What once was one redevelopment project is now two.
Redevelopment planners Daniel Hernandez and Phil Abramson, of Jonathan Rose Companies, gave Town Council an update Thursday on , which incorporate land previously utilized as a junk yard and a warehouse once owned by Bell Atlantic.
The Bell Atlantic building, long since abandoned, and its land is now owned by Tom Maoli, of ROI Management. A representive of Maoli's company came to a neighborhood meeting in April where the planners presented concepts to the public, and has since expressed his interest in joining the project.
The two redevelopment areas would comprise 71 units–37 rental units in the rehabbed Bell Atlantic buildings, 30 townhouse units on the adjacent property, a 1.2-acre former junkyard owned by Peter Cippolini and Joseph Lobozzo of Leonia Developers LLC. Leonia's parcel also would include four units marketed as affordable housing, which may or may not be self-contained in a rehabilitated property on Morris Street.
The decision to utilize an already-existing structure, Abramson said, came down to what worked best to maintain the character of the neighborhood. "Is it better to tear down or rebuild," he asked.
While plans are still fluid, the planners noted one of the main elements they are trying to incorporate into the project is connectivity, between the two developments as well as to the rest of the neighborhood and beyond. That includes features such as pedestrian walkways, which would provide a natural extension to the train station, .
"This is a big win," Abramson said. "We're getting two developers on the same page. We went from the removal of one blighted site to the redevelopment of two blighted sites."
The next redevelopment meeting is scheduled for Aug. 16, to be held in the , third floor of .