Could a 300-Unit Project Overlooking NYC Replace a Verona School?

One Sunset Avenue Verona
Site of proposed development: One Sunset Avenue, Verona. Photo via BlueGate Partners.

When municipalities in New Jersey with real estate offering scenic views of the Manhattan skyline are discussed, Hoboken, Jersey City, and Newark often come to mind. However, several miles farther inland from these cities, plenty of homes in Essex and Passaic Counties along the First Watchung Mountain overlook not only the New York City skyline but a significant portion of the rest of the metropolitan area.

Unlike in the cities farther east, most properties on the First Watchung Mountain with scenic vistas are either occupied by single-family homes or parkland, with the exception of the Montclair State University campus and residential complexes like Claridge House in Verona, The Top in Maplewood, the Rockcliffe Apartments in Montclair, and the Crown View Manor in West Orange. Now, another residential development could possibly be coming to this hilltop.

A listing from BlueGate Partners, which is based out of Midtown Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida, shows that 1 Sunset Avenue in Verona is for sale. The property, which sits along the Montclair border just off of Bloomfield Avenue, currently contains parking lots and a three-story building. However, BlueGate’s listing states that there are plans for a four-story residential building at the site. The development, which would include around 300 units, would sit over two floors of parking and offer “breathtaking and unobstructed views.” It is not listed how the units would be priced nor is it stated what, if any, other firms are involved in the project.

Last year, MyVeronaNJ reported that the property was one of four in this Essex County township to be considered as a possible site for a development with “affordable” units.

For nearly two decades, the site has contained a school for students on the autism spectrum. Currently, the school is run by Spectrum360 for pre-school, elementary school, and middle school students and is known as the Academy360 Lower School. Previously, the school was called The Children’s Institute and operated at other Essex County sites such as Stone End in South Orange and a Livingston Board of Education property in Livingston. The organization dates back to 1883 when it was founded as the Daughters of Israel Hebrew Orphanage Asylum, according to the New Jersey Jewish News, and now operates two other locations.

Before it was used as a school, the Sunset Avenue site was used by Hoffmann-La Roche’s Roche Diagnostic Systems and Bankers National Life Insurance Company as an office building.


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