Author Archives: kyorio1528

Funding Secured for Mixed-Use Building in Downtown Maplewood

Downtown Maplewood is going to get new apartments and commercial space. Funding has been secured for the 104 Baker Street site, the former home of Toomey’s Automotive. The location will be developed into a 25,000-square-foot mixed use space that sits a quarter-mile from the train station.

The three-story building will have 11 residential units―nine two-bedroom and two one-bedroom apartments―and 3,500 square feet of commercial and restaurant space on the ground level ground. There will be an indoor/outdoor rooftop terrace for renters, and each apartment will have a parking space behind or below the building.

The plans were approved in November for the location that the town had declared a “site in need of redevelopment” in the busy downtown area, but financing wasn’t arranged until earlier this month.

 

Mixed-Use Development Approved for Former Newark Pabst Site

For decades, the beer-bottle shaped water tower was a landmark for travelers on the Garden State Parkway, but the Pabst Blue Ribbon Newark brewery was demolished in 2008 and the iconic giant bottle dismantled as well. Since then, the South Orange Avenue site has remained vacant. The city has a plan to change that.

Earlier this month, a mixed-use development proposal was approved by the Newark Zoning Board of Adjustment. The Crown Village at Pabst Blue Ribbon Site would be four buildings with commercial space on the first floor and a total of 660 residential units. The plan for the four-acre site also calls for a day care center with outdoor secure play area, two gyms, a common work area with conference rooms, individual study offices, an outdoor basketball court, community rooms, and other more amenities. And there will be 665 parking spaces.

This is not the first proposal to develop the site over the years, but Newark mayor Ras Baraka is hopeful this one will come to fruition. He recently held a virtual town hall for residents to learn more about the project and have any questions answered.

Companies Making HVAC Adjustments To Try To Reduce Spread of Novel Coronavirus

The COVID-19 data is on track for New York City to enter Phase 4 on Monday, but it will do so without reopening indoor spaces like malls and museums as was previously planned. Governor Andrew Cuomo made that announcement on Thursday and didn’t offer a new timeline. While it is likely a disappointment to many hoping to get back to business, it will give shopping centers some more time to meet the state’s new HVAC requirements.

Earlier this month, Cuomo said that malls would be required to have an air filtration system with MERV-13 rating or the highest rating the system will allow–no less than MERV-11. It is believed that the higher level of filtration will reduce the rate of transmission of the novel coronavirus.

Companies in New Jersey have been converting their air filters to MERV-13, according to Air Systems Maintenance, Inc. sales manager Mark Attias.

Attias said the number of requests created a back order and delay in getting the filters. It also doesn’t work for every system.

“You can’t always do that with smaller systems,” he said. “Residential can’t always do it, because it disrupts the air flow too much. It has to be specially designed.”

The other “large-selling” item, Attias said, is UV lights. The lights go into the duct work and kill viruses in the air flow. Delivery of the lights was backed up as well, because of the number of orders.

There are other HVAC modifications that may be helpful as well, including changing the air flow.

As public health officials learn more and state governments move to open more businesses, as well as schools, there will be more demand for HVAC companies and supplies for system modifications.

CIS Breaks Down the Pandemic Impact with a Look at the Numbers of Projects Out to Bid in 2019 vs. 2020

As the industry works to come back from the affect of the pandemic and related shutdowns, CIS looked at the numbers of private and public projects out to bid across its coverage areas for the first six months of 2019 and 2020 to gauge the impact.

Interestingly, both public and private project numbers were down in January and February before governors of many Northeast states put stay-at-home orders in place and paused non-essential construction. Private projects were down nearly 25 percent in January and 14 percent in February. There were fewer public projects as well, down 12.7 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively, in the first two months of the year.

April took the biggest hit by comparison with both private and public projects out to bid down more than 56 percent. In May and June, the numbers are creeping slowly back up but still fall far short of 2019 totals. In June, private projects were down about 30 percent and public projects were down 20.

The total year-over-year change in number of new public projects for January through June is 31.4 percent.

Blog_PublicGraph_Final.jpg

The total change in number of new private projects for January through June is 34.1 percent.

Blog_PrivateGraph_Final.jpg

Murphy Signs Bill To Ensure Clean Water and Environmental Infrastructure Project Funding

This week, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy signed a bill to ensure the state’s environmental infrastructure projects will be approved and continue through the new fiscal year. The bipartisan bill (S-2499) appropriates $1.167 billion in state and federal funds for clean water and environmental projects.

The measure appropriates money to the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) New Jersey Infrastructure Bank Financing Program. It will be used to help “local government units, municipal, county and regional authorities, and small water companies with loans at or below the prevailing rates for qualifying clean water projects.”

State senator Kip Bateman, who co-sponsored the bill, said this will make sure that essential projects such as renovations an updates to water treatment facilities and wastewater controls damaged in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy will continue without putting more of the financial burden on property taxpayers.

