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Upscale Route 208 Development On Track for Occupancy By Next Fall

Construction is underway on Fair Lawn Promenade, a mixed-use, town center-style development that will consist of 150 rental apartment units and 63,000 square feet of retail and office space.

In just over one year’s time, the 10-acre stretch of dirt sandwiched between Route 208 North and Pollitt Drive will be teeming with residential tenants, businesses and commercial office occupants.

Imagined as an upscale, mixed-use development with 150 rental apartment units split between two four-story buildings and buttressed from the busy highway by a trio of buildings dedicated as retail and office space, is expected to breathe new life into the lot where the Kodak film-processing plant previously stood and create a nexus between Fair Lawn’s industrial park and the state highway.

Construction crews began work on the project, located less than a quarter-mile from the Radburn train station, about six months ago.

“Our goal is to create a pedestrian-friendly destination with supreme access to transportation where people will want to live, work and shop,” said Scott Loventhal, director of development for Garden Homes Development and Garden Commercial Properties, which owns both the Promenade and the adjacent development. “When we ID’ed this site -- the former Kodak film-processing location -- we thought it would complement and do something different that wasn’t currently in the Fair Lawn housing stock.”

Unlike the garden-style low rises found throughout much of the community, the Promenade promises apartment dwellers more of an urban feel, characterized by swipe-card entrance into a common lobby manned by an attendant and numerous common rooms. Its target tenants are young professionals -- either singles or couples -- and empty nesters.

As such, the residential portion of the development – designed by Appel Design Group -- is not particularly family friendly. It includes neither a pool nor any sort of open play structure for children, and more than 90 percent of the units – which range in size from 900 square feet to almost 1,800 square feet -- will have one-or-two bedrooms. Rent is anticipated at $2 per square foot, or anywhere from $1,800 to $3,500 per month, not including utilities.

Between its two apartment buildings, the Promenade will feature a fitness room, card room, several general purpose rooms and an amenity deck where residents can sit and relax outdoors.

The development’s nearly 600 parking spaces are split evenly between residential and commercial use, with each apartment unit allocated two spaces, on average – at least one of which will be reserved as under-building parking.

Initially designed with 38 affordable housing units, the Promenade may ultimately make a monetary contribution to have its affordable units shifted to a senior housing project tentatively planned for the old Kem Co. property in the vicinity of River Road and Maple Avenue, adjacent to the new  store and CVS Pharmacy.

“There was an application made by an affordable housing group to place more affordable housing and transfer it from our site to that site,” Loventhal said. “That is currently pending with the governing body on whether they want to alter the plan and transfer.”

Loventhal said his group had not been a catalyst for nor an active participant in the affordable housing transfer and was only monitoring the plan’s progress.

“They approached us and asked us if we would consider, instead of actually constructing those units, making a monetary contribution that the town would utilize to acquire affordable units at [the Kem] location,” he said. “We’ll either build 38 affordable units as inclusionary or make a monetary contribution toward the township.”

Although Loventhal said it would be premature to announce what establishments would exist in either of the one-story standalone retail buldings, he said the developers were envisioning primarily national food and service-oriented retailers like a chain coffee shop, yogurt shop, burger joint or beauty salon.

With only 30,000 square feet of retail available, Loventhal said that large national grocery chains – like a Whole Foods -- are out of the question. Most shops will range in size from 1,500 to a few thousand square feet. Trader Joe’s had looked at the site, Loventhal said, but with a store already in Paramus that captures the Fair Lawn market and a footprint that would absorb two-thirds of the retail space, it wasn’t a great fit.

“We are talking to a number of really small gourmet grocers, green markets and delis that are no more than 6-to-10,000 square feet,” he said. “The configuration [of the development] gives rise to it being mostly small shops.”

The two-story office-retail combo building, considered the development’s signature building because of its visibility to motorists zooming by on Route 208, will be architecturally styled to resemble the Radburn Plaza building, minus the clock tower. The building’s first floor will house a mix of office and retail space and its second floor will be exclusively office. Loventhal said negotiations with one tenant that would take up a majority of the office space were about 90 percent complete. The remaining office space will be occupied by small tenants, he said.

Motorists will be able to access the Promenade from three points – one that connects directly to Route 208, another from Pollitt Drive and a third that affixes it to Fair Lawn Commons. Traffic signals are not proposed at any of the new intersections, but Loventhal said he was working with the county to make improvements to signal timing along Fair Lawn Avenue in an effort to improve traffic flow where the development is likely to have an impact.

Unlike the highly controversial Landmark development on Daly Field, the Promenade has generally garnered positive reactions from residents, Planning Board secretary Cathy Hochkeppel said.

“I’m amazed how few people came out for [meetings on] this, yet I have a hundred people at every meeting for the Landmark development," she said. "Except for a few neighbors, who were rightfully concerned but supportive of it, we really did not have a lot of public comments.”

The site, which has undergone both soil and groundwater remediation, has been given a green light for unrestricted – both commercial and residential – use. The soil remediation, Loventhal said, was completed in advance of construction that began earlier this year. The groundwater contamination will be monitored for years to come, but is not expected to be of any concern and will degrade on its own, he said.

