Edison Redevelopment Stalls at Planning Board

Traffic engineer says there will be 'no significant negative impacts ... to the surrounding area' in West Orange, citing a new traffic study.


The Edison redevelopment project continues to hit delays as the Planning Board again did not vote on the proposed changes to the altered site plan. 

A new traffic study found that the changes to the plan will have “no significant negative impacts ... to the surrounding area” or intersections, said traffic engineer Bill Lothian, of Langan Engineering, speaking on behalf of Prism-Green Urban Renewal Associates IV LLC, a subsidiary of the redeveloper.

The original traffic study for the project was done in 2007 when the redeveloper, Prism Green Capital Partners LLC, was proposing to build condominiums with more than 660 parking spaces.

The redeveloper has since proposed to offer rental units with 642 parking spaces instead, in addition to . 

“It is our opinion,” said Lothian, “that the analysis results show better results than the results that we got in the 2007 study. The conclusion that we reached [is] that there should be no perceptible increase in traffic ... due to this change ....”

Skepticism was voiced by residents and Councilman Joe Krakoviak at the meeting that adding more than 600 cars to the downtown area will not have a sizable impact. 

Lothian said that those vehicles will not be coming and going all at the same time, so they will not “significantly" affect traffic. However, he did add there will be a “slight increase” in the morning and afternoon traffic near the redevelopment. 

Each traffic study was conducted on a single weekday. The most recent traffic study was done approximately three months ago on a Friday.

There were no recommendations to widen or place traffic signals at the intersections of Lakeside Avenue at Main Street, and Charles Street at Main Street, said Lothian. Vehicles will enter and exit the parking garage via Charles Street.

Jitney service is now also in question. Planning Board Chairman Robert Bagoff noted that in the original 2007 testimonials, the redeveloper testified it planned to offer a Jitney service. However, now that service was not gauranteed. 

Whether or not a Jitney service is offered will now be based “on demand," said Lothian.  

The redeveloper first went before the Planning Board on July 11 and unveiled a scaled down version of the Edison Village project. 

Among the various changes to the original 2007 include:

• High-end penthouses were eliminated;

• The average size of rental units was decreased;

• Studio apartments jumped from nine to 33 units;

• One-bedroom apartments increased from 121 to 181 units;

• Two-bedroom apartments dropped from 128 to 82 units; and

• Three-bedroom apartments decreased from 18 to six units. 

The redeveloper will continue to seek approval for its altered site plan when it goes before the Planning Board again September 5 at 8 p.m. at town hall. 

