A suburban tract that used to be owned by one of the country’s largest pharmaceutical companies could become the site of a new mixed-use building under a developer’s proposal.
Previously, the parking lots that are located at the corner of Long Avenue and Broadway in Hillside were used by Bristol-Myers Squibb, which once had a significant presence in this Union County township. In fact, according to the company’s website, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s predecessor, the Bristol-Myers Company, first bought property in the community in 1906. Decades later, Bristol-Myers Squibb constructed a research and development laboratory complex in the 1960s that was “the largest proprietary laboratory in the world” at the time.
While Bristol-Myers Squibb still remains a major employer in New Jersey and some of the company’s former buildings still stand in Hillside, the company’s days in the township ended earlier this century. Although plenty of the former Bristol-Myers Squibb properties in Hillside are now used for other industrial purposes, the two parking lots at the corner of Long Avenue and Broadway have remained largely unutilized, with fencing surrounding the premises. However, that could soon change.
A legal notice shows that a company called Long Ave Estates, LLC applied to the Hillside Zoning Board of Adjustment in order to construct a four-story building at the site of the parking lot on the west side of Broadway. The proposed development is expected to include 36 apartments on the top three floors. 24 of the units would include one bedroom while the remaining dozen would be two-bedroom apartments. Meanwhile, a 13,890-square-foot urgent care medical center is planned for the first floor, according to the notice, while the building’s rooftop could include a common area for residents.
Under the proposal, the former Bristol-Myers Squibb parking lot property on the east side of Broadway would continue to contain a parking lot, with 31 spaces serving the development across the street. The building itself would also include 38 parking spaces, all of which are expected to be located underground.
State business records indicate that the development firm was incorporated in January out of Brooklyn. Both properties are owned by another firm called 171 Long Ave, LLC.
Given other recent development proposals in neighboring municipalities such as Union, Elizabeth, and Newark, this project is unique since the site is not located in very close proximity to public transportation. The closest New Jersey Transit bus stops are several blocks away on Liberty Avenue and North Broad Street and while the agency’s Raritan Valley Rail Line runs through Hillside, it does not stop in the township.
The Hillside Zoning Board of Adjustment was scheduled to hear this proposal during its meeting on May 15. Long Ave Estates, LLC requested Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval with variances such as use and height.