Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009: Did "The Monarch" Rule?

The sole project in the mayor's four-year term to see major construction is still not finished, but a key element, a new senior center, was completed in 2009.

"The Monarch" at 400 East Front Street has a senior center and veterans' center at ground level and 63 condos on three floors above. Developer Glen Fishman received the city-owned site for $1 and promised to create the senior and veterans' spaces at no cost to the city.

But since the deal was cut, the developer missed three stated deadlines for completion. As the 2009 primary loomed, Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs turned up the heat and managed to garner a one-day opening in May, just before the June primary, which she won.

The senior center opened for good in November, but a Veterans' Day celebration took place outside the building, with a reception in the Senior Center space. The Veterans' Center opening is tied to completion of sales of the condos. In May, only eight had been sold, and later accounts still left many unsold.

No current sales number has been announced, nor has there been any public announcement on resolution of a parking issue for the development, which won approval with just 1.5 parking spaces for each two-bedroom condo.

Meanwhile, the company's bid for a tax abatement that would have left condo owners paying just 40 percent of city taxes was dismissed by the governing body.

"The Monarch" was billed as the bellwether for future condo development, but so far nothing has come about to prove the theory.

There have been other proposals that received approvals, including several from Landmark Development and Paramount Assets, mainly for apartments in the downtown district, and with no parking for residents except at public lots.

For other projects proposed over the past four years, i.e. Omnipointe, four transit villages, Capodagli, Maxim, Heartstone, Arlington Heights, the Marino's tract, Downtown Station South, Front Street Redevelopment Area, Roosevelt Avenue, Block 316, the UCIA endorsed North Avenue project and the East Third and Richmond proposal, never mind.

--Bernice Paglia


Blogger active citizen said...

If you look at the very laid-back, to be polite, way this mayor has worked, you'd think the whole administration was on Valium or something. It's no surprise to most informed citizens that Monarch dominated the last year.

If you take into account the problems with Monarch and the mayor's inability to fill important positions with qualified people, ie. CFO, then I don't hold much hope that anything good will happen in Plainfield in the next four years.

Even our Christmas decorations are totally ghetto ( a term I learned in nine years of teaching adults in Newark). If we were compared to surrounding communities and I was looking to start a business, I wouldn't choose Plainfield just on that. And what's with the totally red lighted tree at City Hall. Who thought that up.

We can be pretty sure we'll see more dollar stores, bodegas, and bars in our future. That seems to be all that this administration can bring to Plainfield. That means zero (0) full-time jobs and not much in taxes.

I love Plainfield and think we deserve better.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Active Citizen; you say you "love" Plainfield, but all you do is complain! Plainfield is as it should be according to the wishes of the majority of its citizens! If you don't like it, why not leave our town and go somewhere that you will be happier?

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Active Citizen doesn't need to leave...think about it how many bars to we need how many bodegas do we need? Why can't we get some major companies that can actually bring jobs and money into our community. Why having a woman as a mayor would allow a booty bar not one but two - 2nd one coming to our town.Let's think about it w/o attitude.....if all good people who tried get knocked down what would Plainfield be? We have alot to offer it is put out there the right way. Active citizen keep speaking out!

1:58 AM  

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