PLAINFIELD, NJ — The Historic Preservation Commission is scheduled to meet virtually on Tuesday, November 24, according to the city's website, and the meeting will include discussion about a proposal for adaptive reuse of the Plainfield Area YMCA building at 518 Watchung Avenue.

The Plainfield YMCA Board of Directors had worked to transform the operating model of the YMCA, and planned to create an Age-Out Program that would have provided 30 supervised apartments for young adults aging out of foster care. Yet despite considerable efforts, it was determined that final funding terms to execute the program were not in the best ‘long-term’ interest. There was a unanimous vote in 2018 by the board to sell the building.

Fast-forward to December 2019, when the Nishuane Group prepared the TODD South Redevelopment plan that includes the Plainfield YMCA building. The plan "acknowledges the historic significance" of the structure, "and the rich architectural and aesthetic value," stating the following about any redevelopment on the site:

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  • Original historic features shall be preserved, replaced-in-kind, and retained or relocated to the extent possible for continued use or creative interpretation.
  • Materials and finishes shall be consistent with the historic character during rehabilitation.
  • The City’s Historic Preservation Guidelines shall be followed.
  • The Planning Board may grant a reduction in permitted parking requirements.

This Tuesday, the HPC commissioners will hear about Applicant 512-524 Watchung Ave LLC's plan for 142 apartments and 6,954 square feet of commercial space. According to the project description, the brick and concrete facade will be repaired and restored at areas of the building deemed as “Historically Interesting.” The scope of work includes replacing windows and doors, and more. Elements to be removed include concrete decorative features, and more. Read the project description here.

Stephen Wilder of Think Wilder Architecture is involved in the project, along with Applicant Thomas Caleca of ProudLiving Companies. Wilder is also the architect for the six-story mixed use development at Cleveland Avenue that was approved by the Planning Board last month.

Supporting documents on the City of Plainfield website:

Log into the Zoom meeting at 7:30 p.m. HERE.  If prompted, Webinar ID is 941 4541 6184, and the password is hpc2020. Individuals will be able to comment at the appropriate times during the meeting by clicking the "raise hand" button and waiting for the host to unmute them.

To log in via telephone (for a higher quality, dial a number based upon your current location): US: 1-312-626-6799 or 1-646-558-8656 or 1-301-715-8592 or 1-346-248-7799 or 1-669-900-9128 or 1-253-215-8782. The Webinar ID is 941 4541 6184, and the Participant ID is 781323. For those wishing to comment, dial *9 and wait for the host to unmute you.

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