Author Topic: Area in Need of Rehabilitation  (Read 112943 times)

Offline Editor

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #30 on: January 08, 2013, 11:50:47 PM »
Hackensack approves State Street redevelopment
Tuesday, January 8, 2013    Last updated: Tuesday January 8, 2013, 11:22 PM
BY  HANNAN ADELY
STAFF WRITER
The Record

HACKENSACK The City Council gave unanimous final approval Tuesday night to a redevelopment plan for a portion of State Street designed to attract high-density residences and businesses.


AMY NEWMAN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The Hackensack City Council gives final approval for the State Street redevelopment.

The plan allows for mixed-use development with up to 230 residential units on several lots between Warren and Bergen streets. The approval is a key step in a larger plan to transform the citys downtown into a more modern shopping, work and living area, officials said.

Hopefully, this is the first step and the project that will kick off the overall Main Street development progress, Mayor Mike Melfi said. Were hoping for a quick shovel in the ground and to see others join quickly to move this redevelopment forward.

The plan calls for apartment or condominium buildings of up to six stories with specific amenities, including a fitness center, a common room on each floor, and rooftop perks with at minimum a fireplace or fire pit. The plan also allows for ground-floor storefront businesses.

The State Street redevelopment area now is home to a bank and gravel lots. Two vacant single-family homes that had been divided into several apartments and had empty ground-level commercial storefronts were demolished recently by the Building Department for safety reasons, officials said.

The State Street redevelopment plan is part of the Downtown Rehabilitation Plan that the city approved in June. That plan eased zoning, parking and other restrictions in a 39 block-area known as the city's Main Street corridor to encourage mixed-use development.

Its designed to encourage a contemporary brand of downtown development where people can live, work, shop and find entertainment, all a short distance from mass transit and in a pedestrian-friendly setting.

Councilwoman Karen Sasso, a trustee on the Main Street Business Alliance board, said the State Street plan would be the spark that will help other development and help realize dramatic change.

City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono said he has been talking regularly with developers interested in investing in the citys downtown. With the State Street approval in place, he said, developers and property owners can start submitting plans to the citys land-use boards. The new residences, he said, would support local businesses and make the area more valuable.

The plan can be found online at mainstreethackensack.com.

Email: adely@northjersey.com

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2013, 02:25:27 AM »
Rethinking Bergen County's suburban sprawl
Thursday, January 10, 2013    Last updated: Thursday January 10, 2013, 10:26 AM
BY  JAMES M. O'NEILL AND SCOTT FALLON
STAFF WRITERS
The Record

It's one thing to build a convenient, transit-oriented, environmentally friendly community from scratch, in undeveloped open space. But how do you do that in a place like North Jersey an already mature, built-out, highway-girded, mall-strewn landscape, a place developed in the post-World War II era, when everyone dreamed of escaping the city for their own detached home, patch of yard and personal mode of transit, the car?


STAFF FILE PHOTO
Neighborhoods northwest of Teterboro Airport typify North Jersey's pattern of housing development.

Not easily, not in a place that defines suburban sprawl.
 
Cultivating an alternative style of development in North Jersey one less dependent on the automobile and single-family houses may seem like a pipe dream. What's more, New Jersey is a "home rule" state, where local municipalities, and not regional entities like counties, control development.

But changes in the local landscape are slowly taking shape. Construction of high-density housing has outpaced single-family homes in Bergen County for about a decade, according to data from state building permits. And while construction of single-family houses is still greater in Passaic County, multifamily housing has begun to catch up.

This shift is part of an emerging national trend, with regional planners and suburban developers having begun to plan and build in ways that draw on many urban elements from American cities in the 1920s and 1930s. These communities rely less on cars and more on public transportation. They feature buildings that combine housing, retail and office space to encourage walkability, and design roads to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians, as well as cars.

Such development is often called sustainable because it reduces car emissions and uses land, drinking water, fossil fuels and other natural resources more efficiently. It also accommodates a lifestyle that some might consider more appealing: less time stuck in traffic, less isolation, easier access to amenities, a smaller carbon footprint.

