HANDS Plans ‘Gateway’ Development Next to Orange’s Highland Ave Station

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Gateway Project 523 Freeman Street Orange
The “Gateway Project” is planned at 523 Freeman Street in Orange. Image via Google Maps.

An Essex County non-profit group is looking to transform a property that has long sat vacant next to one of Orange’s two train stations.


HANDS, Inc. is looking to move forward with the “Gateway Project” at 523 Freeman Street, an undeveloped lot at the corner of Scotland Road that is situated adjacent to the inbound platform of NJ TRANSIT’s Highland Avenue stop.

The group, which stands for Housing and Neighborhood Development Services, is planning to build a four-story development with nine residential units and 1,479 square feet of ground-floor commercial space on the premises, according to a notice of hearing.

The complex would also include “covered outdoor commercial space” and a public garden. Five parking spaces for the Gateway Project would be provided at 357 South Jefferson Street, not at 523 Freeman Street, the notice says.

The development site is located across the tracks from the residential and industrial section of Orange and West Orange that has been branded over the last couple of decades as the Valley Arts District. HANDS, Inc. has long been involved in the Valley neighborhood, having worked on nearby projects such as Hat City Lofts and the Kelli Copeland Arts building.

These plans will need to be approved by the Orange Planning Board before construction can begin. A public Zoom hearing is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, January 26 at 7:30 p.m.

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

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