SOMERVILLE, NJ - No confetti, no fireworks, no banging of pots and pans.
But the incessant bleating of a disconnected fire alarm buried deep inside a pile of rubble on East Main Street is signaling that 2016 will be a year to celebrate as the borough’s ongoing redevelopment shifts its focus to the east side of town.
Demolition crews ripped into the former location of Somerville Aluminum and a few dilapidated houses nearby just prior to New Year’s Day to make way for a 4-story, mixed use building to be known as Somerville Commons.
DeSapio Properties is the developer of the 90,000 square-foot property.
The foot building will contain 14 apartments on the upper floor, with a mix of retail and commercial on the ground and the other two floors.
The Somerville Commons, at the corner of East Main Street and Warren Avenue, will have a commanding view of the historic Somerset County Courthouse and Somerset County office complex.
The building will complement other DeSapio properties in an area dubbed the eastern Gateway by borough planners.
DeSapio submitted plans for the building in late summer. Once the site is cleared of debris, site remediation and construction will begin, with completion expected by year’s end.
DeSapio owns the Courthouse Square office complex adjacent to the Somerville Commons tract, including a 58,000 square foot four-story building at 58 E. Main St., a four-story 102,000 square foot building at 92 E. Main St. and a 65,000 square foot building at 27 Warren St.
The original 19th-century structure built at that location was once the home of one of Somerville’s oldest families, the Vanderveers. The historic value of the property was compromised over the years as additions and alterations were made to accommodate storefronts.
In the mid 20th-century, Dooley Chevrolet had a showroom and dealership at the high visibility corner location for over 30 years before Somerville Aluminum opened its doors in 1950. The business remained a fixture in downtown Somerville for over 60 years before moving to a larger building on County Line Road in Branchburg two years ago.