PATERSON, NJ - The Paterson Planning Board unanimously approved a project Wednesday that city planner Michael Deutsch predicted would “solidify that Paterson can compete with other urban areas commuters seek to live in."

The development, brought forward by prominent developer Charles Florio, will transform several existing buildings along Van Houten and Washington Streets in the city’s downtown into residential and retail space.

With an anticipated construction timeline of 16-21 months the $40-$50 million project will bring 51 studio units, 86 one-bedroom units, and 17 two bedroom units to three buildings, including one that will rise to six stories and include a rooftop garden.

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In a plan also approved by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, the existing three-story facade of one of the buildings on Van Houten Street will be preserved while two existing structures will be demolished. Two buildings on Washington Street will also be preserved and undergo massive interior renovations.

Predicting that once completed it will be “submitted for awards,” George Wheatle Williams, one of the professionals that testified on behalf of the project, said that it has all the “ingredients” planners dream of, including adaptive reuse, historic preservation, public private partnerships, and urban lifestyle amenities.

Learning of the project’s passage from TAPinto Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh shared Williams’ enthusiasm and said that it was one that “shows both the best of what Paterson was and what it’s going to be again.”

“Our city’s downtown was once a vibrant destination, and Greenbaum Interiors was a part of that,” he said, referring to the business that long operates at the site. “As these projects come off the drawing board and rise up we are going to see that vibrancy return again.”

The one sticking point that arose from testimony was the shortage of parking on-site which project manager Andy Reid, among others, said would be remedied through an arrangement with the Paterson Parking Authority (PPA) to reserve up to 142 spaces in the existing deck on Broadway. That facility, Tony Perez, Executive Director of the PPA said in a letter reviewed by TAPinto Paterson, is slated for a $6 million overhaul that will include overnight remote access and 24-hour attendants to “add security.”

"When done right, development brings more people to downtown centers, like ours in Paterson,” Mike Powell, the city’s director of economic development said. “That means increased revenue from parking and a better economic environment for further investment.”

“This project shows that under Mayor Sayegh Paterson is finally getting it right.” 

Asked about the developer’s move into the downtown Daniel Gonzalez, president of Florio Management, said that they have been investing in Paterson in 2010 because of the potential in the city. “We saw in the First and Fourth Wards, and now we see it downtown,” he said.

“We see that things are changing for the better, and we are not afraid to invest our money in this city.” 

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