Saturday, August 08, 2009

Downtown Woes

One of the Landmark Developers applications was on the Zoning Board of Adjustment agenda Wednesday, but due to the phone outage I could not call to check whether it was still going to be heard. I walked over to City Hall and found out the developer had requested a postponement.

This was the second postponement for the application to put 12 apartments inside the former Courier News building, with retail uses on the ground floor. Developer Frank Cretella had been very actively pursuing approvals from the Historic Preservation Commission, the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment throughout the early part of the year. Landmark had been designated as developer for the North Avenue Historic District in 2006, but began seeking approvals more recently for various projects including a commercial office building on West Front Street, housing and commercial uses on East Second Street and conversion of two Park Avenue buildings to apartment and retail uses. Most recently, the City Council withdrew a proposal to seek $15 million in funding for more than 100 apartments on the PNC Bank block.

Walking downtown Friday, I saw this big broken window at the site that would have been under discussion at the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the old Courier News building at 226-232 Park Avenue.

Next door, another Cretella site had a stop-work order on the door. This building at 212-216 Park Avenue was to become four apartments with commercial space at ground level. Again, due to the City Hall phone outage I never got hold of Construction Official Joe Minarvich to ask about the work stoppage.

Over on Gavett Place, a city-owned lot related to another Cretella project has a new sign noting it is under environmental investigation. Many years ago, a building had partially collapsed on the site and was demolished on an emergency basis.

A barrier was to have been erected between the lot and vaults under the sidewalk in the North Avenue Historic District, but one can see a hole that is opening up as the ground settles. Maybe it needs to be stabilized if anything is to be erected on the site.
All these downtown projects have interesting names. The four-apartment Park Avenue one is called Certified Green Property One LLC. The Courier News building application is for Next Step to Collins Avenue LLC. Arts Loft I LLC is the one on East Second Street that will wrap around to Gavett Place and North Avenue.
Front Street Offices LLC is the proposal to use the Appliance-Arama warehouse and two city-owned lots for commercial development. The old Mirons warehouse is called East Second Luxury Condos and the PNC Bank block proposal for more than 100 apartments is West Second Street Commons.
It seems the developer is having a rough patch with this ambitious roster of projects. Plaintalker will keep checking for progress.
--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...


- The old Courier building on Park Ave? Not sure that is correct.

- The old Courier building on Court Place, isn't that used as Union County College now ?

- Joe Minxxxx is out on a medical leave from what I have been told.

7:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teh Courier was on Park Ave and grew to the Court Place Bldg in later years.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only we had a vision for all of this, maybe it would be better.

1:50 PM  

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