BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
The mayor and council approved a resolution at its Oct. 15 conference meeting to designate 65 Church Street Urban Renewal, LLC as the redeveloper to build housing and retail for a portion of the Hahne’s Redevelopment Area.
Bijou Properties of Hoboken has plans to build a mixed-use development with 74 residential units on the site of the former Hahne’s department store parking lot on Church Street.
Although tax records have not been updated, JLL Capital Markets reported on Oct. 1 that it has closed the sale on the 0.832-acre Church Street property.
“JLL marketed the property exclusively on behalf of the seller, Kensington Senior Living, and procured the buyer, Bijou Properties,” according to the press release.
In recent years, the 106-space lot on Church Street, which is surrounded by two churches, a pre-school and the Board of Education office, has been used as a private lot offering public parking for $10 a day. Prior property owner Steven Plofker run the current parking lot. Residents are concerned with the loss of parking as a result of the development.
Town attorney Ira Karasick noted that the terms of the redevelopment agreement, specifically payment in lieu of taxes, has not yet been negotiated, but must be done before the redevelopment agreement is presented to the council for final approval.
As the lot was not zoned for housing, the council had to amend the redevelopment plan to allow for housing on the site, which was approved last November.
The maximum building height is set at five stories, with a no-minimum front-yard setback and minimum of five feet for the backyard, five feet on the eastern side and five feet for the portion of the west property line.
A public plaza, 30 feet wide and 80 feet deep, will be provided at the ground level.
Montclair Kensington Urban Renewal, a Virginia-based company, had attempted to build an assisted living facility there. It was stopped by public opposition and a lawsuit.
Officials of neighboring Christ Church and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation Church have voiced concerns over parking and density.
Karasick said the building requirement is 1.1 parking spaces per unit, for a total of 100 spaces. In addition to meeting parking requirements for tenants, the developer will provide 20 municipal parking spaces on-site and is expected to pay the town $175,000 to improve parking conditions at existing public lots.
The redeveloper will be required to submit a shared-parking analysis as part of the site plan application.
The lot was once dedicated for parking at the nearby, now-closed Hahne’s department store, which closed in 1989. The store was replaced by the Siena apartments in 2007, which was also part of the Hahne’s Redevelopment Plan.
The 74-unit Church Street development will be the final part of the plan.