One of the largest vacant areas in New Jersey’s largest city could potentially become home to a massive development project should a new proposal end up coming to fruition.
Crown Real Estate Holdings, Inc., the owner of the old Pabst Blue Ribbon properties in Newark’s West Ward, is expected to go before the Newark Zoning Board of Adjustment this week to discuss a proposed transformation of the site. The Elizabeth-based company is seeking approval for a mixed-use development at properties such as 552, 554-556, and 572-588 South Orange Avenue along with 412-418 and 391-419 Grove Street, according to their application.
Jacinto Rodrigues is listed as the registered agent of Crown Real Estate Holdings, Inc. while The Musial Group is listed as the project architect.
If approved and constructed, the project could bring 660 residential units and ground floor commercial space to the area. The development would also consist of “approximately 665 parking spaces, [a] day care center with outdoor secure play area, two gymnasiums, [a] common work area with conference rooms, individual study offices, [an] outdoor basketball court, community rooms, and other related amenities,” according to a notice.
The project notice mentioned plans for two buildings, but the developer’s application discusses a proposal for five four-story buildings with studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and two-bedroom units and “multi-generational housing.” Additionally, the meeting agenda and the first page of the application referenced 2,300 square feet of commercial space, but the fifth page of the application mentions 23,000 square feet of commercial space along South Orange Avenue.
The site was referred to as “Crown Village” in the application. It has been vacant since the remnants of Pabst Blue Ribbon’s Newark brewery were demolished in 2008. The properties are located near Fairmount Cemetery just a few blocks east of the Garden State Parkway. Grove Street runs between the premises, which are split between the City of Newark and the Township of Irvington.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting will take place over Zoom on Thursday, July 9 at 6:30 p.m. Variances for use and height are among the deviations being sought by the developer.
This is not the first time in recent years that development plans for this area have been discussed. More than three years ago, local officials announced plans for a regional polytrauma center for veterans. During his 2017 State of the City address, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka even described a future medical facility, hotel, and commercial space along with a neighboring housing complex for veterans in order to create a “unique Veterans Village.” However, there has barely been any public discussion of the proposal in the years since.
Note to readers: The dates that applications are scheduled to be heard by the Newark Zoning Board of Adjustment and other commissions are subject to change.