Posts Tagged 'Real Estate'

Yet two more Valley St. area projects

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There are two more sites near Valley St. in South Orange that are making their way thru the ‘process.’
NAPA PROJECT (top image) – The first project up to bat at the design meeting in January was the site where NAPA Autoparts and the dilapidated building next door currently sit. The developer wanted to construct 8 units. The Design Board commented on the stucco features of the building façade and asked them to make it a darker color.
The parking lot on the south side of the building will remain.  Thankfully the developer is limiting the project to 3 storeys and they have not tried to get tax abatements either.  The Planning Board at SOPAC will take up the matter and get deeper into the project.
70 SECOND STREET PROJECT (bottom image) – Next project was from developer Henry Szwed of Eclipse Real Estate Partners.  His group were willing to listen to the Design Board and the neighborhood who were tough on the design. They asked him to reorient the building to FACE the street instead of facing inward and up the hill.   The Design Board had some images on their computers and offered those as ideas and along with the residents tried to steer the developer toward making the building fit in with the homes on that street which are small & simple Victorian style homes and not as ‘South Philly’ as above.
The developer is hoping to SELL (not rent) five apartments of 3 bedrooms each.   As the building seeks a variance to be so close to the street, the DB suggested downsizing the building to 4 apartments if it would still be economically feasible.   In the parking lot after the meeting, speaking with neighbors,  the developer picked up on the idea of creating age-friendly apartments and might incorporate that as a way to shrink the streetside unit to be farther from the street.   The DB strongly urged him to rework his design to fit into the streetscape and then return.

Fourth & Valley

 

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I was encouraged at the most recent public SOPAC meeting which discussed plans for the proposed 106-unit development on the Southwest corner of 4th & Valley in South Orange. After many prior meetings over two years in which Village officials and neighbors worked with Meridia, the redeveloper, it appears that area residents are finally feeling that the project will improve the area and deal with potential issues regarding parking and traffic.
Architect James Haley of Haley Donovan made many changes requested by Academy Heights residents, breaking up the facades, setbacks and heights of the building to make it look more varied and organic to the neighborhood. The newest plan also shows a generous amount of public space to be enjoyed by neighbors – something residents said was missing at the Third & Valley development.  Now featured are extra wide (20′) sidewalks – generating more public space and potentially allowing for the widening of Valley Street should traffic studies call for a turning lane or other improvement.

Village President, Sheena Collum said the Village hoped to re-introduce the plan and agreements in January at a Board of Trustees meeting.  The redevelopment plan would then be referred to the Planning Board for approval, then back to the Board of Trustees for a hearing and a vote.

“Third & Valley did not have the robust public process this has had,” said Collum. “Credit the neighborhood for mobilizing.”  Neighborhood residents, David Kraiker, Andrew Kit, Linda Cappaze, Catherine Fisher and myself (and others) got together many times in preparation for our meetings with the town on this project.  Speaking at the SOPAC meeting, Andrew Kit said, “This is the ideal of what a public process should be like.”  We also were vocal about the 320 Valley project that has broken ground nearby.

As the town’s ‘vision plan’ has named the Valley St. corridor as one of the prime areas it’s looking to redevelop (in addition to South Orange Av & Irvington Av), it is very likely there will be interest in other sites nearby in the near future. If you’d like to get involved with contributing to shaping the future of the Valley St. corridor projects, please reach out to me – ken@kenkrasnerhomes.com

 

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Living Trust

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Dealing with a loved one’s assets before they pass away may be a good way to avoid many headaches.

A living trust is one way to avoid the length of a drawn out probate proceeding and the unwanted publicity that may result from dealing with a loved one’s assets prior to death. There are advantages and disadvantages.

Find out if a living trust is a good way for you to deal with family assets. Below is a good article about living trusts and avoiding probate.

Link to Living Trust article

New in West Orange

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From the Edison battery factory and new high-end stores opening up on Main Street to Essex Green Shopping Center additions such as LA Fitness and a new Cambria Suites hotel opening soon behind the Courtyard Marriot, it appears that the town’s commercial areas are beginning to perk up.

