Better days could be ahead for two abandoned buildings in East Orange.
Revitalization is proposed for the structures at 89 North Arlington Avenue, at the corner of William Street, and 475 William Street, at the corner of Ashland Avenue.
According to legal notices from the city of East Orange, the four-story building on North Arlington Avenue, which is filled with broken and boarded up windows, is currently an abandoned rooming house, but a developer hopes to rehabilitate the structure. An unidentified applicant is seeking approval with variances for “side yard setbacks, front yard setbacks, rear yard setbacks, off street parking, unit size, [and] building height” in order to convert the building into a residential rental development with 33 units.
The building is situated adjacent to Rowley Park, and is within a short walk of the East Orange train station, City Hall, the East Orange Public Library, and the site of the upcoming Hue Lofts development. City records list the owner of the property as TBG 89 N Arlington, LLC, and a Zillow listing from a few years ago describes the 20,000 square foot building as a 46-room structure on a 0.21-acre site.
The 1955 East Orange High School yearbook shows that the Marlborough Hotel once operated there, and photos from 1910 published in Bill Hart’s East Orange in Vintage Postcards book show that the building was owned by the Rockefeller Hotel Company. The Marlborough Hotel advertised itself as offering a “home away from home” with electric lights and a telephone in every room, according to the book, and promoted the Oranges as being “almost like the Bermudas.”
Another ad from a 1918 edition of the International Railway Journal described the Marlborough as “30 minutes from Broadway” along the Lackawanna Railroad in “New York’s most beautiful suburb,” offering “refined patronage” and “excellent meals” for $25 to $50 per week. Most recently, the building contained the Eden House senior living facility.
Further west, 475 William Street is also set to undergo a major revitalization and expansion. A legal notice states that it should be redeveloped into a five-story building with 39 residential units, with parking on the premises. The property is currently an abandoned two-story boarded-up building that is surrounded with fencing, overgrown weeds, and graffiti. Although a developer is not listed in the legal notice, the website for the Teaneck-based Fountain Group lists this development as one of its projects and states that there will be “luxury” one- and two-bedroom units.
The William Street property is closer to the Brick Church train station, and is within walking distance of ShopRite and stores along the Main Street corridor. The building was previously owned and used by the city.
The East Orange Planning Board was scheduled to hear the proposals for both projects during its November 1 meeting.