Two major developments - one each for the East End and West End - received unanimous initial approvals Monday from the governing body.
Each has many more steps to go, but the City Council's welcoming tone Monday stood in sharp contrast to the brush-off one developer suffered in August.
The South Second Street Redevelopment LLC, made public only this month, would bring a mixed-use project to a 5-acre city-owned property in the West End. It includes expansion of ABC Supply Company in Plainfield and creation of 90 units of mixed income housing over covered parking. The resolution approved tonight leaves execution of an agreement in the hands of Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, but Patrick Terborg of TD+Partners said the city will receive a minimum of $250,000 for the land and the company will spend $1 million to clean up the brownfields site.
For the East End project, Sleepy Hollow Developers Urban Renewal LLC must acquire and clear 11 properties to make way for 212 apartments with many amenities, including a fitness center, indoor and outdoor fireplaces and a meditation room. The council gave initial approval Monday to an ordinance for a "payment in lieu of taxes" (PILOT) plan for the $50 million project. The ordinance will be up for final approval next month.
Both projects would create jobs for city residents and provide work for minority tradespeople. In addition, Sleepy Hollow Developers promise $10,000 annually for events in nearby Plainwood Square Park, as well as year-round maintenance of the park. The West End developer offered to pay for improvements at Hannah Atkins Community Center.
Sleepy Hollow Developers received Planning Board approvals in August, but the West End proposal needs land use approvals as well as amendment of a redevelopment plan that includes the site.
After the meeting, Terborg told Plaintalker he sees a better climate now for development that he finds very refreshing. Good collaboration "bodes well for developers," he said.
Two council members raised challenges. Councilwoman Vera Greaves said there were proposals for both ends of the city, but asked, "Is there anything for the downtown, for the middle of Plainfield?"
Although there is no single project of the same scale, a map of downtown development shows a lot going on.
Councilwoman Gloria Taylor pointed out the Sleepy Hollow Developers PILOT ordinance still has to pass on second reading.
"It's not over yet," she said.
The next City Council meeting is an agenda-fixing session at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Avenue. The regular meeting is 8 p.m. Dec. 14 in Municipal Court.