These new developments have begun popping up in North Jersey, even though the vast majority of the region has already been built out in the typical car-centric suburban mode.

The two counties do have some characteristics, however, that help foster a more urban pattern of new development: public transit and long-shuttered industrial tracts near attractive amenities like the Manhattan skyline.

Factories and wharfs that once lined the Hudson River south of the George Washington Bridge have been replaced by thousands of new town houses and condominiums, in part because of expanded rail and ferry service. In Wood-Ridge, a huge mixed-use development is rising on the site of an old aircraft factory; it will include a new commuter train station to shuttle residents to Manhattan and other parts of New Jersey.

Another factor could drive this new, less sprawling kind of development here: the region's changing demographics. North Jersey is getting older and younger at the same time, and both groups are looking for the kinds of living arrangements that sustainable development provides.

"Researchers are finding the change in aspirations is already happening and developers are behind the curve," said Juliann Allison, associate director of the Center for Sustainable Suburban Development at the University of California-Riverside. "You find young people and seniors both are demanding denser communities."

Peter Kasabach, executive director of NJ Future, a non-profit group advocating efficient land use, agreed. "You have the millennials and the baby boomers really driving the market for different housing types," Kasabach said. "It's those market forces that are creating more walkable, more transit-oriented communities."

It makes sense. Young people today are less able than prior generations to afford a typical starter home with a yard and a car. And new empty nesters are realizing they no longer need the same space they once did and as they age they are more interested in being able to walk to get chores done.

"Given the new economies of housing, not all square footage is created equal," said Raphael Zucker, president of Somerset Development, which is building several New Jersey developments in what is often called the "new urbanism" mold. "Some people realize they only may use 2,000 of their 5,000-square-foot home, and they want something that's compact but more livable."

In Bergen County, the number of people aged 20 to 24 grew by 13 percent over the past decade, to 47,472. During the same period, the number of those aged 55 to 64 grew by 31 percent, to 114,526.

"These demographic shifts will continue and intensify the growing interest in this type of development," said David Behrend of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority.

But can North Jersey significantly address this demand for development that emphasizes walking over driving?

The region has several things going for it.

One is the existing network of mass transit, including two major commuter rail lines. On its face, this doesn't sound like a promising element, since the train lines were built primarily to get people from North Jersey to Manhattan, while today only 18 percent of Bergen residents commute to the city.

Still, the train hubs are a start, and could become even more vital if the region can develop one of the growing trends in transportation light rail or bus rapid transit. "Bus rapid transit is less expensive than rail and more flexible," said Behrend. "You can more easily change the route if you need to."

A bus rapid transit system often provides a dedicated lane on an existing highway or road shoulder for a bus, and the bus has technology to control stoplights so that it can keep going when car traffic is backed up, said Chris Helms, a supervising planner with Bergen County's planning department.

These alternative lines could provide more of the east-west movement the region lacks but desperately needs, since the bulk of residents now commute within the county to jobs and 85 percent of people drive to work.

Other transit-related improvements gaining traction in parts of the country that facilitate sustainable living are concepts known as "traffic calming" and "complete streets." The idea is to make downtown roadways more amenable to pedestrians and bikers, not just cars. Widening sidewalks at intersections and switching to angled parking instead of parallel parking on downtown streets can slow traffic. That makes it more pedestrian-friendly, enticing people to bike or walk while running errands rather than driving from store to store. And there's an added benefit reduced pollution.

"When you have a lot of stop-and-start driving, it's really bad in terms of pollution," Allison said.

By redeveloping around transit hubs, North Jersey could begin to provide the somewhat more urban lifestyle that many younger and older residents are looking for.

"There's no such thing as a silver bullet, but the closest thing is redevelopment around transit hubs in existing downtowns," said Robert Freudenberg, New Jersey director of the Regional Plan Association, which assists and advises planners in the New York metropolitan area. "The past may be the future for places like Hackensack and Englewood, if you can take the bones and build on them."

