East Orange, Orange discuss development at tri-community seminar

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EAST ORANGE / ORANGE, NJ — With upcoming changes planned for the communities of Irvington, East Orange and Orange, a joint Economic & Residential Development Seminar was held at Sandwiches Unlimited in Orange on May 18, where municipal panelists were welcomed from all three communities to educate the public about upcoming development. The event was sponsored by the Business & Professional Association of the Oranges, the Irvington Chamber of Commerce, the Irvington Springfield Avenue Business Improvement District, and the Orange Chamber of Commerce.

Orange Public Works/Planning and Economic Development Director Marty Mayes and Planning and Economic Development Assistant Director Chris Mobley discussed upcoming development plans for Orange.

“The main project is the Main Street streetscape and lighting project, which is an $8.5 million to $9 million project, where we are going from Glenwood Avenue, the border of East Orange to High Street — a complete face-lift,” Mayes said at the event. “It’ll be new sidewalks, new curbing, new pavement, all new traffic signals.”

Mobley detailed a number of redevelopment projects happening within the city.

The first is at 205 Mount Vernon Ave, with 19 units and 19 parking spaces. It will be “a $4.4 million project and the expected completion date is in fall of this year,” Mobley said. “The next project, we’ll call it Orange Crossing, is a four-phase project. This particular one is going to be five studio apartments, 31-bedroom apartments, 15 two-bedroom apartments and 40 parking spaces. This is a $13.5 million project, and the completion date is in winter of 2022. Again, this is going to be a multiphase project. I believe there are going to be four phases to this project.

“The next one is the Legacy Apartments, at 751 Vose Ave. in Orange. This is going to be 47 units, three-bedroom apartments, 25 parking spaces, $16.5 million development investment, with a completion date of winter 2022.”

Mobley also discussed the Crane Street redevelopment project, which will include 65 studio apartments, 117 one-bedroom apartments, and 395 parking spaces in a two-tier parking deck.

“Crane Street is probably one of the biggest developments, and this is really significant for us because it’s our first foray into market-rate development. Prior to this, we really did not have market-rate development. This is going to be a huge project for us,” Mobley said. “This site used to be a manufacturing company called Lycored and they sold it for this development project and we’re really excited.

“Our last project is not a residential development, but it’s a commercial development, and it’s going to be a new PNC Bank at 23 Main St.,” he continued, “There is a current PNC retail location at the corner of Main Street and Scotland Road. That retail location is going to relocate to this new PNC Bank facility that is being built for that retail location. Prior to the PNC Bank coming there, there was a car wash there. But this is going to be a great project, because it’s going to provide jobs for people in the community.”

East Orange Planning, Policy and Development Director Dan Jennings said the city is currently undergoing a “redevelopment boom.”

“There are more than $1.6 billion worth of development projects under construction,” Jennings said. “During the pandemic, we’ve gotten busier, because people are moving to the transit-rich towns of Essex County. We have more than 4,000 units of housing in the pipeline. Most of that is rental — (for) one and two families. The latest is a 60-unit senior development, supportive housing for our lowest-income seniors, which is 160 Halsted St. They’re breaking ground, and that project will be done next year.

“Prior to that, 129 Halsted St. — 60 units of market-rate housing. There’s one on 25 S. Harrison St. We have had a lot of development along South Harrison Street over the last few years,” he continued. “That development is spreading throughout the transit village and different parts of the town. Also, 475 Williams St., the site that had been vacant for 20 to 30 years, will be 39 units of new market-rate housing.”

East Orange is also consistently welcoming new businesses, both in redeveloped areas and elsewhere.

“The biggest project is Brick Church Plaza: $400 million, 820 units, a new ShopRite, a food hall and a Burlington (department store),” Jennings said. “Another great thing is, we’ve celebrated the opening of 30 small businesses, most of them minority-owned and most of them bringing needed goods and services to the community.”

Photos by EmilyAnn Jackman

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