Planning Board Approves 151-Unit Apartment Complex For Redevelopment Area

Architect Robert Cogan testifies at the May 17 Planning Board meeting.

A 151-unit apartment complex in the Churchill redevelopment area was approved May 17 by the Planning Board.

The project will be the fourth in that area by its developer, RPM Redevelopment Group of Montclair.

The project will consist of five, 3-story buildings, with the centerpiece being a nearly half-acre park. The units will contain 1-, 2- and 3-bedrooms.

The project is targeted for a roughly 5-acre tract bordered by Berry Street and School and Voorhees avenues, in the Churchill-Millstone redevelopment area. Part of the land is the former site of Buist, a HVAC contractor, which was taken by the township through eminent domain earlier this year after negotiations with the owner broke down.

Peter Lanfrit, the developer’s attorney, told the board that 55 percent of the apartments will be targeted to low- and moderate-income renters, and 45 percent of the units will be offered at market rates.

There will be 48 1-bedroom units, 79 2-bedroom units and 24 3-bedroom units, according to documents supplied by RPM. Two of the 3-bedroom apartments will be set aside for live-in superintendents, according to the RPM documents.

The development will consist of two 43-unit buildings, one 53-unit building, and two 6-unit buildings surrounding a large common green, according to the documents.

The buildings will also offer communal office and recreational space, in-unit washer/dryers for the market-rate units, personal storage lockers and a state-of-the-art fitness center, according to the documents.

“We’re trying to create a place, not just buildings and space between buildings,” Robert Cogan, the project’s architect, said. “We tried to focus our design around the park area, make it a gathering place. It’s for everybody in the neighborhood.”

A rendering of the project.

The project has been making its way through various departments in the township and the township’s Redevelopment Authority for the past three years.

The project will also offer a number of 2-story townhome-style apartments which will have front doors and stoops facing out toward the park.

“We want to encourage street activity walkability, eyes on the street, things like that,” Cogan said.

The plan received unanimous approval from the board.

The plan “goes a long way to creating something the redevelopment agency would like to see happen,” board member Bob Mettler said.

This is RPM’s fourth project in the redevelopment areas located roughly around Route 27. The company also built  Voorhees Station, Franklin Boulevard Commons and the Berry Street Commons.

RPM’s Brendan McBride said the company hoped to be able to start construction by the end of the year, after financing was secured.


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