Over the past decade, there has been significant investment made in the downtowns of the region’s largest cities, Newark and Jersey City, with construction of new mixed-use buildings and rehabilitation of historic structures. Now, developers are eyeing New Jersey’s fourth largest city as a place for new projects.
The City of Elizabeth, the seat of Union County, has a growing population of close to 130,000 residents. The city, which sits across the Arthur Kill from Staten Island, is home to two New Jersey Transit train stations, scenic parks like Warinanco Park and the Veterans Memorial Waterfront Park, and a rich history, with centuries-old structures like the Bonnell House, Boxwood Hall, and Belcher-Ogden Mansion. Elizabeth also contains several attractions like the historic Ritz Theatre and Performing Arts Center and The Mills at Jersey Gardens.
With the exception of the Station Commons building at the northern end of the city, however, Elizabeth has largely escaped the recent transit-oriented-development boom in other Northern New Jersey communities, until now.
According to a legal notice released last month by the Elizabeth Planning Board, a new mixed-use building is planned for a large lot bordered by Westfield Avenue/Route 27, Harrison Street, Crane Street, and Union Street in the Midtown Redevelopment Area. The current proposal by developer Faros-Mas Elizabeth, LLC, a Delaware company, calls for a five-story building with 258 residential units, over 26,000 square feet of retail space, and parking for residents. City documents from March of 2016 state that the building could also include a spa, a club room, a swimming pool, a fitness center, a theater, an event and conference center, and a landscaped courtyard.
According to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, Faros-Mas Elizabeth, which is made up of Faros Properties and MAS Development Group, was selected as the site developer by the city in 2014.
The property is currently a large vacant lot just steps away from businesses along Morris Avenue and the Elizabeth River Parkway. It sits just a few blocks away from the main Elizabeth Train Station, which is slated to receive a $55 million restoration. Previously, the lots, most of which are owned by the City of Elizabeth, contained several industrial buildings that were demolished in 2013.
A public hearing regarding the developer’s request for amended preliminary and final site plan approval will be held this Thursday, January 5th at 7:30pm at the Elizabeth City Hall Council Chambers.
In addition, city documents also reveal that a similar development is being proposed by Faros-Mas Elizabeth for a lot a few blocks away at 190 Union Street. That proposal calls for a five-story building with 240 residential units, a 11,271 square foot restaurant and bar, and similar amenities.