Also opening this past year is the City Workshop Men’s Supply Company on Main St, and a new high-end bakery and chocolatier will soon be opening on Main Street along with the Diamond Cuts Salon & Spa on Prospect Avenue.  A new diner will be moving in where the old Eagle Rock Diner used to be.

This growth in business interest in West Orange is helping to strengthen the township’s residential real estate market. “Destination downtowns drive housing values in towns,” Mayor Parisi said. “As our downtown improves, every owner of real estate in West Orange will have more equity.”

The greater demand for West Orange residential real estate is reflected by the fact that a much higher percentage of homes under contract in the last year ended up closing, as opposed to the prior 12-month periods.

Average DOM (days on market) are down from approximately 120 days (5 years ago) to 72 days.  Many are also going over list.

Average home values are also up across all neighborhoods, especially in the Gregory section which has an easy shuttle to the South Orange and Orange train stations and is attractive for people priced out of South Orange and Maplewood or just looking for more for their mone

The West Orange Downtown Alliance is also playing a part by assisting owners with the permit process, and provides grants to help them get their facade in place.

 

link to w.o. downtown alliance

 

South Orange artist, Susan Napack

 

Susan Napack is one of South Orange’s most esteemed and talented artists. Head over to her backyard studio of riches at the annual SOMA Artist Studio Tour on June 5, from 11am to 5pm.  More details are in the two links and please find a fun Q&A below.

  Studiotoursoma link   Susan’s website

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  • Ken: How did you get into art?
  • Susan: I knew by Kindergarten as kids kept saying, “Can you draw one of those for me ?”
  • Ken: Picasso had a ‘Blue period,’ what phase of your career are we in now?
  • Susan: ‘Figurine period’

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  • Ken: Who’s your favorite artist?
  • Susan: William Kentridge
  • Ken: Invite 3 celebrities to your dinner party
  • Susan:  Patti Smith, Michael Stipe (they’d get along great) and John Waters (all around fun guy)
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  • Ken: Where are you originally from?
  • Susan: Westfield, NJ 
  • Ken: Where on earth would you like to go that you haven’t traveled to yet?
  • Susan: Earthworks in Scotland (Celtic Inspired land art – earthworks link )

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  • Ken: If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you have become?
  • Susan:  A Chef

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Fourth and Valley Development

 

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In a March follow up meeting on the Fourth & Valley redevelopment project, the town planner summarized expectations and a general framework to town officials and concerned residents gathered.

The first meeting in February with developers looking to create a major residential and retail building at Fourth and Valley showed that there were differing expectations on all sides.  The Development Committee had some major revisions to suggest to the developer, Meridia who was originally looking to build something ‘massive.’  Several members of the Academy Heights neighborhood association gathered prior to summarize their concerns and Academy Heights’ resident David Kraiker spoke on behalf of those members.  Village President, Sheena Collum also made it clear that any development  was going to be in line with what the community envisioned.  It appeared that the developer appreciated the input.

Stay tuned for the next meeting when the developer is expected to submit a revised plan that would hopefully be even smaller scale than the above guideline.

Link to more info on meeting

 

 

Development at 320 Valley St., South Orange

At a Jan 4 meeting, approval from the South Orange Planning Board was given for the 320 Valley project to proceed.  It will be a 22-unit apartment building, with 2,400 sq ft of ground floor retail space. As a result of neighborhood residents voicing their concerns, the developers did agree to contribute small sums of money for:

  1. situations caused by increased traffic at the intersection of Valley St., and the future building’s driveway.
  2. tree plantings, since they will be eliminating all the trees in the area in order to build

South Orange Maplewood Homes

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There are more developments planned on Valley all the way down to Roland. The newest proposed project at 320 Valley calls for 22 units with one retail spot available.   Proposal sketch above and current photo far above. All this on a plot that currently only has ONE two-family home – the blue home pictured above.

There are many trees and shrubs (pictured) which give the area respite from the bustle of Valley St.  It would appear that the developers will build all the way down to Valley St. for the retail spot which would eliminate the greenery.  Ora Manor is immediately to the south (not pictured) and extends to the street., so current zoning shows that the proposal is ‘conforming’, but just because it’s conforming doesn’t mean 22 units are good for the residents of the area.  There are still vacancies in retail on South Orange Ave. and Valley and…

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