Randy Solomon, co-director of the Institute for Sustainability Planning & Governance at The College of New Jersey, agreed. "People now live in one suburb, work in another suburb and shop in another suburb," he said. "And they have to drive through five towns just to get to all of them. That is going to change."

Another asset North Jersey has in pursuit of such redevelopment is the many brownfields within older downtowns former industrial sites that are now vacant and polluted. Once cleaned up, they could offer some of the biggest expanses of land for new housing.

Municipalities will need to reassess their zoning laws in some cases to allow for multi-use development around downtown transit hubs, experts say. Because New Jersey is a home-rule state, town councils and planning boards separated by only a few miles can have wildly different visions for their municipalities. Regional planning is scarce, with the 14-town Meadowlands Commission the only example in North Jersey.

That micro-zoning approach has encouraged the sort of less sustainable development that dominates in North Jersey, some experts and developers say. Because the zoning and permit process "can be so rancorous, developers often end up building little projects that are just small enough to squeeze by," said Zucker of Somerset Development. "So you end up with a hodgepodge of developments. You don't get good master planning. In New Jersey, home rule has been the bane of proper planning."

Another obstacle is more psychological. Beginning after World War II, hundreds of thousands of war veterans and their new families moved from cramped apartments in New York, Newark, Jersey City and Hoboken in search of suburban living in Bergen and Passaic counties. People "fled the urban centers for greener pastures the house with a yard," said Donna Orbach, a project manager with the Bergen County planning department.

The demand for traditional suburban living will surely remain strong, but more options are likely to be offered in the future. "The single-family house is not dead," Kasabach said. "There's always a segment that wants it. The problem is we've been building only for that segment for the last 50 years."

A prime example of the fledgling trend toward a more dense, less car-centered style of development built on an old vacant brownfield and centered around a transit hub is going up on Passaic Street in Wood-Ridge.

Wesmont Station is a huge 1,000-unit complex of condominiums, apartments and town houses, with plans for some detached single-family homes as well. The project, by Zucker's Somerset Development, will cover more than a third of the 151-acre site of the former Curtiss Wright aircraft factory. The complex is a model of "new urbanism," with sidewalks and plazas, stores on the ground floor of four-story buildings and community ball fields that children can walk or bike to. All 266 rentals units in the development's two finished buildings have been leased.

Anchoring all this will be a new commuter rail station to be built on NJ Transit's Bergen County line; it is scheduled to open by late this year, with 800 daily riders expected by 2015."It's building on this concept of a pedestrian lifestyle, creating the kinds of communities that were more common before the 1950s and 1960s, where streets are narrower, houses have front porches and face pedestrian walkways, and people might have one car just for weekend use," Zucker said.

His company worked with the design firm of Duany Plater-Zyberg and Co., which has designed more than 300 new and existing communities and is known for embracing the concepts of new urbanism.

Zucker said his company started out years ago doing the typical "suburban sprawl"-style developments. "But I noticed we were isolating everybody, and you've got to go everywhere to get anything, and then you sit in traffic on the way," he said.

Zucker thinks the new urbanists are on to something. "There's definitely going to be a lot more mixed-use pockets," he said, "a lot more urbanity in suburban environments."

Email: fallon@northjersey.com and oneillj@northjersey.com
_________________________________
[Different section of same article in The Record]:

Picture Bergen County with 350,000 additional people, two more highways that cut across its communities and a smattering of tiny airports dotting the Meadowlands.
 
Those were some of the assumptions and recommendations made by officials in the early 1960s when they last revised the county's Master Plan.
 
A half-century later, planners are in the home stretch of modifying the document. Drafts are on track to go to the county executive and freeholders for comment within the next few months; the drafts will then be posted online for public review. They will include recommendations for sustainable growth like transit villages, more efficient bus lines and streets designed for bicycles, wheelchairs and public transportation.
 
