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Thread: Edison Village -West Orange

  1. #1

    Default Edison Village -West Orange

    Edison complex set for $250M project

    Work ready to start at West Orange site
    Friday, April 11, 2008 BY KEVIN C. DILWORTH
    Star-Ledger Staff

    The vast West Orange factory complex where inventor Thomas Edison's employees once made storage batteries for light delivery vehicles, automobiles, railroad signals, industrial applications and mining equipment is ready to undergo a $250 million transformation.

    The Portland cement and steel buildings that once made up the Edison Storage Battery Factory -- the Main Street facility adjacent to the Edison invention factory, now run by the U.S. Park Service as the Edison National Historic Site and Museum -- are getting redeveloped into upscale condominiums, townhouses, luxury penthouses and flats.

    Edison Village -- 620 residential one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, 18,000 square feet of retail space, and a pre-fabricated 630-space parking deck-- is about to be born in downtown West Orange and integrated into the suburban community's landscape.

    After 18 months of planning and discussion, Prism Green Associates IV, a Delaware LLC affiliated with the Prism Capital Partners real es tate and investment firm in Engle wood, and Greenfield Partners, a Norwalk, Conn., private partnership that specializes in real estate and related investments, is two weeks away from starting the first phase of its five-year-long project.

    "I have said before, that you just don't simply invest a quarter of a billion dollars in a building, you invest in a community," Eugene Diaz, a Prism co-developer, told a crowd of about 200 people last night at a ceremonial groundbreak ing on the 4.45-acre site.

    "And around the state, we see no municipality better positioned or more worthy to receive a project of this size, stature and importance than West Orange," Diaz said.

    The site is bordered by Main Street on the west, Lakeside Ave nue on the north, Ashland Avenue on the east, and Charles on the south.

    When Phase One is completed late next year, the initial 310 market-rate residences, like the rest of the Edison Village planned community, will serve as a model of redevelopment for the state and its residents, Diaz said.

    Mayor John McKeon and Councilman John Skarbnik agreed.

    "The residential construction will help to boost property values throughout the neighborhood, and the retail development is expected to generate approximately $10 million of additional annual spending," McKeon said.

    Edison Village will not only create "a little oasis" downtown but solidify "the rebirth of the township," Councilman John Skarbnik said.

    Passers-by will soon see demolition and environmental remedia tion efforts under way, followed by the construction of the pre-fabricated, four-level parking deck, and the Main Street retail stores with residences above them.

    Demolition will start in about two weeks on a 1 1/2-story building, an adjacent four-story building, some connecting walkways, and two elevator shafts of another building being transformed into condominium lofts, said Bob Gib son, Prism's senior vice president for construction.

    Immediately afterward and through the summer, all the as phalt and old underground foundations off Main and Charles streets will be removed, a massive excava tion will begin for the parking deck, and foundations will be laid for it, as well as for the planned Main Street stores with residences above them, Gibson said.

    "Once the garage is up, we can begin the above-grade-level retail and residences," Gibson said.

    The exterior historic character of the remaining five-, six- and seven-story battery factory struc tures will be emphasized during the redevelopment effort. The buildings' insides will be gutted, and the shabby-looking and mismatched Portland cement exterior will be repaired and restored to its original salmonlike color, Gibson said.

    The old battery facility, constructed in various phases between 1909 and 1914, was where hundreds of people found work, especially in the 1920s, when an estimated 800 employees worked there, according to Leonard DeGraff, the Edison National Historic Site's archivist.
    The battery factory ceased operation in 1965.

    The complex eventually became known as the Thomas Edison In vention Factory and Commerce Center -- an entity with no affilia tion with the Edison National Historic Site -- and the home of several commercial businesses.

  2. #2

    Default Edison Village

    Edison Village
    West Orange, NJ

    The Project, which is the largest non-waterfront redevelopment project in New Jersey, is located in the Downtown Redevelopment Area of West Orange encompassing an area of approximately 21 acres and is located in southwestern corner of West Orange. This area is bounded to the northwest by the historic Llewellyn Park sub-division and to the southeast by the City of Orange.

    The master plan, is comprised of 610 residential housing units, new retail construction, and a 640 space parking facility, that is anticipated to be executed in three (3) phases. Construction is scheduled to commence during the first quarter 2008.

