The property at 1 Lackawanna Plaza in Montclair has seen a number of uses over the last century and is continuing to evolve.
Originally, the existing buildings at the site were used as a terminal by the Lackawanna Railroad for trains connecting the suburban Essex County township with Newark and Hoboken. Then, after the last trains left the station on February 27, 1981, the complex was converted into an indoor shopping center called Lackawanna Station. Home to several stores, fast-food restaurants, a Pathmark supermarket, and eventually the Pig & Prince pub, Lackawanna Station largely remained the same until the last few years.
In 2015, Pathmark, which was the plaza’s anchor store, permanently closed, leaving this part of town without a supermarket. In the time since, most businesses in the plaza have shut down while developers have been in the process of proposing a redevelopment of the property. Last year, it was revealed that The Hampshire Companies and The Pinnacle Companies are planning major changes to the site in partnership with Marchetto Higgins Stieve. However, the companies’ proposals for additional buildings with over 300 units and parking garages were met with controversy, according to Montclair Local and The Montclair Times. In addition, their plans for either an A&P Fresh or a ShopRite supermarket to fill the void from Pathmark’s closure reportedly fell through.
Now, the latest plans for the redevelopment of Lackawanna Station are set to go before the Montclair Planning Board. During its meeting tonight, the board is scheduled to hear HP Lackawanna Office, LLC and Lackawanna SPE, LLC’s application for Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval with variances and design waivers such as parking, height, and setback.
According to a legal notice, the current proposal calls for turning most of the parking lot just across Grove Street from Lackawanna Station into a four-story residential development with 154 apartments atop a 130-space parking garage. 100 parking spaces would surround the new “East Parcel” building. Meanwhile, the “West Parcel” Lackawanna Station property would see a renovation of the 43,495 square foot Pathmark space that would “most likely” be occupied by a supermarket again. The notice also states that the interior portion of the shopping mall and most retail space would be removed, while a second and third floor would be built to include 18,060 square feet of office and medical space.
Montclair Local reported last month that the proposal would keep a former platform and Pig & Prince, which is housed in the terminal’s 7,667 square foot waiting room under an inscription reading “Lackawanna R.R.” in place. Plus, the residential portion of the development would include an outdoor pool.
The Montclair Planning Board’s meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building on Claremont Avenue.