Mario Camino's vision for Park & Seventh
Developer Mario Camino agreed to do a Q&A on plans for his project at Park & Seventh as well as some thoughts on the city he has now made his home and headquarters for his company, Arkad Group. We hope to follow up with a longer interview soon.
Q. Besides the Planning Board approval you received in April 2015, what other approvals have you had to get?
A. The approval I got from the board was conditional. The biggest challenge from that point until now was to get an easement from the church next door.
Q. Your building largely covers the lot. Have you made any arrangements with the church next door for scaffolding, etc.?
A. Yes, mostly updating them on when things will happen so it doesn't interfere with their sessions. No weekend work. The site will also be fenced in and protected from debris.
Q. Are you still planning 14 apartments and commercial on the ground floor?
A. Yes, we have also come to an agreement with PPD to have a substation in the far right side of the East 7th side.
Q. When do you expect construction/rehabilitation to begin?
A. We are hoping to have building permits within 90 days.
Q. What is your general timeline for the project?
A. Nine months to one year.
Q. You now have your office and home in Plainfield. What are some of your thoughts about living in Plainfield (people, places, things)?
A. My family feels safe and happy. My daughter is excelling in QCA and we are happy to have our headquarters in town. Most of my tenants are my neighbors and slowly but surely we feel right at home. That being said, there is a lot of work to be done for the future, but I’m fully vested and committed. Being a local allows me to see and feel this city for its true value and potential.
Q. Any thoughts/concerns about the neighborhood at Park & Seventh?
A. Lots. It’s a very visible and busy corner. We want to make sure that this project serves as a means to bringing a new light to that section of town.. A more modern and vibrant feel. I believe eventually, the combination of upgraded living and proximity to a supermarket, train and restaurants, will help revitalize this area. We plan on doing exactly what we did with 107 Park. Reviving a “overlooked" corner of town. The way we see it, (it’s) one of the most important points of access into the city, on both streets. We want to make sure this project represents the new Plainfield.