Category Archives: Uncategorized

Approval Sought to Turn Historic Philadelphia Firehouse Into Apartments

In July 2020, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority first approved the sale of the Firehouse 29 building for redevelopment into 29 apartment units. The building, which resides at 1221 N. Fourth St., sold for $1.6 million in 2020 to developer Jeffrey Tubbs. 

He is associated with the Make the World Better Foundation, a nonprofit organization that NFL player Connor Barwin also co-founds. The developers gained ZBA approval in January 2021; however, it is still under review by the Philadelphia Historical Commission because of the historical nature of the property. 

What Are the Details of the Project?

The Make the World Better Foundation is working with the design firm Continuum Architecture & Design, PC, and Philadelphia to restore the existing building and build a five-story building on a lot in the rear of the property. The property is zoned multi-family, so the proposed use of apartments is not against zoning, but because the building is on the Historic Register, it requires additional approvals. 

Plans include:

  • rehabilitation of the existing facade
  • installation of green roofing 
  • demolition of the existing roof with the construction of a one-story addition 
  • the construction of the five-story building in the back. 

There are plans for a roof deck with included amenities. Nine apartments will reside on the upper floors, and new window installments will be compatible with the original building’s old historical “look”. There will also be ground floor parking available, and some units will be designated affordable housing units.

Why Is This Project Important?

The historic 127-year-old building has been vacant since 1979 when the firehouse moved to a modern station on Girard St. The building has been used only to house paperwork and public record. 

Not only will having apartments, some of them affordable housing, put the building to good use while renovating it and preserving its history, but there will also be some aspects of community revitalization because Make the World Better is involved. While the foundation is typically involved with commercial projects, there will be mentoring and apprenticeship programs to better the community. 

Because developers are still waiting for approval from the Philadelphia Historical Commission, no target date for completion has been set. 

For more information on this project and others, visit our website.

Town of Hempstead Rejects the Rezoning of Oceanside Jewish Center Property

The Town of Hempstead, Long Island, has rejected the application to rezone property previously owned by the Oceanside Jewish Center to build a senior assisted living facility. In September 2019, the center announced their plan to sell more than half their land to developer Mandalay Holdings; construction was expected to begin this year. Real estate investor Charles Weinraub, the CEO of Mandalay Holdings, is fairly well-known in Nassau County. Still, when residents began to voice their concerns with the redevelopment, the project stalled.

Details of the Original Proposal

The Jewish center sold 24,000 feet of their 40,000-square foot property after a decline in membership, with a plan to renovate the building with funds from the sale. In October 2019, Weinraub proposed five ideas to residents and the town Zoning Board. His proposals included:

  • a storage unit facility
  • a 120-unit apartment building
  • an assisted-living facility
  • a medical office
  • a 120-unit senior housing complex

Residents strongly opposed these ideas, citing concerns about overdevelopment, traffic and parking. Weinraub argued that, of the projects he proposed, the senior complex and assisted living facility were the least likely to create more traffic. Nevertheless, after the meeting concluded, the Oceanside Civic Center met and organized a petition against the project, gaining over 1,400 signatures. 

The Need for Rezoning

The land is zoned for single-family homes only. There is currently one, single-family home on the property. The town was asked in February 2021 to rezone to allow for a 119-bed assisted living facility. 

The Town Vote

On March 9, 2021, the Town of Hempstead unanimously voted to deny the rezoning of the property. Representative Anthony D’Esposito of the Fourth District, who initially moved to deny the application, said “… communication must continue, as it is clear that there are traffic and parking concerns raised that have not been adequately addressed.”

For more information on this project and others, visit our website.

Bound Brook’s Downtown Development Continues After Massive Fire

Bound Brook, NJ, has seen the expansion of retail and apartment complexes over the past decade. More recently, the Meridia East and Meridia West complexes have taken shape. The impetus to develop the city came after the Green Brook Flood Control project concluded in 2016—removing any disastrous flood risks.

Undeterred by a multi-building fire in January of 2020, Meridia West is slated to be a 60-unit residential building erected by Capodagli Property Company, LLC—the same firm completing Meridia Main Station. The firm first started changing the city’s landscape with their 75-unit Meridia Main Station project several years ago at 534 E Main Street.

Meridia West

The developers plan to construct 60 apartments in a mixed-use development at 2-16 West Main Stree, west of Drake Street.

