A rendering of the Seymour Street redevelopment, which will be adjacent to the Wellmont Theater.

By LINDA MOSS
moss@montclairlocal.news

New Jersey Planning Officials, an organization of planning and zoning boards, has awarded the township’s Seymour Street Redevelopment Plan the group’s Achievements in Planning Award.

The award was announced in the association’s recent newsletter, and an awards ceremony will be held at a Sept. 15 breakfast.

“I’m truly pleased that the organization which represents planning boards throughout the state recognizes the hard work of both the Montclair Township Planning Board and the Township Council, to develop a plan that clearly articulates the Township’s vision,” Planning Director Janice Talley said in a statement.

The town planning board is holding a special meeting on the project’s site-plan approval on Monday.

The redevelopment, being undertaken by Pinnacle Cos. of Montclair and Brookfield Properties of Manhattan, will be constructed on a 3.5-acre site that is now home to the former Social Security Administration building and STS Tire and Auto, a block on Bloomfield Avenue between Seymour and South Willow streets.

One of the project’s buildings will be six stories tall, with 200 residential units, 232 parking spaces and roughly 30,000 square feet of retail space. The second building, seven stories tall, has two stories of office space and five floors of parking.

“The township of Montclair’s Seymour Street Redevelopment Plan advances the vision of creating a regional arts and entertainment destination building on the rejuvenated Wellmont Theater and existing arts assets in Montclair,” according to the planning group’s newsletter.

“The concept of an arts and entertainment center was advanced during the preparation of the Township’s 2015 Master Plan Unified Land Use and Circulation Element,” it said.

“This plan builds upon the major interior renovation of the Wellmont Theater completed in October 2015 and the designation of the theater and nearby properties as a redevelopment area,” according to the newsletter.

“The redevelopment plan provides supporting uses for the theater and broader downtown, including arts and entertainment uses, a public plaza, retail and office space, multifamily residential and new public parking.”

But some residents are not so praiseful of the plan, saying it will bring traffic congestion to local residential streets, is too dense and doesn’t have enough space dedicated to art and entertainment.

The adaptive reuse of the former bank building at 491 Bloomfield Ave. in Montclair also won an NJPO Achievements in Planning Award.