Massive 820-Unit Complex Could Replace East Orange’s Brick Church Plaza

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Crossings At Brick Church Station East Orange
Site of proposed development: Brick Church Plaza Shopping Center. Photo via Google Maps/Street View.

A new development proposal in East Orange could bring an enormous new residential and commercial complex near one of the Essex County city’s two train stations.

The plan, which has not been reported on until now, calls for tearing down the Brick Church Plaza Shopping Center in order to construct a mixed-use project called the Crossings at Brick Church Station. Should the development be approved and ultimately constructed, it would consist of two buildings with a total of over 800 residential units and nearly 200,000 square feet of commercial space, according to a legal notice.


The first structure, simply known as Building A, is expected to be five stories tall and consist of 400 units. The other structure, Building B, would be nine stories tall and include 420 units.

Located along Main Street/Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard between South Harrison and Halsted Streets, the existing Brick Church Plaza includes a ShopRite location that serves as East Orange’s primary supermarket. Other tenants include Rainbow, Johnson’s Barbers, Ashley Stewart, America’s Best Wings, and Dunkin’ Donuts.


The Urban Essex Coalition for Smart Growth has recommended redeveloping the site in recent years, writing in part that “Brick Church Plaza is one of the most important redevelopment opportunities within the [Urban Essex] corridor for its potential to serve as a catalyst for redevelopment in downtown East Orange” and that “the City of East Orange is exploring the feasibility of redevelopment at this site.”

The transit-oriented development replacing Brick Church Plaza would include 197,500 square feet of commercial space that would be split between Building A and Building B. Although it is not yet clear if any of the existing tenants would be given space in the new complex, the notice mentioned that the developer “anticipates that a grocery store will be among the uses at the site” along with possible “retail sales and services, restaurants, cafes, offices, banks, entertainment venues, and daycare facilities.”

A ShopRite spokesperson has not yet returned Jersey Digs’ questions regarding the future of the supermarket in the plaza. It is also not yet clear how much parking or “affordable housing” would be included in the new development.

An application seeking Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval for the Crossings at Brick Church Station was filed by a company called Brick Church Opportunity Zone Fund I, LLC. The proposal is scheduled to be heard by the East Orange Planning Board during its meeting on Wednesday, August 21, at 7:00 p.m.

The property was acquired in 2017 for $35.75 million by a firm that is registered out of the same address as Triangle Equities in Whitestone, Queens. Another LLC based out of the Whitestone address paid $8.8 million last year for the Forman Mills building across the street from Brick Church Plaza.

Renderings posted online by Ronald J. Zeytoonian Architect PC appear to illustrate a previous version of the Crossings at Brick Church Station project and mention Triangle Equities as the client with S9 Architecture listed as the “project team.”

Plans that circulated a few years ago to construct another new complex in this part of East Orange, a high-rise that would have been called The Station at Brick Church, did not advance. Other recent development projects in the city have largely been concentrated on South Harrison Street, though there have been proposals involving properties in several other neighborhoods.

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

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37 COMMENTS

  1. So where will all of the minority people who live in the area shop now? A lot of people come to ShopRite by bus, there are very few shopping centers to shop for food in East Orange New Jersey. Orange has a few small shopping centers off of Central Avenue.How will their needs be met? Also what about all of the lost jobs for people who work in ShopRite and and the other stores in that complex what happens to them?
    Since it’s a new building what will the rents be like, will people who live in East Orange be able to afford to live there or is this another gentrification system to move minorities out of the area so certain groups of people will be able to get to Manhattan?

    • typical. Instead of investing in your own communities, you criticize and batch those who do asking yourselves who the hell wants to invest in this piece of crap called Newark or East Orange? You tell your kids to get a good education so they can move out of Newark or East Orange but when you see white folks moving in who see the value you can’t see, you become angry with jealousy and cry identification! Yet you all wanted to leave before the white man popped up again. Well, here’s a chance to take your money and run! I am sick and tired of seeing mine always complain about Newark and East Orange getting rebuilt but yet all 45 years of my life I’ve never seen minorities build a damn thing except for HUD garbage!

      • You NEVER seen “minorites” build anything in East Orange or Newark? What minority are you, “Luis Arroyo”? Lol! Digital brownface is real.

        Why are you and your kind so desperate to have out of towners and New Yorkers in your state? And trust its not just Essex County, they’re slithering their way into Morris and Sussex too, clogging everything up and causing more traffic/congestion..

        Why is it such a horrible idea to you and your ilk to.. Instead of moving more strangers and out of towners in (while the rate of native Jerseyans leaving the state is soaring, Google it), why not improve and fix for the residents here? Displacing families and long established businesses for the sake of single millennial commuters who won’t be inclined to invest in their area but will settle for a Whole Foods..

