SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- At the most recent Scotch Plains Redevelopment Meeting on April 14, Scotch Plains Project Coordinator for Redevelopment, Tom Strowe shared updates on several major projects happening in the township.
QuickChek is in the process of striking a deal with the owners of Jade Isle on Terrill Road to develop a convenience store and a gas station. The Township is in the process of conducting a redevelopment study on the property that is currently 50% complete. The owners expect to sign a final lease with the convenience store chain to develop the property soon.
Elite Properties at Scotch Plains, LLC, who originally brought a site plan application before Planning Board to develop the addresses of 1774 to 1778 East Second Street is currently in discussions with the Township over conducting a redevelopment study and negotiating a plan for the site. The process will include conducting a redevelopment study to determine if the property meets the redevelopment criteria and then negotiating a redevelopment plan. The plan is expected to include a mixed-use building with commercial retail on the first floor, with the second and third floor holding apartments, including some affordable living units.
The properties at 347 Park Avenue and 350 Forest Road, owned by Scotch Plains Baptist Church, are being discussed for redevelopment. The developer for the site plans to build a three-story building with 30 units, 24 of which will be market rate, and the remaining 6 will be affordable units. The plans are in compliance with Township’s overlay zone ordinances, although a potential PILOT and financial agreement is being discussed between the developer and the town. These properties were already studied three years ago for redevelopment during the Tier 1, Phase 1 downtown redevelopment study and were among the 45 determined to meet the redevelopment criteria at that time.
Additionally, there is a development project on 365 Park Avenue that is set to be a three-story building featuring both retail and office space, as well as a potential project on Front Street, developing a few parcels including the vacant properties at 1805 Front Street. (The Front Street site plan is in progress and early renderings have been created.)
During the meeting, Strowe provided an update on the Parker Gardens site. He outlined that the property is being grading and utilities will start being installed with buildings expected to be up within a few months. Additionally, the first foundation is up at the former Bowcraft site on Route 22 West, with the second expected to be up soon. There have been numerous delays with building materials for these projects due to the current global economic climate, but the developers have assured the town that things are still moving along.
A redevelopment plan for a project at Jerusalem Road was passed by the Planning Board to construct a 47-unit complex featuring 9 affordable units. Another point of discussion was surrounding the state’s library grant and Scotch Plains is planning on applying for the second round of applications. The combination of a library and town hall concept has been considered and could feature a three-story mixed-use building in the range of 35,000 to 37,000 sq. ft in downtown. The grant is due in June.
This meeting also featured an update on the Tier 1, Phase 1 Downtown Redevelopment Plan by Mayor Losardo and Strowe. The plan calls for the redevelopment of the Township’s public properties downtown and the Rescue Squad site. It is near completion with comments from the developer now under review, as well as general editing of the town’s plan and the incorporation of conceptual and illustrative rendering of the town’s redeveloped public properties.
Mayor Losardo stressed that downtown redevelopment will reflect the Township’s vision and architectural desires and design standards. Township Planner Mike Mistretta was diagnosed with COVID-19 during Easter weekend and was out of work for several days to recover. Strowe reported that Mr. Mistretta is feeling better and has started working again to compete the edits and get the plan back on track.
"From Park Avenue to East Second Street to Front Street to Terrill Road, redevelopment is happening in Scotch Plains. Our consistent message promoting economic growth and development is attracting investors who want to do business and create jobs in Scotch Plains," said Scotch Plains Project Coordinator for Redevelopment, Tom Strowe. "The Township looks forward to working with the developers of these projects to realize the Township's vision for a walkable, exciting downtown with new restaurants, commercial space, and residential units."
Truck Traffic Study
Union County is in the process of conducting a truck mobility study in an effort to increase efficiency of truck traffic in the county and Scotch Plains is amongst the towns being highly focused on. The current plan is for Park Avenue and the downtown area. Town officials met with the county, and are drafting a report to be made public. The short-term plan is to implement traffic-calming measures on Park Avenue in order to ease the stress of traffic throughout downtown, with a long-term goal to reroute to all the town's truck traffic to Terrill Road.
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