By Tina Pappas
for Montclair Local
Lackawanna Plaza redevelopment testimony continued on Monday, March 12, with an attention on preserving the site’s historic materials for re-purposing throughout the entire project and to add a roof-top pool to the 154-unit apartment building.
Tom Trautner, attorney for the site developers Pinnacle and Hampshire, presented the application for the mixed-use project that would transform the Lackawanna railroad station property into a multi-use development with a supermarket and 154 units of housing.
The nearly vacant shopping center property, which at one time housed a Pathmark supermarket and a historic train station, and is now only home to the Pig & Prince Restaurant.
Future plans include a four-story multi-family dwelling built on the east side next to Grove Street, totaling 154 units, and outdoor deck-top pool, and retail including a supermarket.
The site’s current footprint will be maintained while keeping the aesthetics historical, particularly in its relation to the original railway terminal.
The plan’s architect, Bruce Stieve of Marchetto Higgins Stieve, based in Jersey City, gave a slide show of before-and-after renderings that included some of the recommendations previously made by the Montclair Historic Preservation Commission (HPC).
Plans call for disassembling the train sheds to create more area for supermarket parking. The shed materials would be re-purposed on the facade of the supermarket. One rendering showed a central corridor running through the shopping center behind a planned, renovated supermarket. The developers are still looking for a supermarket company to anchor the project, with ShopRite backing out in January after the size of the proposed supermarket at the site was dramatically reduced from 65,000 to 44,000.
The horse trough, which in the last century was used to water horses, is currently located at the far end of the site. Plans call for it to be relocated in a pedestrian-centralized location on the property and incorporate it into a water feature.
Kathleen Bennett, chairwoman of the Historic Preservation Commission, said the horse trough was one of the important historic elements of the project.
Plans to mimic the shed design at the bus stop location was also discussed.
“It starts to tie in all the different elements of the proposed project,” Stieve noted.
Architecture for the four-story residential building will borrow historic elements from the historic train station, such as steel work and columns, Stieve said. Of the 98 steel columns in the train structure, 47 would remain in their existing locations. Twenty one columns would be reused for the grocery store. Columns will also be incorporated into the new bus shelter, and at the residential entryways.
Parking plans call for a 226 spaces in the western main lot and 31 spaces between Lackawanna Plaza and the train shed location. The eastern lot would provide 230 spaces. The apartment garage would house 130 spaces. TD Bank would have 17 spaces.
Two variances are being sought for the parking. The first variance would permit 83 parking spaces in the front yard of Bloomfield Ave, which the ordinance currently does not allow. The second variance would allow 504 total parking spaces when a minimum of 811 parking spaces are required by the current ordinance. A waiver is also sought for 9 by 18-foot parking spaces where 9 by 19-foot are standard.
Stieve said a low masonry wall with lighting would wrap around the entire property.
Kevin Webb, site engineer from Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, also presented testimony regarding landscape architecture.
The development will also require affordable housing units be set aside at 20 percent as per COAH (Council on Affordable Housing) state mandate. COAH requires the mix of one, two and three-bedroom units throughout new developments. COAH plans have no been submitted yet. Stieve assured that the site plan would be COAH compliant.
The upcoming hearing for the application is slated for the April 9 Planning Board meeting.