        As much as you want to hope for the gentrification, just know that its purpose is not to displace “some” people.. It’s everyone. But if your intention is to leave Jersey sooner like most smart minded people, you should.

      • Luis Arroyo can talk all of the anti Black hate that he wants to, until ICE comes knocking at his door. And I’m not for ICE in the least — but I DAMN sure ain’t for the ignorant hatred that he displays in this damned post either!

        First of all, BLACK PEOPLE ARE NOT MONORITIES! Secondly, if he can’t see any good or anything that we have built up it’s because his sight is blinded by his obvious hatred of who we are.

    • You missed the part that said residential AND commercial complex? Or the part about anticipated supermarket and retail? They would just be replacing crappy stores with new stores and jobs will still be there. Possibly even more. Theres only like 4 raggedy stores and SR open in there right now anyways. Theres mad apartments all over EO so why you so worried about this 1. If it looks nice people will pay more like anywhere else. Its new housing so they not kicking anyone out. Damn stop complaining and let progress happen.

    • Glad I bought a town home few months ago. Glad I did my DD on this 🙂 I am only 4 mins walk from these establishments. I’m also a minority who made changes and goals in life to make good money. If yall minorities ain’t gonna make it here then yall better start making changes in your lives so yall can make more money if yall wanna stay. Survival of the fittest. Dont wanna see grown men/women crying about getting kicked out..do something with your lives!

      • Go easy there Huckster. Its more to this gentrification crap than just “back people need to do more with their lives”. With the way rents constantly rise in the area most “local poor black folks” feels like someones standing on their neck. With that said the city of East Orange itself is a lame horse! The city treats its long time citizens like garbage (bad roads, attitude at the post office/city hall)yet its totally on board with NYC developers. Where was the city at decades ago? I’ve only been here 9 months. I just bought some property in PA. At least out there your taxes are equal to one mortgage payment!

        I guess its good u did something with your life. No need to down others that are down & cant get up.

  2. I’m all for the change… Let’s make East Orange great…

    Can’t wait until they revamp Park Ave near the numbers block..let’s not forget 4th Ave..

    Let’s bring the pride back to our community

    • IF YOU DO NOT SUPPORT THIS PROJECT, PLEASE, PLEASE MAKE YOUR VOICES BE HEARD AT THE MEETING ON WEDNESDAY AUGUST 21ST. IF YOU DO NOT WANT THIS TO HAPPEN GO SPEAK UP!!!!!

  3. I currently live in S. Harrison St. In the only building that hasn’t been renovated in the 45 plus years that it has existed. I look forward to see what the change will bring.

  4. I currently live on S. Harrison St. In the only building that hasn’t been renovated in the 45 plus years that it has existed. I look forward to see what the change will bring.

  5. I visited East Orange a few months ago, and actually took the subway from Newark Airport to Brick Church Station. I walked through the shopping center and saw how busy it gets there with the ShopRite supermarket and other stores there.
    If this proposal is approved and those buildings go up, it will be strange at first because of my experience in that area. I guess I better take pictures the next time I go back, because it may be the last time I see the current shopping center.

  6. Yes great all the low lives will have to move away they can steal and rob somwhere else and start trouble in there type of environment which is the jungle. I love this important gentrified idea. I can wait to see better classy educated people like me in this area where i live. Low lives be gone

    • You should move if you don’t like being around ppl who you believe are from the jungle you seem more educated on racism. There are alot of great ppl here in east orange and their not going anywhere

  7. Let the changes begin. Sacrifices have to be made in order to progress. If you keep doing the same things, you will keep getting the same results. To think otherwise is Insanity!

  8. As long as it will cause my taxes to be lower lets do it we need more businesses in the area to help lower home taxes

    • Your taxes wont go lower. East orange city hall is allready telling the brown folks to go shove off. While saying “yes maam, no maam” to the ones who lack melanin! I personally seen it myself inside city hall. If anything they’ll have to totally restructure the post office. The way they open mail/packages & not deliver stuff WILL have to stop. Also they’ll need to rebuild lot of the roads & infrastructure. These are the types paying for internet in the gigabits. That means closing roads to lay fiber! So they’ll just use “infrastructure improvements” excuse to keep your taxes high. Why do u think ppl leave when this nonsence starts?

  9. Sounds like gentrification to me. How about they just leave Brick Church plaza ALONE. Just clean up!!!!! Fix the homeless population and drug epidemic in that plaza instead. They’re ALWAYS trying to paint over these issues.

    Let me guess, they’re going to create large buildings and say it’s “affordable housing” and disqualify black & brown families in the community (the rent is going to be some ridiculous amount) and approve NONblack and brown families.

