SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Progress on The Gateway project next to the train station at 9 West South Orange Ave. is right on schedule according to Ed Ayuso of EEA Industries, who is developing the mixed-use property along with SWH Residential Partners.
“We have about seven weeks to go and we are working very diligently and aggressively with all of our finish trades; painting, flooring, appliances, cabinetry, millwork, etc. to get ready to open on September 1,” Ayuso said. He noted that the first residential leases have been signed and he anticipates those residents moving in on Sept. 1. About 30 percent of the units have been leased already.
Of the four retail spaces on the ground floor, he has commitments on three of them and is in the process of finalizing their leases. Without signed leases, Ayuso asked not to name the specific tenants. One will be a high-end bakery and café that has six other locations. Another is a local personal trainer and fitness center.
“We are right on target and on budget. Everything has been great,” Ayuso said. “The Village has been very cooperative. We are excited to open up our site to the public and welcome retailers, residents and everyone to the ever-growing renaissance and transformation of the Village that we are happy to be a part of.”
River Drive Construction has recently "topped out" the structure and is proceeding with the project exactly as planned.
"As we near completion of The Gateway, you can sense the excitement and anticipation building throughout the Village of South Orange,” said Joseph Langan, president of River Drive Construction. “The exceptional live-work-play environment that The Gateway will provide is becoming more palpable each day. As we celebrate the topping out of the building, I’d like to recognize my team at River Drive for their hard work and dedication to ensuring that the project is completed on time, despite the challenges that were posed by the tough winter season.”
The project is also looking for proposals for new murals that will be located on a wall along the NJ Transit rail line facing the new complex. A partnership between EEA Industries, the South Orange Village Center Alliance and The Baird, the mural project is a competition that “will bring public art to our South Orange Village Center which will add color, character and real vibrancy to what are now just plain, lifeless walls,” said Ayuso. “I can’t wait to see what artists from South Orange and around the area will propose for these walls, and I’m looking forward to seeing some great art in the Gateway when it opens in September.”
The team is using ArtHere.org as the platform that artists will use to submit proposals and has set up a website just for this project, which is www.southorange.arthere.org. All proposals must be submitted through this site.
Proposals are open to local and regional artists and artist teams, and all murals must incorporate the “theme” of South Orange. There are 12 individual mural panels, and each artist and/or team can submit one or more proposal. Artists and/or teams will be paid $1500 per mural, and painting supplies and a lift for painting will be provided.
The deadline for submitting proposals is July 31. Artists will be notified the week of August 4 and production of the murals will begin the week of August 11 and be completed by September 15.