Wednesday, August 31, 2016

City Block Attracts Developers

A developer wants to expand a former office furniture store on West Front Street for retail use and 15 apartments, according to a legal notice published today.

Moon Builder LLC will seek Planning Board approvals on Sept. 15 to add two stories to the existing 3-story Cooper's Office Furniture building for four retail units on the ground floor and 15 apartments on the four upper floors. The notice says 46 parking spaces are required by city ordinance, but the applicant proposes 15 spaces. The need can be satisfied by purchase of long-term parking spaces or by contributing for a public parking deck and no onsite parking is proposed, the notice states.

The building is in the Transit Oriented Development-Downtown zone, which allows for higher density than in other zones.

The Planning Board meeting is 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15 in City Hall Library, 515 Watchung Ave. The application and supporting documents are on file in the Planning Division on the second floor of City Hall and may be inspected between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

On the map of Block 247, Lot 2.01 is at upper left.

The block, which includes Municipal Parking Lot 9 and another city-owned parcel at the corner of West Second Street and Madison Avenue, is under study for redevelopment.
Meanwhile, developer Steve Cheung has purchased a former church building on the West Second Street side of the block. Cheung recently held a grand opening for 80 age-restricted apartments on Westervelt Avenue and is proposing a 20-unit apartment development on Garfield Avenue in the East Second Street Neighborhood Commercial District.



  1. Do we really need more apartments in Plainfield? And when they say "mixed retail," what do we get? Why is it always the same answer to development in the city. Does no one realize that it has never been the answer and has never brought about any true forward looking development?

  2. With all the new rental development we are destine to have a city full of renters with the tax burden on the homeowners. I’m sure this proposal includes a 15- 30 year PILOT. Including all new rental developments on the books I’m curious as to what percentage of the city population will be renters / homeowners?

    1. You seem to forget that the owners of the buildings with apartments pay taxes and that is included in each rent check. At least for those of us who pay rent that is not supported by public funding. Take away the property taxes landlords pay and Plainfield loses a big chunk of money.

  3. After seeing our downtown languish for decades, I am delighted to see developers taking an interest in putting apartments downtown. I don't think we would be losing much if the abandoned church in the photo were to disappear, and I don't think putting in apartments downtown is going to displace anyone from building single family houses downtown. The major asset that Plainfield does have downtown is our train station with (at least part of the time) a one-seat ride into NYC. We are not going to attract additional businesses downtown unless there are customers. It would be great if Plainfield residents living on the hill made more of an effort to support businesses downtown (or open businesses, for that matter), but that seems pretty unlikely. Most people would rather just sit back and complain.
    We will need a critical mass of people who live and participate in life in downtown Plainfield before things are going to change. Things will not turn around overnight, but we should be welcoming developers who are willing to take a risk and put their money into Plainfield. We can't put all our eggs in the Frank Cretella basket -- It is great to see other developers expressing interest (and actually completing projects) as well. In my view, it is about time!

  4. Here we have a thoughtful well expressed commentary subverted by the "people on the hill" insertion. A phrase that implies that "people on the hill" are at best elitists, at worst bigots. Having lived here for almost 60 years I can assert that neither is true of the population half way up, on top, or over the hill. When downtown had attractive shops, department stores, Grunings Ice Cream Parlor, 3 movies, Swain's, etc, it was a mecca for everyone; people in the valley, people up on the hill, even people from Westfield! Wow, can you imagine THOSE people coming here.We still patronize Pete's Fishmarket, a pleasant little Latino tailor shop, an occasional hot dog from the cafe that has been there since prehistoric times, and a newspaper store. What else is attractive? We do not patronize anyplace else not because of ethnic arrogance, rather, the 99 cent shops, clothing styles, little Latino bistros, and gift shops don't offer anything which is attractive to us. . I don't think we should apologize for our preferences. The apartments which are being built are bebeficial, however, I do not think they are attracting a commuter population that will change the character of the downtown. We need some upscale development that has "luxury apartments" that are really "luxury apartments". Bill Kruse

  5. When upscale Apartments were proposed for the Muhlenberg project those proposals were lambasted apparently because they were too close to upscale neighborhoods but when apartments are proposed for the downtown they are also looked upon negatively. Plainfield needs development, so stop complaining unless you want to put up some money to do something to change things in the community. Plainfield economy is dying for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is the obstructionist that complains about anything and everything that is proposed.