      • I agree all they want to do Is clean it up for the other people to move in they just trying to get some of the growing money that is being tunneled from new Yorkers which want cheaper rent .but then ur putting the people who have lived here all their lives to be without housing or jobs because now u want to take away all the businesses away that ur citizens have been shopping g at fir years.and that’s the only reasonable shopping center for food which is use by everyone SHAME ON YOUR COMPANY.

  10. I live off park ave which has been my home for the past 25+ years and Brick Church is a place I’ve always known. I must say this station should stay the same and left as an historic fixture in the community. Why they can’t build by western beef or grove and central dang go somewhere else. There’s also the projects that’s closed by the planet fitness. All I’m saying is I love E. Orange the way it is and they’re already coming in and renovating these buildings making it too expensive for the middle class to stay and once again the white people coming in to take over.

      • I agree. That area has been quiet and abandoned for years now. Side note, I was annoyed when they used that big space on MLK to build Fantin Supply. That too could have been used for housing and multiple businesses!

  11. All politicians are the same governor Christie did the same build up housing at train station so residents of nj should go new York to work instead of creating jobs in nj

  12. I think it’s a great move towards bringing good ole East Orange back. The people that left because of African Americans are not coming back to East Orange. You can build by the train station but in my opinion E.O. is nowhere close to Gentrification at least no time soon. Nobody is going to pay big money to live at Brick Church with all the other goings on around there, not for at least 10 to 20 years from now.

  13. Eveyone seem to be focused on the. Egetive thought of inpact. The article never said ‘ shoprite’ is leaving. The arti le mebtuined thebokans inckide a supermarket in which in sure shoorite is going to keep its nane in the bidding site or they msy have a new 20 year conteact rhey just renewed in 2017 thst places them still here in the community. At the same time there is a need for redevelopment to meet the constant changing of the community. As a honeonwer i look forward to less property taxes like im sure all of us do and new business and corporations needs to happen in East Orange. East Orange Train Station needs to be next on the list as that will in bring in revenues and housing in that area; sussex avenue, central avenue

    • Maga huh. Yet y’all mother fuckers drive in to brick church to take our train into the city, use our parking space cause y’all dont got your own, or are running from the high rates too. Maga huh? Maybe you can use that slogan to finish wiping your dirty cheese smelling ass.

  14. I don’t get the comments about leaving East Orange and Brick Church Plaza the way it is. Are you nuts??? Leaving as is will negate all of the positive improvements made over the last few years. Brick Church Plaza is a rundown embarrassment taking up prime, visible space in the center of town. NO ONE likes going to that third world Shop Rite so stop pretending. The owners have dragged their feet for years on making ANY improvements so they deserve to get kicked out for a chain that actually has some respect for the community.

    This change needs to happen and I look forward to seeing it. The people who are complaining must not want to pay more than $200/month in already subsidized rent. Sorry, newsflash: There are actually plenty of people living here that make good money, and/or own homes and want to see some tax relief and live in a nice looking accessible place with quality offerings. If that’s not what you want, maybe you should find a dump that looks more like what you want.

  15. I hope we can learn what exactly is proposed at the meeting and get an idea of what it will look like. I am not against improving that area, but everyone seems to be very angry already and we don’t even know what, exactly is being proposed as far as removing or improving ShopRite. People throwing terms like “third world” around when speaking about the town’s only supermarket just makes me sad for East Orange and makes me understand some of why we are the way we are today. I am looking forward to understanding more and talking with my neighbors (both present and future).

    With love for my city and to my neighbors…

  16. WIN WIN WIN WIN. Newer and better establishments. More tax revenue for the town/state to continue improving our parks, libraries, etc. Those of us who are home owners will see our properties go up in value. People who live in this area will benefit from cleaner streets and improved safety. If you oppose this project you simply are against progress. I get the arguments against gentrification, but it’s not that simple to “gentrify”. These buildings are required by law to include affordable housing to people who deserve those benefits. You all seem to think there’s some big conspiracy behind everything. Try pooling resources with your family and buying property and seeing it go up in value instead of complaining about RENT going up.

    • It’s not “gentrification” if you can make the payment…I’m a minority and making good money to afford a house in prospect st/4 min walk to brick church station. Every day I walk, I see homeless or crack heads asking for “change” and now they’re getting the “change” they deserve! 🙂 I’m glad I bought a house beginning of this year after doing my research about East Orange. Didnt think the good change will happen so soon though. My property has gone up 40k since I bought it March 2019. Hahaha win win, and they shoild just put whole foods and Starbucks and get rid of shop rite and Dunkin donuts. Itll make changes much faster

      • Amazing how some blacks acquire something then turn around & crap on their own people. U still can be in a freak accident crossing the street & that 40K that your property went up, you wont be around to spend it /or pay capital gains tax on! 🙂

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