Three residential projects coming to town

City to declare redevelopment zone for Maidenform

The City Council held a public hearing on Nov. 9 and passed an ordinance that would pave the way for the redevelopment of the Maidenform property on Avenue E. The redevelopment project proposed is a 99-unit residential development with other amenities.
The City Council introduced an ordinance in October that would designate the property as an area in need of redevelopment. The council also passed an ordinance that would establish a Gateway Redevelopment area for a number of properties.
“This gives us many more tools than we would otherwise have to help get that property redeveloped,” said City Business Administrator Steve Gallo.

“Next year will be a big year for us in terms of development.” – Steve Gallo
Redevelopment zones are particularly useful in helping projects get funding that would otherwise not be available in the commercial market. This is particularly true in regards to the Redevelopment Area Bond Financing Law, which is considered the most effective tool available in the much depleted redevelopment “tool box,” and would allow municipalities and developers to fill the gap in financing large redevelopment projects.
The four- and five-story brick former Maidenform complex takes up more than three blocks along the eastern side of Avenue E – including a massive parking lot.

From bras to parachutes

Maidenform became a reality in the early 1920s after Ida Rosenthal – originally a dress maker from Hoboken – and her husband William teamed up with dress shop owner Enid Bissett to create a new brassiere. The first building had been erected between 1890 and 1912, and was occupied by silk manufacturer Schwarzenach-Huber Company. The Maidenform Company bought the site in 1931 and operated there until 2007, when it moved to Woodbridge – leaving its vast Bayonne facilities virtually vacant.
During World War II, the company also made parachutes, head nets, mosquito bars, mattress covers, and a brassiere-like nylon vest for carrying courier pigeons when they traveled with the armed forces. Although the state has ruled that the building was eligible for historic listing, it was never put on the register.
Located within two blocks of the 22nd Street station of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, the former Maidenform site is ideal for commuters.
The plan proposed to preserve the exterior brick work and large windows of the existing four stories of the building at 142-180 Ave. E and crown it with two modern-looking floors to make an “affordable luxury” building with three retail units on the ground floor. Currently, the building ranges from four to five stories. Though the Planning Board has approved Stern’s request to raise the allowable building height to six stories, he said the additional floors might not be built right away, but as part of a later phase when market conditions allow.
Gallo said that Maidenform will be among three major development projects that will likely begin construction in 2012.

Kaplan Companies makes changes to downtown project

Among those other properties is a downtown project called Camelot at Bayonne. It is located on a 1-acre parcel that once housed a bus terminal but had been vacant for many years.
Originally slated as a condominium project, the once named Waterford project has gone through several changes.
Instead of condos, Camelot at Bayonne will become upscale rental units. The revised project was recently presented to the Bayonne Planning Board for approval.
The project, on Kennedy Boulevard between Second and Third streets, still offers views of the Bayonne Bridge.
Originally proposed as a six-story, 145-unit condominium building in Bayonne’s Bergen Point section, Kaplan Companies revised the plan to 84 condo units. The newly revised plan, which is likely to begin construction in 2012, looks to build 96 upscale rental units.
“We switched from condominiums to rental mode,” said Jason Kaplan. “There is a strong market for rental units.”
Although still working on some of the details, Kaplan said nearly everything is in place to begin construction in the spring.
“We’re really excited to get started,” he said. “Environmental cleanup will be done as we start construction.”
The large building, he said, will still feature two towers.
He said once construction starts, the first units will be on line within 12 to 15 months.
The units will feature granite topped counters and stainless steel, with a number of amenities, such as a fitness center, community room, outdoor area, barbeque, and parking below the building.
There is an existing bus stop in front of the building, so he said he hopes the project will attract commuters.

Development near 45th Street Light Rail is also scheduled to break ground

A 47-unit residential facility is proposed for Avenue E and East 45th Street, Mayor Mark Smith said.
This property is part of the city’s scattered site redevelopment, at a site that was previously approved by the Planning Board in 2008 for a similar project that would have consisted of luxury condominiums.
The site is one of the series of properties along Avenue E near the New Jersey Turnpike exit that the city is seeking to have upgraded. Two properties adjacent to this site are part of a proposed park expansion.
Because of its location near the light rail station, John Fussa, the city planner, said it is ideal for transit oriented development, which would provide affordable rentals to people who work nearby.
The units will be geared towards working people earning from between $20,000 to about $60,000 a year – although there will be some market-rate rentals, as well as six units dedicated to military veterans. Six units will be set aside for residents whose family includes someone suffering from multiple sclerosis.
“Next year will be a big year for us in terms of development,” Gallo said.
Al Sullivan may be reached at

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