Category Archives: construction

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.

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.

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

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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.

 

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.

Marina Project Plans to Revitalize Pleasantville Waterfront

The marina in Pleasantville, NJ, hasn’t been a destination spot in recent years. But the $30 million Lakes Bay Marina project hopes to change all of that—and soon.

If developers get approval on their plans, they could finish dredging the marina this summer so that customers could house a boat in one of the 50 slips that will be available.

But the slips are just part of the bigger plan to revitalize the area on the 25-acre site. The project calls for the construction of 180 one- and two-bedroom apartments, a clubhouse, and pool. There will be a public space near the water, which could display artwork and host events like street fairs and festivals. If this project is completed and attracts interest as hoped, there is the possibility it would launch more development nearby, including residential housing, commercial retail and restaurants.

The planning board received the final plans and is reviewing them for completeness. No public meeting has been scheduled yet.

Cuomo to Fast-Track Infrastructure Projects Across NY

In his Tuesday press conference, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will expedite infrastructure projects as a focus of its plan for economic recovery. He specifically mentioned the new Penn Station and LaGuardia projects, saying that not only does the state need to create jobs, with commuter and air passenger volume down, this is the perfect time to take on those projects with limited disruption.

“There is no better time to build than right now,” Cuomo said.
With a battered budget, the state can’t take the lead on all projects, of course, so Cuomo is going to Washington, DC, on Wednesday to discuss funding with President Trump. Projects that would require federal support include the next piece of the Second Avenue Subway, the AirTrain at LaGuardia and, of course, the new Hudson River tunnel.
On Tuesday, he also talked about pushing forward on renewable energy projects like a cross-state power transmission line and a Canada-to-New York City power line to deliver clean energy.
“Let’s stop talking and let’s start doing,” he said. “Let’s do something creative. Let’s do it fast.”

NY Construction Restarts in Mid-Hudson Today, Long Island Tomorrow

Nonessential construction and manufacturing can resume today in the Mid-Hudson region of New York as Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster counties enter Phase I of reopening after the ordered shutdown to attempt to contain the novel coronavirus.

In Phase I, nonessential construction and manufacturing can resume along with wholesale businesses, retail for curbside or in-store pickup and agriculture, forestry and fishing. All businesses are required to follow new public health guidelines and have safeguards in place. Social distancing must be adhered to where possible and masks worn, as well as following more stringent cleaning and hygiene protocols.

Long Island’s Nassau and Suffolk counties will enter Phase I tomorrow.

Officials will be watching the number of positive tests, hospitalizations and deaths closely. If the numbers stay on track and any outbreak is contained through contact tracing and isolation, the regions could enter Phase II in about two weeks. Testing facilities are now open across the mid-Hudson region and Long Island.

The PAUSE order limiting which construction sites and businesses can be open remains in effect in New York City where the needed metrics for reopening have not yet been met. There is no estimated date for the five boroughs to enter Phase I but the mayor has said he hopes it can happen early- to mid-June.

RWJBarnabas Health & Rutgers Cancer Pavilion Faces Legal, Local Obstacles

It would be the first free-standing cancer facility in New Jersey. The $750 million RWJBarnabas Health & Rutgers Cancer Pavilion in New Brunswick is set to be 510,000 square feet with 12 stories. It will house an inpatient hospital with surgical suites, an outpatient center, an urgent care, and research labs. The joint project of Rutgers Cancer Institute and New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO) is projected to create 1,500 jobs. It is a joint project from RWJBarnabas Health. If all goes as planned.

While the healthcare world and cancer patients might eagerly await the dedicated facility many people the community oppose the project. The 1.6-acre site is currently the home of the Lincoln Annex Middle School, which has about 750 students. Part of the construction plan allocated $55 million to build a new three-story, 135,000 square-foot middle school. It would be a mile away and take three years to complete. In the meantime, students would be sent to a converted warehouse. Parents object not only to the interim setting but that the warehouse is outside of the neighborhood.

Governor Phil Murphy was asked about the project at his daily coronavirus press conference on Friday. Asked his opinion on the situation and if he would guarantee a new school would be built before the project started, Murphy touted New Jersey’s public education system before saying the proposed cancer center “is going to be a game-changer for a lot of things, including jobs and education. Beyond that, I’ve got not comment on that.”

State health commissioner Judith Persichilli, who received her nursing degree at Rutgers, was also asked about the situation and did not comment beyond saying that she had a lot of fond memories of her alma mater but “the bricks and mortar are not them.”

Demolition of the current school is targeted to begin in October with a projected completion of the cancer center in Fall of 2023.

But this week, in an effort to derail the plans, a lawsuit was filed by LatinoJustice on behalf of the school’s parents and students. It says the deed for the property requires that any construction on the land be a public school or administration building. Rutgers is part of the project, and a public university, but LatinoJustice lawyers do not believe that qualifies the cancer center as a “public school.”

The New Brunswick Board of Education approved plans for the proposed new school building and location in April, but opponents say it was done during the novel coronavirus pandemic and the public was left out of the process, unable to voice their opinion. A second legal action has actually been taken by the editor of New Brunswick Today against the Board of Education for violations of the Open Public Meetings Act. In January, the 4000-member local teachers union passed a unanimous resolution opposing the plan.

Some opponents might support the project if the new school is built first, however, that would obviously delay construction of the cancer center by years. For now, developers continue to target this fall to begin but for the project to continue at this site, the legal issues must be resolved.