Former Middle School in Bloomfield Could Become 122-Unit Development

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South Junior High School Bloomfield Lofts 177 Franklin Street
The vacant South Junior High School building at 177 Franklin Street in Bloomfield could be converted to 122 residential lofts, art studio space, and more. Image via Google Maps.

A project that could cause a former middle school in Bloomfield to be adaptively reused and expanded into a development with residential and arts components could be approved this week.


An application involving proposed changes to the vacant South Junior High School building at 177 Franklin Street is expected to be heard by the Bloomfield Planning Board during a special meeting this Tuesday, August 18.

177 Franklin Street Bloomfield Nj
A firm is seeking to renovate the existing structure and build a 20,368 square foot addition in order to create a five-story development. Image via Google Maps/Street View.

A firm simply named Bloomfield South Junior High School Urban Renewal, LLC is seeking to renovate the existing structure and conduct a 20,368 square foot addition in order to create a five-story development. Inside, there would be “122 residential units, art studio/gallery space, amenity space, and space to be utilized for performing/visual arts and community events,” according to the developer’s application.

Site plans from Langan Engineering and Environmental Services show that live/work units would also be included. The project would include a total of 171 parking spaces.

Bloomfield South Junior High School Urban Renewal, LLC’s application indicates that the company is registered out of Los Angeles and that the total cost of building and site improvements is estimated at nearly $30.8 million

A site plan rendering references Urban Smart Growth, a Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based company that refers to this project on its website as “Bloomfield Lofts” and notes that “the estimated construction/redevelopment period is 12 months based on prior experience with similar conversions.”

The project was referenced in municipal ordinances from September 2019 and May of this year. The 2019 ordinance approved a long-term tax exemption application for the development and noted that a 9,900-square-foot community auditorium was expected to be included. The May ordinance authorized an easement agreement.

The old South Junior High School was built in 1939 as Bloomfield Junior High School and closed in 1986, according to the Historical Society of Bloomfield. This is not the first time that redevelopment plans for the building have been discussed, with the May ordinance mentioning that a previous Preliminary and Final Site Plan application was approved back in 2006.

Located next to the Essex County Bloomfield Tech Campus near Halcyon Park neighborhood, the 3.629-acre site sits just under a mile from the Grove Street stop on the Newark Light Rail along with the Watsessing Avenue and Bloomfield rail stations. New Jersey Transit’s 27 bus to Downtown Newark and Irvington stops in front of the former school.

The Bloomfield Planning Board’s special meeting is scheduled to begin over Zoom at 7:00 p.m.

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

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