Those are rather modest proposals compared with the 1962 Master Plan and its amendments made several years later. It called for a number of changes that came to fruition, such as a better connection between Route 4 and the Garden State Parkway, and having one agency control all commuter railroads.
 
But a number of proposed "improvements" never materialized. Here are a few:
 
* The county's population had hit 780,000 by 1960, almost doubling in the three decades after the George Washington Bridge opened. Planners believed the boom would slow, but still projected 1.25 million residents by 1980. That never happened for a number of reasons: More open space was saved rather than developed, and high housing prices pushed population growth elsewhere in New Jersey. Bergen reached its peak in 2010, with 905,000 residents.
 
* The plan's authors were eager for Bergen County to become an aviation hub. The plan called for more airports in the Meadowlands south of Teterboro Airport, because air travel "may well become a controlling factor in future development of the county." Today, local leaders and residents are fighting to decrease the number of jets flying to and from Teterboro, which morphed from an airstrip to one of the busiest small airports in the nation. Noise pollution from screaming jet engines and the possibility of a crash in a densely developed suburb are the two chief complaints.
 
* The plan also supported the "North-South Limited Access Highway" a highway that would start at Newark Airport and head north through the Meadowlands. It would then follow the current CSX train line through Teaneck to Northvale, and over the Rockland County border to link up with the New York State Thruway. The plan assumed that it would help business development in the Meadowlands and provide an alternative to Route 17 and the Parkway.
 
* It also supported an East-West highway through northern Bergen County, a proposal that was being studied at the time by the State Highway Department, but never materialized.
 
* The plan set a goal to expand the Bergen County parks system to 9,500 acres; the county is still about 1,000 acres short of that goal.
 
Email: fallon@northjersey.com and oneillj@northjersey.com

« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 02:29:47 AM by Editor »

Offline Editor

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #32 on: January 15, 2013, 08:42:53 PM »
Wednesday Winners (& Losers)
by Tri-State Transportation Campaign
A weekly roundup of good deeds, missteps, heroic feats and epic failures in Tri-State transportation news.

Winners

Hackensacks City Council approved a plan to bring higher-density, mixed-used development to downtown.

Hackensack, New Jersey Billy Joel doesnt know what hes talking about. Who needs a house out in Hackensack when you can have a brand new downtown apartment instead?  Hackensacks City Council unanimously approved a plan that would change zoning to allow higher-density mixed-use development on a section of State Street that is currently dominated by vacant buildings and gravel lots. The plan is a key component in the revitalization of downtown Hackensack and sits within walking distance of two NJ Transit stations.

Offline Edwin

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #33 on: January 16, 2013, 12:40:09 AM »
I'll read the articles eventully, but meantime anybody got a summary?
State street from where to where?

Offline BLeafe

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #34 on: January 16, 2013, 09:04:43 AM »
Sorry, your highness, but you'll have to read the articles like the rest of us.

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Offline Homer Jones

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2013, 09:29:20 AM »
I believe that Barnes and  Noble has the Cliffs Notes summary available  or you could check the availability on Amazon.

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #36 on: January 18, 2013, 02:30:03 PM »
Hackensack council finalizes State Street redevelopment approval
Friday, January 18, 2013
BY  JENNIFER VAZQUEZ
NEWS EDITOR
Hackensack Chronicle

HACKENSACK After months of consideration and approval of the initial stages, the city council unanimously gave the final stamp of approval to a redevelopment plan that involves a section of State Street.

The plan is designed to attract business and up-scale, high-density residences, aimed at commuters, according to officials.

Though the council has approved this plan in meetings over the last couple of months, the Jan. 8 vote finalizes the approval.

Now that the council gave its final approval, the next step is "to choose a developer and enter a redevelopment agreement," City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono said.

The State Street Redevelopment Plan calls for a six-story residential building to be built on the lots on State Street and the one lot on Warren Street.

The plan also includes requirements for a number of amenities, with a minimum of "a fireplace or fire-pit and specialty stone paving hardscape for the residents. (A rooftop pool is optional)," according to the proposed State Street plan.

