An Essex County municipality has spent millions of dollars assembling a group of properties not far from its main train station. Now, the City of Orange Township says it wants to sell these tracts to a developer so that a major residential and recreational complex can be built.
A letter dated September 14 from the community’s Department of Administration describes plans for the new “Orange Health and Wellness and Residential Complex” at the corner of Main and High Streets.
If ultimately created as envisioned in the letter, the residential component of the project would include up to 400 rental units and parking while the health and wellness component would feature swimming pools, a basketball court, a fitness center, a commercial kitchen, yoga studios, and more.
The development would be built at 395, 401, and 407 Main Street along with 12 High Street.
“The site was assembled by the City through various acquisitions and relocations for which the City has expended approximately $4,350,000,” according to the letter, which refers to this as the “city cost.”
The properties include a longstanding building home to a Rossi’s paint store and the neighboring former YWCA building, the latter of which has been associated with an FBI investigation related in part to the Orange REC Center redevelopment.
Orange’s municipal government announced plans in 2018 to acquire 425 Main Street for $1.9 million and relocate the paint store to that address in order to “advance the City’s goals of providing quality, safe, market rate housing and a community center with recreational, wellness, and educational opportunities for residents.”
The letter issued this September says that the City of Orange Township “is seeking a final round of proposals for the development” and that developers can submit proposals until October 26.
The project developer “must acquire the site from the City at a price equal to the city cost,” according to the letter, which adds that “verified proof of funds in the amount of $10 million must be included with the submission.”
After redevelopment area bonds are issued and construction is finished, the health and wellness component of the building would need to be sold back to the municipal government for $1.
These plans come as there has been an overall increase in residential development around Orange’s primary rail station. While projects such as 50 & 55 South Essex and Linc at Orange Station were completed years ago, others such as Vermella at Orange Station are currently in the works.