BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
The owners of a mixed-use property on Glenridge Avenue plan to create an arts and entertainment venue that will provide free space to Montclair residents, but are seeking additional rental units to subsidize the arts component while tripling the size of the current building.
The owners, who are both artists and have lived in Montclair for 30 years, have proposed adding four more apartments to the current two, as well as office space and a 2,000-square-foot flexible arts space including studios, classrooms and exhibition space.
Planning board members voiced concerns with the allotment of 10 parking spaces for residents only, and wanted assurance that the expanded commercial space will remain a free space for the residents of Montclair for the arts in the future. Although the development will be located next to the future midtown deck that will provide 326 spaces, the usage of those spaces is uncertain.
Owners Maria and Marek Tylek (M&M Tylek LLC) plan to expand the current 5,119-square-foot building to 17,621 square feet by adding a third story and extending the entire building to the rear property line. The expanded building will contain four new two-bedroom apartments with terraces or roof gardens, 398 square feet of office space and 1,992 square feet for arts and entertainment.
The property at 182 Glenridge Avenue currently contains a two-story, mixed-use building with two commercial tenants on the first floor, two apartments on the second floor and an attached garage with four parking spaces. Both apartments and the commercial space would remain with the build out. A one-story detached garage with three parking spaces is located at the rear of the property.
The property measures 7,100 square feet in total, 47 feet wide on Glenridge Avenue and becoming narrower at the rear, where the lot is only 30 feet wide, with a depth of 180 feet. Surrounding the property is the future Midtown Parking Deck and commercial properties on Bloomfield and Glenridge avenues, including Roach’s towing service and impound lot.
Marek Tylek told the board that he would occupy the office space on the third floor, with the remainder being studio space for artists and musicians. His wife, Maria Tylek, a Flamenco dancer, would use the studio space, as well. Marek Tylek sees the exhibition space being offered to emerging artists and art organizations that struggle to find space to showcase art. He would manage the entire building including the rentals and the arts space.
Chairman John Wynn said he liked the concept, but was concerned that it remains an art center for the community in the future.
“You are talking about massively expanding this use,” he said.
Alan Trembulak, Tylek’s attorney, said they could create a deed restriction stating that any future change of use would have to go back before the planning board for at least a parking variance.
Parking for 10 cars will be provided under the building, including one handicapped space. Two of the residential parking spaces will be tandem or stacked.
Two-way vehicle access to the garage will be provided by the existing nine-foot-wide driveway where the minimum width of 18 feet is required. A new pedestrian egress door is proposed at the southwest corner of the building to provide access to the midtown parking deck.
Parking requirements are 12 for the rental units, two for the office space, nine for the commercial space and four for the arts and entertainment spaces, totaling 27 spaces.
Planner Janice Talley said that commercial space requires, by code, more parking than arts space.
Board members were troubled with the lack of parking provided for the arts element, concerned that midtown deck spaces are already accounted for, and the need for more parking with recent office space conversions at the former Chase Bank, the Madison, the former Hampton House and also the surrounding restaurants’ needs
“We want to do a lot of good for the community … We are offering a lot of free space to a lot of people. That’s the leverage for the parking. Everybody in town has a parking problem, whether they do good for the community or not,” said Tylek.
Talley said the midtown deck will be a public parking facility, although some spaces will be allocated for permit parking. The board said they wanted to see the numbers set aside for public access.
Artist Anthony McCall spoke in favor of the project, saying that for the emerging artist making art is easy compared to finding a space to show it in order to launch and advance their career.
Tylek’s daughter also spoke: “We’ve lived here forever and Chase doesn’t live here. So when you think about how you allocate parking spots, don’t allocate them to Chase. Allocate them to the people who live here and want to live here.”
The developer is seeking six waivers, dealing with width and depth requirements of the undersized lot, the number of parking spaces, the proposed tandem parking, driveway width and size of parking spots.
This application does not require construction of an affordable unit, but will require the developer to pay a development fee that will go into an affordable housing fund.