According to the city planner, Francis Reiner of the firm DMR Architects, the State Street redevelopment plans residential building will will house a minimum of 136 units and a maximum of 230 units.

The plan also states that each residential floor must include "a minimum of one common room (excluding laundry)" and "a fitness center of not less than 750 square feet."

According to the previous meetings, the State Street Redevelopment is the first substantial residential development in Hackensacks downtown district in over three decades.

Lo Iacono said that the city has received interest by various developers.

"There is interest," he said. "One developer in particular, who controls the property, has showed great interest."

The fact that an interested potential developer controls the property, "does not necessarily mean that they will be given the redevelopment contract," according to Lo Iacono. However, he did say, that this fact does give the developer "a heads up."

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #37 on: January 21, 2013, 10:41:32 AM »
Hackensack's reawakening
City overhauls planning guidelines to attract visitors, growth
By Joshua Burd
NJBIZ
January 21, 2013
 
More than half of Bergen County's 70 municipalities have traditional downtowns, but of all of them, only Hackensack's has no two-way traffic in its main business corridor.


Stephen Lo Iacono, city manager, Hackensack, said zoning changes aim to revive downtown businesses.
AARON HOUSTON

Correcting that is just one part of the vision that business and civic leaders have to reawaken Hackensack's depressed downtown. Those ideas such as major zoning changes and relaxed parking rules are the culmination of years of brainstorming and months overhauling the city's planning guidelines to make the 160-acre district surrounding Main Street an attractive corridor to residents and visitors.

Earlier this month, the city council approved a redevelopment plan for a site on State Street, clearing the way for a project with up to 230 apartment units. It's the first significant residential project in the downtown in a long time, said Francis Reiner, the DMR Architects consultant who helped develop the overall rehabilitation plan.

"It really shows the first concrete evidence that the efforts the city has gone through over the past year and a half are coming to fruition," he said. "You now have a developer who is putting a stake in the ground and is going to build residential projects in the downtown."

But the Hackensack rehabilitation plan is deeper than wholesale redevelopment, its advocates say. Its origins lie with the small businesses that make up the downtown, and a key goal is to help them revitalize their properties, Reiner said.

To meet their objectives, planners for the Bergen County seat have tried to follow the path of other municipalities that have transformed themselves in recent decades, such as New Brunswick, Jersey City and Morristown.

"It wasn't all that long ago 15, 20 years ago that those downtowns were failing and needed some help, and they implemented many of these types of programs," said city manager Stephen Lo Iacono. "And they've all succeeded in a relatively short period of time."

One of the key concepts borrowed by Hackensack is the creation of a "pre-application concept review committee," allowing developers to meet with city professionals earlier in the process, said Nancy A. Kist, a redevelopment attorney who has been advising Hackensack. She said the city wanted to "get past the type of relationship where developers put a lot of time and money in, and only get a 'no.' "

A similar approach has been fruitful in New Brunswick for at least two decades, said Glenn Patterson, its director of planning, community and economic development. Known there as a technical advisory committee, it allows the Hub City's experts to work on issues that "don't get handled real well in front of a board of laymen."

"To the general guy on the street, it doesn't sound like that big of a deal," Patterson said. "But you certainly hear the war stories going on in some other communities, where an application takes three, four, five, six hearings to get through a planning board or zoning board, just because they're going through every little detail."

Hackensack has taken other critical steps, starting with the forms used in the application process. It has reduced parking ratios, implemented architectural and neighborhood design standards for development, and is converting one-way streets to two-way streets. In the realm of zoning, the city created a two-tier system that allows owners of all lots to build up to five stories, while owners of larger parcels that meet a square footage threshold can build up to 14 stories. Under another zoning change, an owner can convert any existing first-floor space to a restaurant without adding parking spaces.

The plan is key to helping the district connect to the city's anchors, like Hackensack University Medical Center, its higher education institutions and government offices. Lo Iacono hopes the Atlantic Street corridor, which includes the hospital, will see new development "as kind of a corollary effect to what's going to go on at Main Street."