    The first phase of the project is highlighted by the adaptive reuse of the Historic Thomas Edison Battery Building and will contain approximately 310 residential units. This phase will include upscale loft condominiums, town-homes, flats and newly constructed penthouses and will garner LEED certification (the nationally recognized green building rating system). Residents will have access to private amenities which include a fitness center, lap pool, personal storage, and doorman service. In addition, approximately 18,000 square feet of convenience retail (shops, restaurants, etc.) will be sited on the corner of Charles Street and along Main Street which will provide current and future township residents with a new in-town shopping experience.

    The second and third phase(s) of the project will consist largely of town homes: tri-level, stacked units, as well as multi story loft units, and single family homes. Units are expected to range in size from 900-2,300 square feet and will consist of a broad unit mix including one, two and three bedroom units. Prism is also assisting the Township with meeting its COAH (Council on Affordable Housing) obligation by providing more than 70 low-moderate income housing units.

    This complicated redevelopment includes more than $40 million in non-recourse Redevelopment Area Bonds. These bonds are tied to a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement. This arrangement provides substantial benefits to both the Township as well as individual homeowners whose property taxes will be substantially reduced for a 25 year period.

    The redevelopment of the Historic Thomas Edison Building, the construction of the parking garage, and downtown retail shopping will begin in the spring of 2008 and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2009. Complete project build out is anticipated by the fall of 2013.

  3. #3

    Default Reinvention on Main Street

    Digital Vision

    CHANGING HISTORY The $230 million Edison Village project in West Orange will have about 620 residential units, stores and a parking garage. Some condominiums will be in the factory building at the far left, which was built 95 years ago and used by Thomas Edison.


    Published: April 6, 2008
    West Orange

    ON a 21-acre property along Main Street here, where Thomas Edison once presided over his Invention Factory and Commerce Center, Mayor John McKeon indulged in a little ribbing of a developer who will reinvent the site as a residential and retail project.

    “Gee, Ed,” the mayor said to Edwin H. Cohen of Prism Capital Partners, “you paid, what, about $45 million for this?” Mr. McKeon gestured at a collection of concrete buildings pocked with missing chunks of facade and broken windows. “What a deal,” he said, rolling his eyes and chortling.

    Mr. Cohen laughed genially right along with him. “Hey, you’re on the hook for this, too,” the developer said.

    The $230 million Edison Village redevelopment project is a public-private undertaking, proceeding under the town’s plan and tied to a $52 million bond sale and an agreement that the developer would be making payments in lieu of taxes.

    Work will begin this week on the first phase of Edison Village, which ultimately is to have about 620 residences. They will be created by converting a huge old structure that closed in 1965 as a battery factory and has served as a home to dozens of small businesses since then; demolishing two smaller structures; and building a parking garage with town homes around its exterior walls. In addition, 18,000 square feet of shops will be built along Main Street and around the corner on Charles Street.

    The 95-year-old four-story battery factory is to be renovated and rebuilt into loft condominiums. It will get a new top floor with 28 two-bedroom penthouse units with dens, glassed-in terraces and patio space.
    Residents of the lofts and town homes — and of the condo apartments that are to be built in the project’s second phase — will have access to a community fitness center, an outdoor pool, personal storage and doorman service, said Eugene R. Diaz, who is Mr. Cohen’s partner at Prism, based in Englewood, N.J.

    Prices have not yet been set for the 316 condos to be created in the first phase of construction, Mr. Diaz said. But a sales office will open at the site by the end of the year, marketing units ranging in size from 700-foot studios to the 2,300-square-foot penthouses. The first units should be available for occupancy by the fall of 2009, Mr. Diaz said.

    The developers expect that the entire first phase, which will also include the Shoppes at Edison Village, the 630-space garage and parks and open space, should be finished by the end of 2010.

    It has taken a decade to get to this point, Mr. McKeon said. He recalled the initial hearings on whether to create a redevelopment area in the southeastern corner of town as the most emotional public sessions he had ever witnessed. The proposal involved a parcel bordered variously by streets of modest two-family homes, the historic gated Llewellyn Park neighborhood, the town boundary with the city of Orange and several salvage yards.

