive through!

5:36 PM  

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