For over a year, Jersey Digs has been following the unconventional real estate development strategy of multiple firms that are all registered out of FDF Holdings’ space in a suburban Ramsey office park. The companies, which have names like CYT Holdings, FDF 3, and Lake Properties 103, have spent millions buying up properties throughout Newark and proposing developments such as an adaptive reuse of the Griffith Piano Building on Broad Street, several new five-story buildings in the South and West Wards, a conversion of the Coe Mansion on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard into 15 apartments, and most recently, a 51-story tower near City Hall.
A Jersey Digs analysis of city tax records found that this mysterious developer has built up quite a portfolio of over 100 vacant lots, apartment buildings, houses, and other properties in Newark over the last few years. Some of the properties that are now owned by companies associated with this Ramsey office have been listed for lease recently by VIVO Management, based on the 15th floor of the Federal Trust Building on Downtown Newark’s Commerce Street.
Despite all of their new and adaptive reuse applications that have been filed for properties in the state’s largest city, one of the most distinct plans to come out of the Ramsey address was a proposal last summer to construct five high-rise developments in several neighborhoods in Newark’s outer wards. The proposal involved constructing 12-story, 14-story, and 16-story buildings in sections of the city like Fairmount that have not seen the kinds of buildings that have popped up recently in the Ironbound and Downtown Newark.
For instance, a 12-story building was proposed for 186-188 South 12th Street, located in the middle of a residential block that largely consists of two- and three-story homes. Nearby, a 16-story building with apartments and retail space was proposed for the corner of South Orange Avenue and South 10th Street.
Now, major changes are apparently in store for at least one of the proposed high-rises.
Under Ramsey-based New West 1, LLC’s initial proposal, a 16-story building with 56 apartments and 1,200 square foot of commercial was planned for 708-710 Springfield Avenue, located at the corner of South 20th Street near Newark’s border with Irvington. During its April 18 meeting, at the request of the developer’s attorney, Elnardo Webster, Jr., the Newark Zoning Board of Adjustment voted to adjourn the matter so that the site plan could be revised.
A legal notice issued earlier this month shows that a far smaller development is now being proposed for both these premises and neighboring 706 Springfield Avenue, the latter of which was reportedly acquired in March for just under $160,000. The properties each currently contain a three-story building, one of which is known as the Nubian Plaza Apartments.
708 Springfield, LLC, which, like the other firms, is registered out of 900C Lake Street’s Suite 11 in Ramsey, has filed plans for a six-story mixed-use building at the corner of Springfield Avenue and South 20th Street. The proposed development is expected to include 30 residential units should the project move forward. A lobby and commercial space are planned as well.
The company applied for Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval with variances for such as building height, permitting studio units, and insufficient bike parking. A Zoning Board hearing was scheduled for July 25.
Jersey Digs stopped by the VIVO Management office in the Federal Trust Building last week to find out more about this project and the other activities of the developer. A sign outside of the space reads “FDF Global,” a name similar to those of several of the developer’s LLCs such as FDF 2, FDF 3, and FDF 4. However, although the office was open, no one was available for an interview and a request for comment has not yet been returned.