PLAINFIELD, NJ - The Plainfield Planning Board has approved a new exterior design for developer Mario Camino’s building at the corner of Park Avenue and West Seventh Street.
Camino received approvals in 2015 for 14 apartments over commercial space in the vacant building, with an all-glass exterior and balconies.
He told the Planning Board Thursday that the cost of glass had risen 40 to 50 percent since then. His company, Arkad Group, did an extensive review of architectural styles in various New Jersey cities and came up with a new exterior design incorporating “real brick” with traditional masonry elements, resembling a new building in Hoboken.
The former design had small balconies for open space on the landlocked site, but a roof garden is now planned to meet that requirement.
Architect David Buckman said all interior aspects of the original plan are the same, which meant the Planning Board did not have to hear the entire application again but could rule just on the new exterior design. He said the entire roof will have a 42-inch high parapet with some windows.
Central heating and air conditioning equipment on the roof will be screened.
While the former glass design was spectacular, at the 2015 hearing board member Siddeeq El-Amin found it possibly hazardous at the heavily-traveled crossroads of Park & Seventh. El-Amin, a retired police captain, asked for bollards to be installed so a car could not crash through the façade.
Since acquiring the building, Camino had it cleared of debris from years of neglect and invasion by squatters. He also worked out an easement agreement with the church next door and kept up a full roster of other projects, showing some off on his Facebook page.
On Thursday, Camino’s attorney, David Bressler, began by asking board approval for “a couple of minor changes to the façade and rooftop” and after Buckman described them, the board quickly granted approval. In comments before the vote, board members Maritza Hall and Anthony Howard had questions about the large windows. Camino said they will be screened and it is his policy to provide blinds for a uniform look.
Board attorney Janine Bauer asked about noise from the machinery, but was told it will not make noise.
Board member Horace Baldwin said of the façade change, “I think it’s an improvement,” and Gordon Fuller said, “Nice job.”