The project is the latest in the growth of Bound Brook’s development downtown, even after a fire destroyed several buildings under construction on West Main Street in January of 2020. The massive project will include six lots on the northside of West Main Street.

Meridia East

This six-story building will have 75 residential units above a retail complex. Located at 1, 7, and 11 East Main St between John & Church St, the site of a 2020 building fire required the site to be completely demolished.

Thanks to one-seat rides to Manhattan on NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley Line, and relatively inexpensive real estate, the growing city has become attractive to developers and potential tenants.

Both complexes will have amenities such as laundry facilities, business centers, and are easily accessible by train. 

Since 2017, the Bound Brook Revitalization Program’s goal, which Meridia East and Meridia West fall into, has been to make the city more pedestrian-friendly, bringing businesses into the storefronts arming them with the ability to thrive and grow.

For more information on this project and others, visit our website.

U-Del Financial Tech Building Reaches Halfway Point

In February 2021, the last piece of carbon steel was added to the FinTech building at the University of Delaware Science, Technology, and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus. The beam was 30 feet across, weighed 1,500 pounds, and contractors lifted it 92 feet into the air. This beam marks the halfway point of construction on the FinTech building, which began on April 15, 2020.

What Are the Details of the Project?

The building, upon completion, will be six stories tall and will have 100,000 square feet in total. FinTech is short for “financial technology,” a rapidly growing industry in recent years and a field of study that the University of Delaware STAR campus wanted to dedicate an entire structure to it. The building is built through a partnership with UD, Delaware Technology Park (DTP), and Discover Bank. The $38 million project is funded in part by Discover Bank. 

Some of the more intricate details of the building itself include labs and centers within the building that are part of the University of Delaware’s College of Engineering and Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. These will focus on data analysis, financial analytics, cybersecurity, and human-machine learning. The Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP) will also relocate from a different campus location.

Delaware Technology Park is also sponsoring spaces within the building for startups to develop, with access to tech assistance and other amenities. Delaware’s Small Business Development Center will also be housed in the building and support business development and education.

In general, the building will house academic centers, data and technology centers, financial institutions, nonprofits, small businesses, and data and technology experts. 

The FinTech building will also house two colleges from the University of Delaware: the Lerner College of Business and Economics and the College of Engineering.

Why Is This Project Important?

Financial technology building is growing globally as an industry. FinTech-related companies grew from $18.9 billion in 2013 to $111.8 billion in 2018. This is according to a recent report by the Delaware Prosperity Partnership. Delaware is already well-known for its financial sectors, such as in Wilmington, so students have opportunities for local positions after graduation. 

The project is expected to be completed in November 2021. For more information on this and other projects, visit our website.

In Riverhead NY, Plans to Transform a Pub With a History of Violence

Plans have been submitted to the Town of Riverhead to build a supermarket at 133-139 Railroad Ave., which was once home to the Loose Caboose Pub and Danny’s Den. The pub had its liquor license revoked in 2019 after several violent incidents that left people seriously injured.

What Are the Details of the Project?

After the pub was shut down in 2019, the property was bought by 139 R.R. Plaza Inc. in August 2019. The building also houses a barber shop and a taxi dispatcher. The site plans submitted to the Town of Riverhead detail improvements to the façade of the building, as well as a change of use (from pub to retail), as well as improvements to lighting, drainage, and the parking lot. 

This particular building is slightly more complicated than others as it resides in the Riverhead Historic District as well as the Railroad Avenue Urban Renewal Area, both of which require approval from the Town Board rather than the Planning Board. The project is considered a Type I action, which requires a 30-day coordinated review of multiple agencies: town, state, and county. 

How Is This Project Useful?

Overall, town officials and residents are very much in favor of the facelift, as the former pub caused many disturbances and violent events during its tenure, even going back to 1996, when an unsolved murder occurred on the property. According to developers, the grocery store is intended to be a small shop, where residents are able to pick up necessities and do light shopping, so it will be a convenience for residents.

As of March 2021, the Town Board has been granted Lead Agency in the site plan review process, so there is no word yet as to when construction can begin.

For more information on this and other projects, visit our website.

