PLAINFIELD, NJ — A project approved nine years ago appeared to be taking off at last, but details could not be obtained this holiday week.

Workers could be seen recently in the former PNC Bank, and today in ground floor space in two adjacent Park Avenue buildings. The dramatic leveling of the Appliance Arama building in October had initially sparked curiosity over what is next for the site.

In 2010, “West Second Street Commons” was hailed as the largest downtown residential project in the city’s history, with 100 apartments and 48 condos, plus retail uses, approved for the block anchored by PNC Bank. The bank was to relocate and developer Frank Cretella proposed to adapt its ornate building for commercial and hospitality uses. 

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The historic Titsworth-Sutphen House at the west edge of the bank’s parking lot was to be relocated, but many snags emerged on how and where to move the pre-Civil War structure. Meanwhile, the developer had eleven other projects in the pipeline by 2013, and in 2017 the bank successfully sought subdivision of the parking lot to make way for ATM machines. The bank is now located on West Front Street.

Among items that may need review are a “payment in lieu of taxes,” or PILOT program, updates on the number of residences proposed and other pertinent land use regulations.

The ground floors now apparently being used as construction staging areas for the project also have interesting histories. Eight apartments were created in a building that once housed the Courier News and later the Thomas Furniture company. It was built in 1909 and named the Frost Building.

Cretella proposed creating a bistro there and in 2014 posted a rendering of “Retour.”

On Tuesday, workers were busy inside and next door.

The bustle of work foretells change downtown and as it happens, TAPinto Plainfield will bring you the news! is Plainfield's free online daily newspaper for Plainfield, NJ news. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook, Twitter @PlainfieldTAP, and on Instagram @tapintoplainfield for all of your Plainfield local news.

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