PLAINFIELD, NJ — Members of the Planning Board unanimously voted Thursday to grant Applicant PL Downtown Plainfield, LLC (2020-22) preliminary and final site plan approval, with conditions, to demolish existing vacant buildings and construct a six-story mixed use development at Cleveland Avenue. Located between East 4th and East 5th streets, retail space will be on the ground floor, and there will be 118 residential units on the upper floors.

The project (Lot 2) falls within the boundaries of the TODD South Redevelopment Plan. A goal of the plan is to "infuse arts and culture into the community," providing incentives to encourage arts and cultural uses, especially along Cleveland Avenue.

Planner John McDonough said the project will greatly unify this area, and is in substantial conformance with the redevelopment plan.

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Stephen Wilder of Think Wilder Architecture in West Orange presented the designs for the building, and said amenities will include a resident lounge/event space, co-working space, a fitness room, a yoga room, an art gallery, and rooftop courtyard space. There will be three separate roof decks with solar, and a vegetative roof requiring little maintenance.

Eighty-nine of the 118 units will be live/work units, with a portion designated as work space and the remaining space for living purposes by the person who practices the trade.

Wilder revealed an interior rendering of the lobby featuring a mural that, he said, can be painted by local artists, and he noted the lobby's spaciousness allowing for social distancing.

Engineer John Ferrante reviewed parking and zoning data, and the variances and waivers sought. Plans and other documents can be found here.

Conditions will still need to met, including work with both police and fire divisions and PMUA, and improved plans for garbage access and removal. Individual satellite dishes are not permitted.

A second site (Lot 1) includes the 400-04 Watchung Avenue building at East 4th Street. The Applicant is proposing to adaptively reuse the existing three-story building as a mixed-use building with 5,600 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, and three live/work residential apartment units on both the second and third floors. No off-street parking or other site improvements are proposed.

Wilder said there would be some updates, but minimal work would be done on the facade. He called it an anchor building for the block, and said the upgrades will bring back some historical value.

Nana Duncan, co-developer on the project, was asked when work might begin. She said there's hope for a PILOT approval by February 2021, with a late spring or summer start on the project.

Planning Board Application 2020-16, Adonai Property, LLC, at 405-407 Watchung Avenue, was moved to the November 5 meeting.


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