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Stuart Pace August 13, 2012 at 03:38 PM
WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;)
Chris Antonelli August 13, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Hey Stu, see this part: Fair Lawn Promenade is expected to breathe new life into the lot where the Kodak film-processing plant previously stood and create a nexus between Fair Lawn’s industrial park and the state highway. Nowhere does it say previously open space or a softball field. And it's not in the center of town where it's going to totally hose anyone trying to get to or from the center of town during rush hour. But, 150 units is going to add to the traffic. And flooding. And schools. And aggravation. But for 3,500 bucks, you can have a view of a highway, or an industrial park. But believe it or not, I'd rather have the Daly Field project only because, from what I understand, they are going to be purchased by the dweller. Apartments are too transient.
Chris Antonelli August 13, 2012 at 04:59 PM
NJ needs to start voting the judges in. We can remove politicians, lets start with the judges next.
Stuart Pace August 13, 2012 at 05:15 PM
open space? Isn't Daly private property???? I keep forgettin....;) transients at 1800 a month? I can rent ya 3 bedroom in Radburn for less that gives you access to the pools, the tennis courts etc. This place will have so many commercial vacancies, the cops will have to patrol it constantly. Should have been a new Corrados. And it looks like they want to banish their low income obligations to the properties by the river. Nice!
IsmellaRatt August 13, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Must be lots of palms with grease on em!
BellairBerdan August 13, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Can't have the poor and the old folks promenading through the upscale view of the industrial park, Dunkin Donuts and klassy burger joint. Herd them all together into a ghetto by the river. So much for COAH units being fully integrated into the development.
Julia Enerson August 13, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Maybe those Concerned Neighbors over at Landmark can lend a lawyer or two for this project...
Stuart Pace August 13, 2012 at 11:21 PM
they aren't concerned with that project, tho you would think they would be alarmed that the Promenade circled to the left on the low income housing.(I'm here thru Sunday-try the veal)
Julia Enerson August 13, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Silly you, Stuart. Don't you know it's not in "their" backyard?
Kathy Moore August 14, 2012 at 01:41 PM
After the developer's comments last night, it doesn't seem like anyone is thinking the units are Daly Field are going to sell. This is for both the affordable and market rate units. If you build it they will come. Hello, transient village.
Chris Antonelli August 14, 2012 at 02:24 PM
There is a glut of houses on the market that can be had for way less than these are going to cost anyway. If you decided to give Landmark FMV for that land now, it would be half of what they paid for it.
Jenne August 14, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Wait until people are trying to trek down 208 in the morning. :) Actually, the outrage is for the description of renters as "transients"-- so, basically, pay $1800 to $3500 a month for housing, and have your neighbors describe you as a vagrant bum? Well, that's one way of keeping the traffic down-- making it clear residents aren't wanted.
es August 14, 2012 at 02:45 PM
What the COAH rules have become is a cancer on the state. A far cry from the "Mount Laurel" decision that spawned them: exclusionary zoning of a church group. As distasteful as it may be for the builder to pay off its obligation and reap the benefits (**the law is the law, right?**), the Kodak site is nearly useless for seniors who don't drive. At the least, Kem is within hailing distance of Shoprite and Pathmark. Another sham by a builder looking out for number 1. Now, about the traffic at that corner...
Walter Weglein August 14, 2012 at 05:33 PM
At certain times Fair Lawn Avenue today is HELL ON WHEELS...what's it gonna be like when adding the Promenade escapade? Gridlockgridlockgridlock...wave goodbye to Fair Lawn as we knew it...Say hello to Garfield-Lodi and other Garden State garden spots.
fughedaboutit August 14, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Real nice walter! You insult Garfield and Lodi like they are beneath you and the residents of Fair Lawn..shame on you
Julia Enerson August 15, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Isn't that special - developing on land that was privately owned and then sold within the constructs of law. Imagine that! Who was the attorney for the Kodak property?
Tommy P August 15, 2012 at 01:52 PM
What a wonderful idea, sell food on top of brown field and send seniors to a dirtier brownfield.
John C August 16, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Every town needs low housing project where crime cam breed. This will be great once everyone finds out they are living on contaminated ground. Cant wait to leave this town and state
fred August 19, 2012 at 11:46 AM
You are wrong. It will not be like Garfield-Lodi. In years to come, it will be like PATERSON!
LENNY August 20, 2012 at 03:13 PM
YOU CANNOT AT MANY TIMES PULL OUT TO FAIR LAWN AVE BY BORO HALL NOW. WHAT IS IT GOING TO BE WHEN THIS PROJECT IS DONE. FIRE FIGHTERS HAVE TO CROSS TO GET TO FIRE CO1 FOR CALLS. SENIORS HAVE TO PULL OUT FROM THE CENTER. THIS AREA NEEDS A LIGHT LIKE THEY DID ON THEIR PROJECT . LETS GET THEM TO PAY FOR IT SORRY TO LATE AGAIN OUR PLANNING BOARD GAVE AWAY GETTING NOTHING FOR THE TOWN LET US NOT FORGET THE INCREASE WE MIGHT GET TO ADD ON TO OUR SCHOOLS DUE TO INCREASE IN KIDS. OTHER TOWNS GET FROM THE PEOPLE THAT WANT TO BUILD TO PAY FOR THESE ITEMS HERE IN FAIR LAWN WE JUST GIVE IT AWAY AND ADD ON TO THE HOMEOWNERS TO PAY.

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