Mark Sparta, Hackensack UMC's vice president and senior operations officer, said a revitalized downtown with new residential and retail development can complement its own plans, such as the expansion of its academic offerings and its movement toward secondary medical services, like oncology.

"I think you're really going to see an opportunity here to maximize the synergies," Sparta said. "Traditionally hospitals and the communities that they reside in have had symbiotic relationships."

Reaching the point of being "shovel-ready" in Hackensack has been a lengthy saga for the downtown business community. Around 10 years ago, after the city's zoning had been outdated for decades, merchants formed the Hackensack Upper Main Alliance and later set out to overhaul the downtown.

City officials with a similar goal joined forces with the group and its consultants about two years ago, culminating in the June 2012 rehabilitation plan that covered 389 properties across 160 acres. Jerry Lombardo, chairman of the Upper Main Alliance, said while the current conditions are not ideal for kicking off Hackensack's renaissance, stakeholders are eagerly looking to the future.

"Unfortunately, we're in a very difficult economy right now for development," Lombardo said. "But I also think now is a great time to set the table so that as the economy starts to perk up, people are going to look for places to do projects. And we're going to be ready."

E-mail to: joshb@njbiz.com
On Twitter: @JoshBurdNJ

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #38 on: March 01, 2013, 11:24:01 AM »
Hackensack redevelopment plan reintroduced and passed, again
Friday, March 1, 2013
BY  JENNIFER VAZQUEZ
NEWS EDITOR
Hackensack Chronicle

After approving the State Street Redevelopment Plan on Jan. 8, only to have it reintroduced weeks later for a revote, the Hackensack City Council, moved to pass the resolution.

The latest vote took place during the Feb. 19 meeting after it was determined that the initial public meeting on the property was not properly advertised. To avoid any issues, the council decided to give due notice to the public and revote on the development plan.

State law requires that officials give due notice to residents in the official newspaper before the date of the public hearing.

According to City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono, the plan was reintroduced based on "the issue of [the meeting] not being advertised correctly."

The State Street Redevelopment Plan calls for a six story residential building built on the lots on State Street and the one lot on Warren Street.

Requirements for a number of amenities, with the potential of, at minimum, "a fireplace or fire-pit and specialty stone paving hardscape for the residents. (A rooftop pool is optional)," are proposed within the State Street plan.

According to City planner Francis Reiner of the firm DMR Architects, the State Street redevelopment plan's residential building will house a minimum of 136 units and a maximum of 230 units.

According to the previous meetings, the State Street Redevelopment will be the first substantial residential development in Hackensack's downtown district in over three decades.

During the latest vote, the council, once again, expressed its optimism that this plan could initiate the complete transformation of the city's downtown.

"I'm happy we finally approved [the State Street Redevelopment Plan]," Councilman Jorge Meneses said. "One day, I can walk down Main Street with my granddaughter and tell her how it all started."

Councilwoman Karen Sasso was also happy with the decision.

"We have received a lot of interest from developers based on the redevelopment plan," she said. "It is a very exciting time."

Mayor Michael Melfi said that the plan will allow for more opportunities within the city.

"Creating a new Main Street will offer a lot of opportunities for [Hackensack residents]," he said. "It will make the whole city stronger."

Email: vazquez@northjersey.com or call 201-894-6708

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #39 on: March 05, 2013, 11:49:01 AM »
Hackensack leaders see hope in downtown apartment project
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 7:26 AM
BY  HANNAN ADELY
STAFF WRITER
The Record

HACKENSACK City leaders who have rallied in recent years for downtown rehabilitation are seeing the first fruits of their efforts with plans for a proposed five-story, 222-unit building on State Street.


AMY NEWMAN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
A Pequannock company bought all the properties in the State Street redevelopment area for a five-story, 222-unit building. The apartment building, called Meridia State, would draw people to the downtown, boost local business, and help usher in a wider downtown revival, officials and business leaders said.

