By LINDA MOSS
The township has hammered out a financial agreement with developers for the proposed Midtown Parking Deck, paving the way for the Seymour Street redevelopment project — meant to create an arts destination by the Wellmont Theater — to proceed.
The pact between the municipality and Brookfield Properties of Manhattan and Pinnacle Cos. of Montclair regarding the new deck was finalized shortly before the Township Council’s Tuesday night conference meeting. It amends a redevelopment agreement struck last year.
Under that 2017 agreement, the developers are to build a mixed-use complex on a 3.5-acre site adjacent to the Wellmont that will include a large public plaza and two buildings. But as part of that project, the developers had to commit to constructing a four-story parking deck facility with 315 parking spaces that will replace an existing municipal surface lot, the metered Midtown Parking Plaza on Glenridge Avenue
The new deck is projected to cost from $8 million to $9 million, Township Attorney Ira Karasick told the council. Once it is built the deck will be owned by the town, which will get the revenue from its parking fees, he said. In exchange, the municipality will convey the 0.6-acre South Willow Parking lot to the developers.
As to the construction costs, Karasick said. “If the deck costs more than $7 million, we agree to split the cost of that.”
For example, if the deck ends up costing $9 million to build the developers will pay $8 million of that and the township will pay the remaining $1 million, Karasick said.
“So we’ll be getting $8 million to $9 million worth of deck for $1 million plus the [South Willow] land,” he said.
There is a $1.2 million cap on the township’s contribution to the Midtown deck’s cost, and there will be a $9 million performance bond in place for the project, according to Karasick.
With those details worked out, the Seymour Street project can proceed. One of the redevelopment’s building will be six stories, with 200 residential units, 223 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, 226 spaces.
Third Ward Councilman Sean Spiller thanked Karasick and other township officials for their successful negotiations to get terms of the Midtown deck deal nailed down with the developers.
“It’s that balancing act of making sure we’re getting as much benefit as possible with as little cost to the taxpayer as possible,” Spiller said.
At its meeting the council passed a resolution amending the Seymour Street redevelopment plan to reflect the financial terms regarding the Midtown deck, which will replace 56 metered spaces and 129 regular parking spaces, as well as create 130 additional spaces, for a total of 315.
The council also voted to introduce three ordinances related to the Seymour Street redevelopment. One of them permits the creation of a pedestrian plaza on the street in front of the Wellmont. The other two ordinance authorize separate financial agreements for each of the buildings that are part of the redevelopment.
In other action Tuesday night the council passed a resolution to apply for a state Historic Preservation Fund Certified Local Government Grant, or CLG.
Kathleen Bennett, chair of the Montclair Historic Preservation Commission, appeared before the local governing body asking that the town apply for the grants. The HPC have received two such grants in recent years, and is using to use the new funds to seek historic designations on three residential areas: the Oakcroft commuter area south of Anderson Park, Wheeler Street in the Fourth Ward and the town’s estate section.
The original version of this story had the incorrect figure for the township’s cap on contributions to the deck’s construction.