Council hears redevelopment plan

The Bloomfield Township Council heard a presentation on redeveloping 19-35 Broad St. at its Feb. 8 meeting.

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — The Bloomfield Township Council heard a presentation about a redevelopment plan for 19-35 Broad Street, encompassing five buildings, at the Feb. 8 council meeting. Alex Pavlovsky, who owns the site, was at the meeting to speak to the council. According to Pavlovsky, the plan will place 86 apartments, 131 parking spaces and approximately 3,000 square feet of retail space in the buildings.

“Currently there is about 30,000 square feet of underutilized space,” Pavlovsky said at the meeting. “It’s almost a full acre of real estate that desperately needs redevelopment. The proposed project is on both Broad Street and Franklin Street.”
Pavlovsky said the apartments will generate more than $175,000 a year in new property tax revenue, in addition to creating more than 200 new construction jobs, as well as economic benefits for the town from the people who will live in the apartments and hopefully spend money in the neighborhood.

“It’s going to create much-needed housing for the community in an area that is close to the train station,” Pavlovsky said. “It’s going to fulfill the recommendations of the Bloomfield Center redevelopment plan and maintain the aesthetic design of the Bloomfield College building next door.”

Eighty-five percent of the apartments will be studios and 15 percent will have one bedroom. The construction timetable is between 12 and 15 months from the time construction begins.

“The look and feel of the building is going to be consistent with the surrounding area, including the college buildings and similar to the Green across the street,” Pavlovsky said. “Part of the redevelopment plan actually allows for six stories, but we feel like five stories is the ideal height for this building.”

Township Administrator Matthew Watkins said at the meeting that there would not be a Payment in Lieu of Taxes, aka PILOT, involved in the redevelopment project. The location is already in an existing redevelopment area, so the council would not have to designate the property as an area in need of redevelopment. The council would designate Pavlovsky as the redeveloper, and then a redevelopment agreement would have to be presented within 90 days.

Mayor Michael Venezia asked how Pavlovsky came to the decision of 85-percent studio apartments and 15-percent one-bedroom apartments, which would mean 74 studios and 12 one-bedrooms. Pavlovsky said the reasoning was a combination of market demand for apartments and what will physically fit in the buildings.

“This is a really important location for us, it’s like a keystone of Bloomfield Center,” Councilman Rich Rockwell said at the meeting, when commenting on the retail space that is a part of the project. “I think there’s a lot of difficulty in renting retail at this time because of COVID, but also because of online shopping. I think it’s important for a building like this to have really nice storefronts so they attract people, possibly some outdoor seating, some landscaping, something that’s going to draw people in and attract their attention to the retail spaces.”

The redevelopment plan will be considered for a vote by the council at its next meeting, on Feb. 22.