"This is a very, very significant move for the city and we think once this project gets under way, it will probably be the catalyst we need," City Mananger Stephen Lo Iacono said.

Capodagli Property Co. of Pequannock has proposed building the apartments under its Meridia brand, marketed as modern and luxury living at affordable prices. The City Council paved the way for the project last month when it approved a redevelopment plan for a portion of State Street between Warren and Bergen streets to allow mixed-use development with up to 230 residential units.

The council will consider two more ordinances, to be introduced tonight, to designate Meridia Metro as the redeveloper and to approve a payment in lieu of taxes agreement.

The Pompton Plains developer has been in talks with the city about the project for several months and has purchased all the properties in the State Street redevelopment area. All but one of the structures, a drive-through bank branch, has been demolished.

Developer George Capodagli was out of town and unavailable for comment for this story. A project manager did not respond to emails.

The building would feature 86 one-bedroom units and 136 two-bedroom units. The developer could appear before the city Planning Board as early as April, Lo Iacono said.

The developer has Meridia residences in Rahway and Wallington. Another is being built in West New York and one was proposed for Bound Brook.

Meridia's website and brochure highlights perks such as Wi-Fi, onsite storage, outdoor terraces and gathering lounges on each floor. They're also marketed as green buildings that are close to public transportation.

Meridia would be the first project since the city adopted its Downtown Rehabilitation Plan in June, which eased zoning, parking and other restrictions in a 39-block area known as the Main Street corridor to make it easier for developers to build downtown.

Company representatives met last week with city officials to resolve early questions in its application. The pre-application meeting is a new tool the city is using to speed up the review process and make it easier and less expensive.

Councilwoman Karen Sasso, a member of the Pre-Application Review Committee, said the Meridia project fit the city's vision of a modern downtown where people can live, work, shop and find entertainment.

"I think this particular builder his target audience is young professionals and that certainly will bring some vibrancy to the area," she added.

That was echoed by Jerome Lombardo, CEO of a commercial real estate firm in the city and chairman of the Upper Main Alliance, a Hackensack business association. He believes the city has appeal as home to the county seat and a large regional hospital; because of public transportation and highway access; and because of the quicker, easier applications process.

He hoped the new residences would invigorate downtown business, drawing more customers and attracting shops and restaurants.

"The business district downtown is glad to see a project of this magnitude," he said.

Lo Iacono said developers have been calling and meeting to ask about building opportunities in the city's downtown. He said talks with Capodagli began after a developers' breakfast in September that showcased the city's rehabilitation efforts.

More promotion for the city is under way. On Friday, a panel representing the city spoke about the city's revitalization model at the annual New Jersey Future Redevelopment Forum. The same panel will present at the quarterly meeting of the New Jersey Real Estate Lenders Association on March 21 in Hackensack.

"Once the spade is in the ground on this first project," Lo Iacono said, "I think there'll be even more momentum building toward development."

Email: adely@northjersey.com

Offline irons35

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #40 on: March 05, 2013, 08:37:41 PM »
approve a payment in lieu of taxes agreement..


how long and how much?  I'm sure it will be more than what is paid on the property now, but what about the long term.

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #41 on: March 05, 2013, 09:01:10 PM »
The PILOT term was 30 years, with an adjustment to be determined after 7 years. 

It was approved at tonight's meeting.  I think the PILOT was something like $1200 per unit or $276,000 for the first 7 years.  Currently, taxes on that parcel are under $80,000. Regina or Victor can correct my numbers which are based on memory.

The PILOT was approved unanimously.  The rationale is to incentive those taking risks early on. There would not likely be a project on this site otherwise. This site has been blighted for years.

I will try to get better numbers if no one else provides them. 

