ELIZABETH, NJ – Shovels hit the ground on July 17, marking the start of one of Elizabeth’s traditional neighborhoods known as Frog Hollow to get a new look with an up-to-date, multi-million-dollar redevelopment by Gonsosa Development.
Last fall, the founders of Gonsosa Development, brothers Ricardo Sosa and Alberto Goncalves, closed on the property at 200-238 South Second Street for $1.5 million. The Planning Board had already approved plans to build 23 two-family homes to be sold at market value. The 15,000 square-foot commercial warehouse has already been leased to a non-manufacturing tenant. Gonsosa Development was assisted by the Elizabeth Development Corporation who helped with approvals and permitting. The EDC also helped Gonsosa to take advantage of any subsidies and benefits such as the UEZ program.
“The Elizabeth Development Corporation is proud to be part of this exciting project,” said Bill O’Dea, executive director of the EDC. “This ambitious redevelopment changes the face of this traditional neighborhood that has been home to generations of Elizabeth residents.”
Added Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage, “As the fourth largest municipality in New Jersey, increasing the availability of housing is important in revitalizing neighborhoods and maintaining the vitality of Elizabeth. Frog Hollow is an area with a long, treasured past and this new project will add another chapter to the history of this vibrant community.”
Before Goncalves and Sosa could proceed, the lot that had been declared a brownfield and had to be remediated with the help of a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, reported Goncalves.
“Brownfield grants help transform contaminated, blighted properties into environmental and economic assets that improve public health and create jobs,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “EPA is thrilled to have worked with our local partners in Elizabeth to revitalize the Frog Hollow neighborhood.”
For Goncalves and Sosa, this project is a sort of homecoming. “We are excited to see this project move forward,” said Goncalves. “Both my brother and I grew up in Elizabeth, and we are committed to giving back to the community. This project will transform the neighborhood from a vacant brownfield into an active community.”
Added Sosa, “The Elizabeth community at large also benefits due to the increased tax revenue that will continue to aid in the revitalization of the city currently underway. We predict an estimated $4 million in new property tax revenue from this development in the next ten years.”
Groundbreaking Cover photo: (left to right) BOE member Maria Carvalho, Freeholder Sergio Granados, Ricardo Sosa, Councilwoman-at-large Patricia Perkins-Auguste, Mayor Christian Bollwage, EPA Chief of Staff Chris Lyon, Council President William Gallman, Alberto Goncalves, First Ward Councilman Carlos Torres, and Elizabeth director of planning & community development Eduardo Rodrigues.