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Re: 171 new residential units in total; 45 for artists
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From Paulus Hook
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The Essex Commons building has already rented some units to renters (at least half on its east side).

Posted on: 2006/8/27 3:45
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171 new residential units in total; 45 for artists
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Planning Board approves three projects

171 new residential units in total; 45 for artists

Ricardo Kaulessar - Jersey City Reporter 08/25/2006

The Jersey City Planning Board at their Tuesday meeting approved plans for three residential projects.

The largest is Essex Commons, a seven-story, 70-unit apartment building at 66 Essex St. with 65 parking spaces. Fourteen of the units will be affordable housing.

The second is the Crescent Court Condominiums, a four-story 56-unit condo complex on First and Second streets with 56 parking spaces. It will replace a warehouse currently on the property.

The third is the rehabilitation of an old four-story warehouse on 170 Lafayette St. that will produce 45 work/live units for artists, with 50 parking spaces. The project will be known as Fresh Pond. It is located next to the old Whitlock Cordage complex, where 330 mixed-income townhouses are currently being built and will be known as Whitlock Mills.

Also, the Planning Board was supposed to consider amendments to the Morris Canal Redevelopment Plan, which governs development in the Bergen-Lafayette area of the city, but they decided to table any decision until their next meeting on Sept. 5.

According to City Planner Robert Cotter, the decision was postponed at the request of City Councilwoman Viola Richardson. There were concerns from her constituents over the amendments that would place the old Assumption/All Saints school on Whiton Street and the nearby Assumption/All Saints church's parking lot on Pacific Avenue in a redevelopment plan without first informing the community.

Essex Commons

The Essex Commons project will be developed by Redwood Homes of Mountainside, N.J.

The current plan calls for a seven-story apartment building with two adjoining three-story townhomes and three adjoining two-story townhouses. The building will face Essex, Greene and Morris Streets.

The project dates back to 1997 when the preliminary or initial site plan for the project was approved, only to be amended in 2003.

The changes to the current plan include an "Essex Commons" identification sign placed on the Greene Street side; a decorative fence to be added in front of the townhouses on Morris Street, and four windows are to be eliminated from the fifth and sixth floors of the seven-story building, with the window openings to be filled in by brick.

Of the 70 dwelling units, 15 will be one-bedroom apartments, 45 will be two-bedroom, and 10 will be three-bedroom.

Also, 14 units, or 20 percent of the overall units are to be set aside as affordable housing as required under the Colgate Redevelopment Plan.

The project's attorney, Ronald Shaljian, said there are ongoing discussions with city officials to allow the developer to get out of the affordable housing obligation since it will create a "severe economic issue." Namely, the developer would not be able to sell the affordable units at market-rate prices.

But Cotter said that until there are changes in the redevelopment plan, the 14 affordable housing units "have to be provided as affordable" or "remain vacant" rather than be sold as market rate units.

The board approved the project, emphasizing that the affordable units remain part of it.

Crescent Court

The Crescent Court project calls for the demolition of a warehouse building on the site, to be replaced with a new building with three stories of residential over an indoor parking area.

There will be 54 condos - 15 one-bedroom and 39 two-bedroom. Also proposed are 54 standard parking spaces and two handicap spaces. Also, there will be one loading dock space.

The land to be developed is currently owned by JVJ Enterprises LLC, based at 419 Third St. The developers are the Matzel and Mumford Organization of Hazlet, NJ, a division of K. Hovnanian Homes.

The Planning Board unanimously approved the preliminary and final site plans.

Fresh Pond

The Fresh Pond project had been approved by the Planning Board back in March 2003 as 43 live work/live lofts and 5,000 square feet of commercial workshop space. However, the commercial space is being eliminated in order to add two more work/live units.

The project is located in the Morris Canal Redevelopment Area, which calls for the rehabilitation of abandoned buildings such as 170 Lafayette St. and establishing artists' work/live units.

At the meeting, Bergen-Lafayette resident Dania Caballero requested that the developers, Fresh Pond LLC, be cognizant of traffic issues that would come about as the result of the project since it is located near the larger Whitlock Cordage project. She asked for a traffic study.

Conditions were imposed on the developer to include coordinating its project development with the Whitlock Mills owners.

No date has been set on when the Fresh Pond will start construction.

Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at rkaulessar@hudsonreporter.com.

Posted on: 2006/8/26 20:55
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