    “People were concerned that this part of town would be overwhelmed — that it would be obliterated,” said Mr. McKeon, who was elected mayor in 1998 shortly before the hearings. The mayor previously served as a council member, and since 2002, he has also been a state assemblyman.
    Several developers who were interested in the project at the start envisioned clearing out 40 acres for redevelopment, which would have wiped out hundreds of homes, Mr. McKeon said.

    West Orange has few stores and restaurants along its Main Street, and prospective developers proposed creating a new downtown heavily weighted toward retailing.

    In 2001, Prism, which had been newly formed by Mr. Cohen and Mr. Diaz, two veteran developers, entered the picture with a vision of a mixed-use community. It proposed to recycle the Edison factory — which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places — as distinctive apartments with an industrial flavor. The lofts are to have 14- to 16-foot ceilings and 10-foot-tall windows.

    Mr. Cohen said historic regulations requires that original window dimensions and framing be precisely reproduced. Also, he said, 44 percent of the exterior concrete requires repair, and Prism has had a team of experts working for almost a year on issues related to doing the work with historical accuracy.
    Prism has secured a number of historical artifacts that will be reused here. An antique Victrola produced in one of the Edison factories here occupies a corner of the Prism office in Englewood, for instance. But it will be moved back to Edison Village, probably as a lobby ornament — and possibly a source of background music, since some original recordings survived with the record player, the developers said.

    Mr. Cohen said Prism paid the former owner of the property “a very handsome price” — he did not contradict the mayor’s guess of $45 million — because the factory building is integral to creating a vital new neighborhood.

    “We see the opportunity here to do something really great,” said his partner, Mr. Diaz, “to go into an area that has been neglected so long and create a tremendously exciting downtown with attractive new residences, plus a retail area that will generate an expected $10 million in spending per year.”
    He continued, “These opportunities don’t come along but once in a very long while.”

    When fully realized, the development will also be unusual just for its size. The developers describe the project as the largest “adaptive reuse” effort taking place in New Jerseyexcept for certain projects in towns on the west side of the Hudson River.

  4. #4

    Default Orange, West Orange moving on condo redevelopment project

    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    Star-Ledger Staff

    Plans are slowly unfolding to finally redevelop the former Harvard Press commercial site along the Orange-West Orange border into 228 market-rate condominiums.

    To encourage the improvement of the blighted 4-acre site off Central Avenue and Jefferson Street, the Orange City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on introducing a measure that would grant a 20-year tax abatement to the developers.

    The proposed action comes exactly one week after a majority of the Orange governing body's counterparts, members of the West Orange Township Council, introduced a measure to designate the 1 1/2-acre portion of the property in West Orange as in need of redevelopment.

    Orange already has given that designation to the 2 1/2 acres within its borders, including the 21 buildings and property that once comprised the now-defunct and adjoin ing Monroe Calculating Machine Co. complex.
    The support of the governing bodies and planning boards in both towns is needed for the Central Valley Redevelopment Plan, the name given the project, to move forward, Valerie Jackson, Orange's assistant director of community development, said yesterday.

    "The community is eager to see this redevelopment take place," said Marty Mayes, Orange's economic development director.

    The proposal is being made by Harvard Development Urban Renewal Associates, an LLC composed of the Alpert Group of Fort Lee and the nonprofit Housing and Neighborhood Development Services agency, on South Essex Ave nue in Orange.

    There is a cautionary note, though, said Mayes. "Without this tax abatement, it's unlikely that the project will move forward," Mayes said.

    If the project does move for ward, Orange would see 128 new condominium units come onto its tax rolls, and West Orange will get another 100 units added to the township's tax base, said Joseph Alpert, one of the co-developers, with the Alpert Group.

    Some units in two planned buildings will be set aside for artists who will live and work in the one- and two-bedroom residences, Alpert said.

    Also, the East Fork of the Rah way River -- now mostly hidden from view and redirected through concrete ducts -- will be realigned to its original north-to-south flow and be part of some park land, said co-developer Patrick Morrissy, founder and executive director of HANDS.

    "Orange's redevelopment of this site will be a factor in stabilizing property taxes, bringing new in come levels into the town, and pumping new residential life into the Valley neighborhood," Mayes said.

  5. #5


    Update: Demo began earlier this week.


  6. #6


    This is the demo in West Orange, making room for Condos and Townhouses
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  8. #8


    At least this one retains most of the old buildings. They are here as seen in Google Maps.!3m1!1e3

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