Minor modifications have been made to a development plan for a Downtown Newark property that was sold last year by Rutgers University for more than $9 million.
During its meeting on July 20, the Newark Central Planning Board approved changes to the proposal for 155 Washington Street. The developer, a firm associated with L+M Development Partners called 155 Washington Street Urban Renewal, LLC, is adaptively reusing the longstanding 18-story former parking garage at the site and plans to construct a new four-story building in order to create a large mixed-use project.
Construction began on the premises in late 2019. The proposal now calls for a total of 250 residential units in both buildings and 6,250 square feet of retail space at the site, according to a notice.
A Newark Central Planning Board staff report prepared by John Barree noted that three live-work units that were supposed to be included along Warren Street have been eliminated from the proposal.
The pedestrian mews that would have connected Washington Street with an inner courtyard were also removed from the plans, according to the report, which added that “the new four-story building has been reconfigured to connect with the existing building and extend along the Washington Street frontage.”
Given that the elimination of live-work units allowed for an increase in retail space, Barree’s report questioned if there was any concern about the viability of retail and a possible increase in demand for live-work spaces “as more people work from home in the post-Covid world.”
The amended proposal still includes institutional space for Rutgers University-Newark. A plan shown during the meeting by Alex Merlucci of Inglese Architecture + Engineering indicated that a cafe could be situated at the corner of Washington and Warren Streets.
“While the proposed development includes two separate and distinct buildings, it is the intention of the applicant to provide amenities within the existing building available for use by all tenants throughout the development including those in the new building,” according to the site plans. “In addition, the ground floor bike room in the existing building will be for use by tenants of both buildings.”
This hearing was not the only discussion of an L+M project during the meeting on July 20, The Newark Central Planning Board also granted minor subdivision approval for a .65-acre parking area on the premises of Georgia King Village. Attorney Marsha Moore told the board that this area could involve a future project with residential units and a health facility, but the development plans were not part of the application that was approved.
The July 20 meeting came nearly a month after the Newark Municipal Council adopted a resolution authorizing the sale and issuance of up to $1.25 million in redevelopment area bonds to Prudential in connection with the 155 Washington Street project.