The bill also authorizes the DEP to make clean water project loans to four municipalities in the Pinelands area that are receiving funding under the “Pinelands Infrastructure Trust Fund.” Disaster Relief Emergency Financing Program loans will still be available for short-term financing for projects to repair or improve the resiliency of environmental infrastructure systems adversely impacted by Storm Sandy, according to the bill.

FinTech Building In Progress at University of Delaware

With construction workers deemed essential in Delaware, the University of Delaware’s FinTech building started construction in April while most projects in nearby states were shut down. The $38 million project on the school’s Science Technology and Advanced Research Campus in Newark remains on target for a November 2021 completion.  University staff has been in charge of monitoring the contractors to make sure they are following the state’s health guidelines.

The six-story, 100,000 square-foot building will house  labs and centers for the university’s College of Engineering and Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and the school’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships. Delaware’s Small Business Development Center will move there, and there will be space for startups, as well. The goal is for the building to be a center for financial technology and a place where students, faculty, and local entrepreneurs can collaborate.

Jersey City Moves Forward, Opens Bidding for Loew’s Jersey Theatre Renovations

While the pandemic has hit the arts and entertainment business and venues hard, last week there was a little hope for the future—and movement in the redevelopment of Journal Square in Jersey City―as the bidding process opened for the redevelopment of the historic Loew’s Jersey Theatre.

The building, which dates back to the 1920s, will require extensive renovations, restoration and possible expansion while also restoring the historic character and aesthetic appeal, while creating all of the modern needs such as added restroom capacity, as well as up-to-date concession and ticketing areas.

Construction of the $40 million project will need to create a facility that allows for maximum operating capacity and maximum safety of patrons. Upgrades are needed for the plumbing, production equipment, and electrical systems, as well as install new air conditioning, fire and security systems. Roof and exterior façade work will also be needed.

An effort will be made to clean and restore historic fixtures and add architectural lighting that complements the original. Historic production and mechanical equipment will be preserved in place or relocated within the building.

Proposals are are due in early August, and the city hopes to re-open the theater in 2022.

 

HVAC Companies Likely To Be in Higher Demand with COVID-19 Requirements, Reopenings

As the tri-state area begins reopening businesses and camp facilities, HVAC companies are likely to be in high demand.
Youth camps in New Jersey, which can open on July 6, must meet specific HVAC requirements to get approval from the state to reopen their indoor facilities.
According to the NJ Department of Health summer camp standards document, “Camps must ensure that their indoor facilities have adequate ventilation, including operational heating, ventilation and air conditioning (“HVAC”) systems where appropriate. i. Recirculated air must have a fresh air component ii. Open windows if A/C is not provided iii. Filter(s) for A/C units must be maintained and changed according to manufacturer recommendations.”
And it won’t just be camp facilities keeping HVAC companies busy as states transition to the reopening phases for businesses and, eventually, schools.
American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ (ASHRAE) Epidemic Task Force member M. Dennis Knight recommends buildings where HVAC systems haven’t been running–or have been running minimally–since pandemic closures should replicate the process of new construction with regards to inspection, start up, and testing a system. He also suggested building owners recommission or retrocommission their systems. COVID-19 is not the only concern for restarting systems that have been down. There are always concerns for the integrity of a system after it hasn’t been running consistently or had proper maintenance, Knight said.
ASHRAE has put out building safe readiness and reopening guidance, as well as offering information on filtration and disinfection.

Jersey Walk Construction To Provide Housing, Retail Space in Elizabeth

The first phase of construction is underway for Jersey Walk, the mixed-use development at the site of the former Elizabeth General Hospital on E. Jersey St. in Elizabeth. The hospital closed more than a decade ago and the 5.5 acre site has sat unused. Now, a $125 million project is going up to try to revitalize the area and provide housing and retail space.

The first phase includes the construction of two six-story buildings. The approximately 218,000 square-feet will have 274 studio, one-bedroom, and two-room units, as well as 3,000 square feet of retail space on the ground level. The parking garage on the site, which can have nearly 550 spaces, will also be renovated.

Phase I is expected to be completed in Spring 2021.

Phase II will consist of the construction of two more six-story buildings with a total of 240 additional residential units.

Plans for the redevolpment of the site have been in the works for years. The property was sold to CMT Developers LLC in 2015. This March, the company received the funding it needed for the site, which is within walking distance of the Elizabeth Train Station and Elizabeth Avenue business district.

NYC On Track for Construction to Restart June 8

New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that New York City is on track to begin Phase I of reopening on Monday June 8. Phase I includes nonessential construction and manufacturing.
“We know where the hot spots are in the city, we want to focus on them next week, be ready to open,” Cuomo said.
All reopened businesses must follow health guidelines. Phase I includes retail stores for curbside pick up and in-store where proper distancing is possible. Cuomo signed an executive order this week mandating masks in stores. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, gardening and landscape businesses can also reopen in Phase I.