157-Unit Adaptive Reuse and Expansion Project Proposed for Plainfield’s Former YMCA Site

512 24 Watchung Avenue Ymca Redevelopment Plainfield 4
Existing YMCA and adjacent building at 512-24 Watchung Avenue in Plainfield is poised for redevelopment. Image by Think Wilder Architecture via the City of Plainfield.

Nearly a century after the edifice with the words “Young Men’s Christian Association” was constructed at 512-24 Watchung Avenue in Plainfield, a company is seeking to incorporate part of the structure into a new six-story development.

Plainfield’s municipal government has received an application from PL 835 Plainfield Urban Renewal, LLC that describes plans to “adaptively reuse a portion of the existing three and one-half story Plainfield Area YMCA” and demolish “the remaining insignificant or non-contributing sections of the YMCA to allow for the construction of the project.”

The project in question would include 157 residential units, 5,503 square feet worth of commercial space, and amenities such as an art gallery, fitness room, and co-working space, according to the application. The document notes that there would be 97 “live/work units,” 42 studios, and 18 one-bedroom units, along with 115 parking spaces.

512 24 Watchung Avenue Ymca Redevelopment Plainfield 1
The proposed redevelopment. Plans by Think Wilder Architecture via the City of Plainfield.

A virtual hearing on these plans before the Plainfield Planning Board has been scheduled for Thursday, April 1, at 7:00 p.m., according to a meeting notice.

The developer’s application also covers 130-40 East 5th Street/Route 28, which includes a three-story industrial building, but the application states that the existing structure at this property is vacant and slated to be demolished.

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The portion of the building on the right will remain, with the rest demolished. Image by Think Wilder Architecture via the City of Plainfield.

The old YMCA building is situated across from City Hall and is a few blocks away from Plainfield’s downtown, library, and main train station. This neighborhood is served by bus service to New York, Newark, Metuchen, and several other suburbs in Middlesex, Somerset, and Union counties.

The Courier News reported back in 2018 that the Plainfield Area YMCA’s Board of Directors unanimously voted at the time to sell its Watchung Avenue building. The Greater Somerset County YMCA’s website currently says that the “Plainfield YMCA is a Y without walls,” noting that it offers child care programs and has an administrative office on Madison Avenue.

Note to readers: The dates that applications are scheduled to be discussed by the Plainfield Planning Board and other commissions are subject to change.


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