As its name suggests, New Jersey Railroad Avenue in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood is situated alongside the train tracks used by New Jersey Transit, Amtrak, and PATH. For over a century, this block that runs southwest of Newark Penn Station in the East Ward has largely been an industrial corridor, with manufacturing and warehousing operations occupying buildings on the east side of the street. However, with the construction of ‘Bayonne box’ style homes at the southern end of the block over a decade ago, the current rehabilitation of a historic factory farther north into the Textile Lofts development, and the recent development of a five-story building, it is clear that this street is beginning to have more of a residential presence.
Now, a new proposal calls for a mixture of adaptively reusing an existing industrial building and constructing more stories on top of it. A legal notice shows that Benito Lopez filed an application with the Newark Zoning Board of Adjustment for this project, which is being proposed for 141-145 and 147 New Jersey Railroad Avenue. The development plans state that part of the first floor would be converted into parking and the upcoming four floors above would contain eight residential units each, for a total of 32 units in the building. No commercial space is being proposed as part of this development.
Lopez is seeking Preliminary and Final Site Plan Approval, according to the notice, with variances such as building type, insufficient shade trees, excessive lot size, insufficient lot area per dwelling unit, and use. The Newark Zoning Board of Adjustment was slated to hear this proposal on Jan. 25.
The existing industrial building in question includes two garages and has been occupied over the years by companies such as Newark Mold and Tool, Inc. and the American Metal Moulding Company.
In addition to these properties on New Jersey Railroad Avenue, NJ Parcels records show that Lopez owns tracts throughout the region. A few years ago, he proposed an 18-unit building in Montville, according to TAPinto.