SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The October monthly meeting of the South Orange Development Committee was primarily a review and update on the status of various projects which are either underway, or have been submitted to the Development Committee for consideration at prior meetings.

Hub Realty/Lustbader - Blockbuster Redevelopment

Several issues have held back a definite plan for this project to move forward, including the reluctance of the owner of the two buildings at the corner of South Orange Avenue and Vose Street, said South Orange Village President Sheena Collum. South Orange Village administrators have attempted to facilitate a meeting between the two parties, however they have not been able to agree on a purchase price, said Mark Rosner, South Orange Village Trustee. If the project moves forward without the corner properties, then the size would be 99 apartments, with about 60% of them 2-bedroom units, and about 40% 1-bedroom units, said Rosner.

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Fourth and Valley

This project, after negotiations with South Orange Village, is a mix of 106 apartment units and retail space. Fourth and Valley will have 10% affordable units on site, and make provision for 11 off-site units either by paying $75,000/unit into South Orange's affordable housing trust fund, or by partnering to provide units for an organization such as JESPY House, said Collum.

Fourth and Valley is the first development that is making a donation for public improvements, with $250,000 going to projects chosen by the Academy Heights Neighborhood Association, including improvements at Founders Park and traffic calming initiatives. Neil Chambers is working with the Village on designs.

The building will have a 5 year PILOT.

Seton Hall Student Housing

The developers have not submitted a revised plan to the Development Committee, but there has been some communication with the developers who understand the Village’s concern with the size and height of the building, which they believe is necessary to attract a quality management company, said Collum. There will be a financial analysis of the project at the next meeting with the developers, with the aim to make a decision on whether the project will be moving forward. Rosner suggested that perhaps the developer could be encouraged to build two separate buildings on Valley Street, which would provide enough volume for a potential management company, while keeping the buildings within the scale desired by the community.

Potential Hotel Development

Seton Hall, St. Barnabas, Landmark, and major hotel operators have all shown interest in building a hotel in South Orange Village, according to Ed Ayuso, a potential developer of the project. Collum advised that determining the feasibility of a hotel should be a high priority, and appointed Noreed Saeed, Mark Rosner, and Ken Lorman to a committee to be formed to review the hotel development.

New Master Plan for South Orange

The committee revisited the need for a new Master Plan for the Village, and discussed the steps required to ensure all interests are served and all committees are heard from during the development phase of the plan. The Village has chosen Topology, a planning and development firm in New Jersey, to work with on this project.

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