Unlike in Newark, Trenton, and Jersey City, where many buildings that were centers of manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution are no longer standing, Paterson’s streets continue to be lined with numerous historic structures that are leftover from the city’s commercial past.
Now, one of those edifices that is a symbol of Paterson’s industrial heyday could become a symbol of its future.
The complex at 466-480 Totowa Avenue that once served as the Miesch Silk Manufacturing Company’s Totowa Avenue Works is now slated to be converted and expanded into a residential and retail complex known as “Great Falls Lofts.”
A company named 100 Mile Renard Totowa, LLC submitted plans to the City of Paterson and the Passaic County Planning Board that call for adaptively reusing the existing four-story structure and constructing an addition to the building in order to create 127 apartments and 6,779 square feet of retail space.
The proposed rental rates are not yet clear, but a municipal agenda says that there would be 12 studios, 102 one-bedroom units, and 13 two-bedroom units.
“The applicant proposes partial demolition of an existing structure to accommodate parking,” the documents notes, adding that 80 apartments would be in the building that is currently standing while the remaining 47 would be in the new part.
Files released by the Passaic County Planning Board show that a parking lot on the premises would include 53 spaces, but “the applicant has indicated that an agreement has been made with the owners of Hinchliffe Stadium for additional, off-site parking.”
Silk mills such as this 113-year-old one led to Paterson being known as the Silk City, a nickname for Passaic County’s largest city that continues to this day.
“Operations at the Miesch Silk Co. Totowa Avenue demonstrated a counter-trend away from single-site, family-based silk weaving businesses toward conglomerate operations,” an overview of the site published by Paterson’s municipal government says. “This decentralization of business, along with technological advances, altered work expectations and conditions within silk mills, contributing to the strike of 1925.”
In June 2021, many decades after the property was used as a silk mill, it was sold for $5.5 million to 100 Mile Renard Totowa, LLC, according to property records. The LLC has listed addresses in Yonkers, New York and Englewood Cliffs.
The parcel is located less than half a mile from Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park and is near other proposed developments such as the 38-unit project at 11 Spruce Street and the 61-unit adaptive reuse of the old School 5 at 385-391 Totowa Avenue.
A public hearing regarding the proposal is scheduled to take place during a special meeting of the Paterson Planning Board today, January 10, at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.
Note to readers: The dates that applications are scheduled to be heard by the Paterson Planning Board and other commissions are subject to change.