Archive for the 'Architecture' Category

Historic Holiday House tour of Essex County



There will be 16 historic buildings open to the public on December 5th and 6th.  Amazing buildings include Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, the Glenmont (Edison) in West Orange and Kip’s Castle in Verona.  For the full schedule check out the link.





Property Taxes and the Marylawn property in South Orange

marylawnThe town of South Orange plans to put the Marylawn property on the tax rolls.

Marylawn of the Oranges Academy, 445 Scotland Road, closed in 2013 after operating as a private Catholic school for girls. The property is owned by the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth and includes the school building and the Graves mansion, built in 1900.

The property is no longer being used for a religious school, so the trustees believe it should lose its tax-exempt status.  The property owners, the Sisters of Charity may be more motivated to sell the property once it is subject to property taxes.

Seton Hall University made an offer in March on the property but the proposal was withdrawn for a number of reasons.  After discovering that the property would not be purchased for use by another tax-exempt party, village officials put collecting property taxes on the table.

On one hand, the sisters are seeking a non-conforming use such as a developer who could build fairly large multi-unit building(s).  On the other, the Montrose Historical Society is hoping a developer will update and ‘save’ the historical property.  The town is in the middle and is hoping for a developer who could fit 5 to 7 single family buildings on the property that would be a conforming use (not require re-zoning).  For more details see the alternative press link.  For more background see my previous post from 2013. lists Cleveland-Preston home

151 Irving-26 2, a beautiful new design-travel-real estate website listed the beautiful and historic Cleveland-Preston home.

To explore so many more beautiful international places and photography here is the website’s home page link

151 Irving-24 2

Maplewood Facelift…post office redevelopment

IMG_2055Tuesday night, January 7th I was at town hall to hear Maplewoodians and their elected officials ‘discuss’ the ongoing issue of the redevelopment of the post office site situated in the heart of the village’s quaint, yet vibrant downtown.

The post office’s lease has not  been renewed by the town.  Mayor DeLuca and the council narrowed down the number of developers for the project to one (L&M Development Partners) after the Maplewood Economic Committee’s recommendation.

Elected officials voted unanimously to move forward with the chosen developer and the basic plan put forth by the same elected officials (which will be henceforth dubbed the “King’s plan).

Curious… as it seemed that most Maplewoodians in attendance were seeking a temporary delay in order to have more input on the project and more transparency from government about why the “King’s plan” was chosen.  The plan has several parameters that didn’t sit right with many of the townspeople (including yours truly).  Engage Maplewood is the community group who organized much of the town to become more involved in the issue during the last year and many from the group were present and vocal.  Perhaps as many as 15 people including business owners and other concerned residents got up to ask Mayor DeLuca to think through the ramifications of what the “Kings plan” might unleash.

The “King’s plan” calls for King’s supermarket to move across the street into the redeveloped post office site in order to give them more space.  Twenty-five (25) apartments will be above the supermarket, so the new building would be considerably higher, blocking sightlines of South Mountain and other areas.  There were also questions about parking, and nobody (at least during the two hours in  which I was present) discussed what business(es) would or could move into the current King’s location without significant renovation there.

While having more ‘Maplewood style’ commerce, downtown bustle and tax ratables is a good goal,  the devil is in the details.  I hope the final plan is adjusted to Honor the Vibe of Maplewood!  Lastly, the Post office is actually a pretty drab looking building.  They are considering moving the mail to Springfield Ave.

See the patch link for more details

Building of the week September 3 – South Orange Village Hall


Address – 101 South Orange Avenue

Style – Tudor

Year built – 1894

Village Hall is home to South  Orange’s municipal government including administration, code enforcement, tax assessing, engineering, zoning, health and parking authority.  Police and Fire have their own buildings.

South Orange Town Hall is undergoing a much needed renovation. Estimates are for it to cost 6 to 7 million dollars.  Part of that price includes a geothermal system for heating & cooling that will eliminate petroleum needs and eventually pay for itself.  There are other ‘green’ systems that will be featured.

Building of the Week – 8/26/2013


Style – Victorian with Stick and Queen Anne Features

Fun Facts – Home was formerly owned by a hero of the NY Mets’ miracle ’69 season, Art Shamsky

Location – 152 Prospect – South Orange, NJ

Year Built – 1879

There are quite a few classic Victorian homes overlooking this part of Prospect St.  The home sits across from the Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church which is also a pretty fine looking building.

‘Building of the week’ will be a new feature for my blog.  I hope you tune in.