Eleven Firms Respond to Redevelopment Inquiry

By FRED T. ROSSI
For Union County HAWK

SCOTCH PLAINS — Township redevelopment officials received Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) from 11 developers interested in redeveloping the four public properties in the downtown business district.

“We are pleased with the level of interest from redevelopers in the township’s RFQ and redevelopment efforts,” township officials said in a brief statement to Union County HAWK. Last Thursday’s deadline for receipt of RFQs was originally set for May 17 but extended by six weeks at the request of potential redevelopers so that their architects, planners, financiers and other professionals would have adequate time to assemble the required documents to submit to the township.

Interested redevelopers were asked to provide details on their financial background, their experience with other redevelopment projects, information about the staff who would be involved and their concepts for the 9.53 acres of property that the redeveloper will purchase from the township. Respondents also were asked to provide details on the phases of the redevelopment and how it would be scheduled.

The township council last November adopted the redevelopment plan that establishes the redevelopment standards including building height, density, exterior design and parking. The redevelopment plan calls for a maximum of 350 residential units spread amongst the downtown properties, with certain set-asides for affordable units and for veterans, to be located in new five-story developments where the municipal building and adjacent parking lot are now located as well as where the municipal parking lot in front of the library now exsists. A minimum of 15,000 square feet of first-floor commercial space will be included in those new buildings.

A new, 27,000-square-foot, two-story library will be built where the current library sits and 16,000 square feet for municipal government offices will be located on the third floor of that same building. The plans also call for development of two sizable public plazas — an 8,000-square-foot plaza on Park Avenue on the town hall property and a 5,500-square-foot plaza between the library and a new mixed-use building on Bartle Avenue.

The plan also calls for the police and fire department headquarters as well as the rescue squad to be relocated out of the downtown to township-owned property on Plainfield Avenue across from the public works facility. In May, the planning board gave its backing to a report by its planner that found that the adjoining lots on Plainfield Avenue — one a public works leaf and equipment storage yard across from Memorial Field and the other a conservation zone — met the criteria to be declared as an Area in Need of Redevelopment. And the township council last month authorized the preparation of a redevelopment plan for the Plainfield Avenue site.

Redevelopment officials will now begin the process of reviewing all of the RFQ responses for completeness, after which decisions will be made about which developer or developers to pursue.

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