Offline Editor

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #42 on: March 05, 2013, 11:42:35 PM »
My numbers were a little off.  See below. Also, the introduction of the PILOT ordinance was approved unanimously, not the final adoption.
_____________________________

Hackensack council advances plans for 222-unit apartment building on State Street
Tuesday March 5, 2013, 10:29 PM
BY  HANNAN ADELY
STAFF WRITER
The Record

HACKENSACK The City Council is taking steps to approve parking and financial agreements to make it easier for a North Jersey developer to build a 222-unit apartment building downtown.

The council introduced ordinances on Tuesday night to designate Meridia Metro Urban Renewal as the redeveloper of a portion of State Street, and to allow a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement and parking lease for the project, to be called Meridia State. City officials say the incentives are needed to make it viable, and to pave the way for the first development in a part of downtown that the council has marked for rehabilitation.

Meridia, a subsidiary of Capodagli Property Co. of Pequannock, plans to construct a six-story building including a ground-floor garage with 141 spots and five floors of one- and two-bedroom apartments. The project, between Warren and Bergen streets, will cost an estimated $19.2 million.

One ordinance would name Meridia as the redeveloper for 90 days, during which the company and city can negotiate a redevelopment agreement.

The council is also weighing a change to the citys code to allow the leasing of municipal parking lots and garages, and to approve one such agreement with Meridia. Under the agreement, the developer would lease 120 non-assigned parking spaces in the Atlantic Street Parking Garage for its residents at a cost of $64,800 annually for the first five years, with increases in years to follow.

Another proposed ordinance would offer a 30-year tax abatement on the State Street property. For the first six years, the developer would pay either $1,200 per unit for a total of $266,400, or 2 percent of the total project cost, whichever is greater.

The payment would increase incrementally over the remaining years of the agreement.

In years seven to 11, the developer would pay the greatest among those two options and a third option 20 percent of the property taxes that otherwise would have to be paid. In subsequent years, the third option would grow to 40 percent, then 60 percent and then 80 percent in the final eight years.

If the City Council approves the tax abatement agreement, as expected, it will go to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs for final authorization.

The city now gets less than $80,000 in taxes for the properties in the State Street redevelopment area, said City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono. All the properties have been bought by Meridia, which is bracing to build soon.

On its application, the developer estimates that construction could start in June if approvals are in place by then, and would run until January 2015.

Meridia would be the first project to break ground since the city adopted its Downtown Rehabilitation Plan in June. The plan eased zoning, parking and other restrictions in a 39-block area known as the Main Street corridor to make it easier for developers to build downtown.

Last month, the council designated part of State Street as an area in need of redevelopment to allow a mixed-use project with up to 230 residential units.

Council members said they were willing to offer incentives and to compromise on taxes in a bid to transform the run-down block.

We want to spark redevelopment, Mayor Michael Melfi said. This person is willing to take a chance and develop in this area.

Councilwoman Karen Sasso said she hoped it would build momentum for all of the citys Main Street corridor.

Once this gets built and completed, she said, I think more people will come in here over time and look to make an investment in the community.

Email: adely@northjersey.com
« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 11:45:53 PM by Editor »

Offline regina

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #43 on: March 06, 2013, 05:34:56 AM »
"Another proposed ordinance would offer a 30-year tax abatement on the State Street property. For the first six years, the developer would pay either $1,200 per unit for a total of $266,400, or 2 percent of the total project cost, whichever is greater." from today's article

The developer will be paying more than the current taxes. You have to start somewhere and this is a good start.

Offline just watching

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #44 on: March 06, 2013, 04:03:18 PM »
I agree with Regina on this one.  How about that. 

When I lived in Hackensack I always wondered how people in other towns look at Hackensack compared to other cities. Now that I live elsewhere, I don't need to ask.  I see it. It's obvious.  Downtown Hackensack is considered SAFE and CLEAN, compared to other cities in NJ.  Newark and Paterson come to mind.  Hackensack really is a great place to build and invest.

Once this catalyst project is actively under construction, others will follow in the downtown area.  They will follow because Hackensack is safe and clean, and they see that Hackensack has become THE place to build.  And that city government is friendly towards building, so long as big things are proposed where the city wants them built.  And that is the key.