Plans for a COVID Safe Office Complex in Malvern, PA May be a Sign of Things to Come


Developer Mark Nicoletti of Philadelphia Suburban Development Corp. has recently announced plans for a new office complex in Malvern, Chester County, called “The Aire.” However, this particular office complex will be slightly different than any other office complex that has come before it. Nicoletti aims to design the complex with health in mind in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In particular, the buildings’ design will include no communal spaces—this means no conference or board rooms, no cafeterias or lunchrooms, or any other areas where employees could collaborate or cluster. 

What Are the Details of the Project?

The Aire will be a three-building complex that will total 750,000 square feet of space overall. It is a rebuild of the property that Philadelphia Suburban Development Corp. purchased from Liberty Property in 2020 for $10.2 million. 

In addition to having no conference or lunch spaces, there will also be no amenity spaces or lobbies in any buildings. Instead, there will be private balconies, high-end airflow, and air filtration systems, and additional entrances and exits provided so that employees do not have to wait at elevators or halls. The buildings will be located at 3 Atwater Dr., 15 Atwater Dr., and 6 Great Valley Parkway.

How Is This Project Useful?

Nicoletti hopes that it will give employers the confidence to let their employees return to the workplace. As construction completes, businesses will have the option to renew leases or move; however, this office building will likely be smaller and cost more than the previous lease. Because many businesses learned that many employees can efficiently work from home, it is expected that not everyone will return to the office full-time. However, office vacancy rates in Philadelphia are high, so this could be a risky venture. Philadelphia does have a large life science sector, which requires employees to be onsite. As more employees return to the office, developers are hopeful this will help fill offices, and a safe office is more attractive than a “non-safe” one. 

Construction has not yet begun on the project, and developers have declined to reveal its cost; however, an estimated completion for the project is the end of 2022. 

For more information on this and other projects, visit our website.

Brooklyn Trying to Catch Up on Affordable Housing

Plans are being proposed to tear down a Chase Bank building in Brighton Beach at 1002 Brighton Beach Avenue to make way for a taller apartment building that would also face Coney Island Beach Avenue. The proposal is for the complex to be multi-use; in addition to apartments, the plans that have been filed reveal indications for commercial space and office space. The complex would also offer affordable housing units. 

What Are the Details of the Project?

According to plans, the building will be 14 stories high and will include 156 apartments. 

Platinum Realty Associate are developing the project, and the developer plans to have 39 to 47 affordable housing units within the complex under the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program in New York. 

For a family of three, each unit would cost  $38,440 to $133,120. Under the building, there are plans for parking with 110 parking spots and room for bicycles. The ground floor would be dedicated to retail space, with entrances from both Coney Island Beach Avenue and Brighton Beach Avenue, and the second floor would be dedicated to offices. The second-floor design includes a glass facade. 

What Happens Next with the Project?

Since plans have just been introduced, there are several processes that the developers must go through to get construction underway. This particular project requires rezoning through the city, and this process is known as ULURP, or Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, which takes roughly seven months to complete. In December 2020, Platinum Realty Associates submitted an environmental review and a land-use rezoning application to City Planning, but these still must undergo the public review process. As of now, the property is zoned as R6/C1-2 and R7-1/C2-4. The developers intend to change the zoning to C4-4D zoning. This type of zoning allows for a building that is bigger and taller. Also, the property is in a flood zone, so the developers must undertake flood-proofing measures underground, which was included in the environmental report.

Why Is This Project Important?

While there are similar apartment buildings along Coney Island Beach Avenue and Brighton Beach Avenue, Brooklyn lags behind the other boroughs for affordable housing units. This particular complex will add affordable housing units for families that need them. 

If plans and zoning are approved, the developers hope to open the complex in 2024. 

For more information on this and other projects, visit our website.

Construction at M Station Office Park is the Biggest Development Project Morristown, NJ Has Seen in Decades

The M Station Office Park Project is Morristown, New Jersey’s biggest development project in decades, and it was finally approved by the Morristown Town Council in October 2020. By a 6-to-1 margin, the council voted the project a go as a PILOT project, short for Payments in Lieu of Taxes. This offers a 30-year tax break and is intended to quadruple revenue back to the town, which it had formerly been receiving from the Midtown Shopping Center.

What Does the Project Entail?

The proposed M Station will have nearly 400,000 square feet of office space and retail over the space of two separate buildings, as well as a parking garage, public promenade, and plaza. Scotto Properties and SJP Properties are developing the project. The developers have agreed to complete Phase One, the traffic work, and the first building by October 2022. 

