January 30, 2013 at 1:29 AM
WEST ORANGE, NJ - Prism Capital partners announced on Jan. 28 that they are moving ahead with the Edison Village Phase I Project.
Prism's project to launch their $230 million redevelopment project on the site of the Edison Battery Factory is set to begin in April.
Prism Capital Partners received approval from the town council and planning board in West Orange. Plans will include 331 apartments, retail space and parking. The financial arrangement with the township includes a payment-in-lieu-of taxes (PILOT) agreement.
The project is considered to be "the largest non-waterfront re-use development in New Jersey."
West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi called the company “faithful and loyal” to the community’s potential. "Main Street is the heart of West Orange and the most vivid and authentic expression of our history and culture," said Parisi. "Its redevelopment gives us the opportunity to create an exciting downtown in an area that has been neglected for too long.”
Thomas Alva Edison built the Thomas Edison Invention Factory and Commerce Center in 1913, and it was a working industrial center until 1965. Edison employees produced storage batteries used in light delivery vehicles, automobiles, railroad signals, industrial applications and mining equipment there.
Phase I of Edison Village will constitued the renovation and reconstruction of the factory.
"Since industrial structures of this type are few and far between in suburban New Jersey, Edison Village truly represents a distinctive project," said Prism's Edwin Cohen, principal partner. "The design, by Minno & Wasko Architects and Planners, takes advantage of existing architectural features to incorporate ceiling heights ranging from 14 to 16 feet and 10-foot windows that will let in abundant natural light."
According to Prism and the approved plans, the site includes 331 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom rental apartments that will range from 590 to 1,500 square feet. The residents will have access to a private fitness center, swimming pool, personal and bike storage, meeting rooms and doorman service. The project is designed to meet LEED green building certification standards and includes parks and open green spaces on the 21-acre site.
The Edison Village's first phase also plans to include 18,000 square feet of retail space at the corner of Charles and Main Streets. A 630-car parking area is also planned.
Phase II will add another 300 housing units.
"Edison Village is contributing significantly to the regeneration of the neighborhood,” said Cohen in reference to the PILOT agreement, which has been controversial. “Its attractive new residences will bolster property values, and the new population in this revitalized area is expected to generate some $10 million of additional local retail spending annually."
Prism, based in Bloomfield, is also developing the 115-year-old former General Electric Company property to creat the Parkway Lofts apartments
Controversy has surrounded the project as community residents attempted to block progress with lawsuits. One lawsuit is still in appeal regarding their desire to establish a referendum vote for 6.3 million the town council approved for infrastructure development at Edison Village. The township is expected to recouped some of that funding. However, that appeal does not deter the launch of the project, although it could affect the financing.
In addition to the appeal, Prism will still need to secure the approval of the Historic Preservation Commission. According to Prism they have been working with the State Historic Preservation Office in Trenton. Taxes and escrow, currently up to date, have been late over the past several months. A report by township attorneys at the last town council meeting also reported that the township still required Prism's financial statements for 2012.