The first building is a six-story building for Deloitte, an accounting firm, which will move its operations from Parsippany to Morristown. Known as M Station East, the Deloitte building will comprise more than 110,000 square feet of space and will be on Morris and Spring Streets. Deloitte will occupy floors two through six, and the lobby will have roughly 10,000 square feet dedicated to retail space and other services.

Traffic plans include the inclusion of a roundabout for the intersection of Morris and Spring Streets to reduce traffic for those entering and leaving. This must be completed in Phase One as well.

However, Phase Two, includes a parking deck, public plaza, and seven-story office building, is only required to begin in eight years with an agreement for completion three years later, which is why the project could take up to 12 years. Developers do hope the project does not take that long to complete.

Why Is This Project Important?

Morristown Town Administrator Jillian Barrick believes that the addition of the M Station will boost the economy of local restaurants and businesses and will bring approximately 1,400 new jobs into Morristown. Town officials believe that M Station will generate roughly $1 billion for Morristown annually, which is four and a half times more than the current revenue, especially given the COVID-19 crisis. The project is also agreeing to contribute $2.5 million to the affordable housing trust fund of Morristown. 

Town officials and developers on the project broke ground on M Station in November 2020, and the first building is required to be completed by October 2022. 

For more information on this and other projects, visit our website.

After 20 Years, Shinnecock Indian Nation Wins Battle to Build Southampton Casino

The Hamptons can look forward to its first casino. After 20 years of battling, the Shinnecock Tribe finally won the right to start construction on the project in Summer 2021, called Shinnecock Casino Hamptons

The Shinnecock Council of Trustees had wanted permission from New York State to build but were “rebutted” each time, so the council turned to the National Indian Gaming Commission for help. The Commission granted the Shinnecock Council permission to operate a Class II casino on its land in the Southampton Reservation. The Seminole Tribe is also helping to back the project.

What Are the Details of the Casino?

The tribal land is located just off Montauk Highway in the Shinnecock Hills section of Southampton and will be 76,000 square feet. Plans also include a bingo parlor, 30 Texas Hold ‘em table games and 1,000 video lottery terminals. The tribe would like the casino to open roughly 18 to 24 months after construction begins. The Shinnecock Council estimates that it will create 300 to 400 jobs, many of which will be filled by Shinnecock tribe members, with others filed by locals in the East End. As of February 2021, no architect has been selected for the project.

What Are Some Potential Problems with the Project?

Some local Southampton officials oppose the project because of its location but cannot force the council members to reconsider because it is tribal land. However, there has been some discussion. Some Southampton officials have asked the council if they would consider a move closer to Manhattan for an upgrade to a Class III casino, and council members did not say it was out of the question. 

Because of this uncertainty, it remains to be seen if this project will be built in Southampton or closer to the city. However, it seems likely that the Shinnecock Council wants to build this project on their land.

For more information on this and other projects, visit our website.

Seven Residential Towers on the South Bronx Waterfront

The skyline of the South Bronx will be different after the construction of the Bankside Apartments is completed. Located on both sides of the Third Avenue Bridge, the first of seven buildings will be completed by the end of 2021.

As of today, the full price of the project will cost nearly $1 billion. Due in part to New York State’s Affordable New York program, 30% will be “income-generated”—or simply put, rented below market rates.

Why It’s Groundbreaking

In total, it will be seven different residential towers over the South Bronx’s first public waterfront part. 

Looking outward, it overlooks the Hudson and East Rivers, including the World Financial Center area as well as Greenpoint Landing.

Looking inward, the project hopes that incorporating sustainable features will land them a LEED certification.

Bankside Park Features and Amenities

Since it broke ground in the autumn of 2019, Brookfield Properties has made public how expansive the amenities are. The 1,350-unit development includes a thoughtful layout and is geared towards retail and accessible public spaces. It is near bars and restaurants, art galleries, and public transport (the 4, 5, and 6 are nearby). Features include:

  • 34,000sf of public waterfront parkland
  • 15,000sf of retail
  • 598 parking spaces

Bridging the Past and Present

Designed by Hill West Architects, the necklace of the towers and its facades will pay homage to the industrial past of the area. Glass, brick, rustic masonry, and dark metal elements are juxtaposed and provide an artistic and architectural feature.

For more information on this and other projects, visit our website.