Project August 02, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Mr. Englert, you are not smarter than a fifth grader, and so am I. So stop responding to everything that everyone wrote. Enjoy your retirement. I was just on a 5 day cruise for old folks like us, do yourself a favor, it would be relaxing to be on one. There is only one mayor in this town......You are no expert here.
Brett Kaiser August 02, 2012 at 08:03 PM
>> Gary Englert: The existing roadways were ALWAYS an impediment to any redevelopment of Main Stree and WHY anyone willing to invest proposed precisely the same kind of mixed use vision that remains on the table. OK...so does that answer the question, does Main Street Suck TODAY? YOu lost me on the second part..as to what does it have to do with the units? I have no idea, nor Care. I use Scotaland, or go Overland to get across town..and Prospect and Eagleraock at Rush is such a joy, I'd ratyher go throughthe hood..top up of course... >>The only real difference being the method of paying for the financing (renting the units as opposed to selling them). Does it really matter whether one leases or buys a vehicle outright? No, it's simply an alternative form of financing. Prism has just changed the mix of the "BMWs" on their lot...with more 1, 3 and 5 Series than 6 or 7 Series but, they're still going to be pretty nice cars.
Brett Kaiser August 02, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Mr. Project. Pony up Man(???) If you want to flame..use your real freakin name. Otherwise you are nothing but a biggoted coward, who does no good for the town...IF you are from town, you worthless troll...
Project August 02, 2012 at 08:10 PM
As said before, it is run by Mr. Diaz. How could you turn around and change the project in such short time. Lies, lies, lies. Mr. Diaz knows that if he get his way no one in West Orange can stop him from remaking this town. He will reshape this town like Little Havanna, the slum city of Miami. Where did he get his money anyway? Just thinking, it may have come through the tunnels of Arizona and Texas, I know that Mike will block me for this, but you think it, I sayit. Please stop blood money from building in our town. Let Mr. Diaz take his money to Irvington where he belongs. Taxpayer should not subsidize his project. Again, where did he get his money? Perhaps, Mr. Diaz could answer this question.
Project August 02, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Point well taken Brett!!!!Thanks for the compliments, however, deep within you know that this true. Again 12 people will reside in a studio apartment. I am a prophet, not a bigot. I have seen it happening already. You will find beer bottle all around the apartments. They will just add to the garbage that already liter sections of downtown. We live it, you read about it. No bigotry here. Just the fact.
Project August 02, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Brett I believe that you are used to be called name, I am not.
Jake Freivald August 02, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Gary's discussion about the jitney is all wrong. Do you see how he's trying to make it sound like the cost of the jitney will reduce our PILOT? Shame on me for not thinking about it before, but I'm pretty sure the PILOT is based on gross revenues, not net profit, so this $50,000 expense doesn't cost us anything. They promised a jitney, so on what basis are they taking that away? For the jitney to be profitable to Prism, it would need to increase demand enough to pay for itself. $50K / year divided among 302 units is $166 / year, or $14 / month per unit. Maybe they don't think it will drive up demand that much. However, it's probably in our best interests to fill those apartments with commuters rather than leaving them open only to people who work in the local area. I'd have to think about that more, but it seems likely. Gary's "explanations" are therefore nonsense. The bottom line is that they promised a jitney, and now they don't want to pay for it, apparently because they don't like the cost. Stand by closely now, and make sure that the Town Council doesn't say that *we* should provide a jitney.
Gary Englert August 02, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Jake Freivald: If I'm wrong about the PILOT being based on gross and not net revenues, my assertions regarding any positive economic impact (for the Township) may well be wrong but, absent any proof to the contrary, your assertion is no better than mine. Let's find out definitively, shall we? That said, I still believe its much ado about nothing as this is an amenity Prism may or may not provide for their tenants...and really doesn't change the paradigm for the Township. Frankly, I'd be disinclined to say a NYC commuter is a "better tenant" than one who is not; so long as they can pay the rent, what does that possibly matter to anyone? There are scads of middle-upper middle class folks in the area who don't go to NY to make a respectable living.
Gary Englert August 02, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Mr. Freivald is correct; the PILOT is based on gross rental receipts and a jitney would have no effect on the Townships' income.
Will Rod August 02, 2012 at 10:47 PM
The market value assessment done to support revenue projections, the pilot agreement and bond issuance is NO longer valid. The amenities and design have changed. All of it should be reevaluated. We all saw this coming. I'm afraid this is just the beginning. Just wait...
Brett Kaiser August 03, 2012 at 04:25 AM
>> Project: Brett I believe that you are used to be called name, I am not. What are you talkig about???? Another question to Address Mr.Project. Aren't there laws on the books against what your are describing? >> What is the Jitney service? As said long before it came down to these types of units, this place will be filled with illegal aliens who jumped the borders. You will have 12 of them in a studio apartment. This is rampant in the downtown area already. And..For your edification, the town supports a Jitney Service to the train stations oin the Morning an Afternoon. I was arider for many years and it is a grat and valuable service. I got involved when we were having problems a while ago, but the town straightend that out right away. Grat Town, Great Services, Great People, Great Schools. Go find another town/ Sate that offers so much for the price we pay.
Tom G. August 03, 2012 at 12:12 PM
@Gary - Nobody is saying that NYC commuters are "better" tenants than anyone else, however, having the jitney service is one major selling point to attract tenants into this building. Let's face reality - the site of the Edison project really doesn't have much going for it to make it attractive to potential renters, and as far as I'm concerned, we need every possible amenity to attract people to that building. The last thing anyone wants is a couple hundred apartments sitting vacant.
Leigh-Ann Zaolino August 03, 2012 at 12:39 PM
I could not agree with you more Barry...
Leigh-Ann Zaolino August 03, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Again... you summed it up perfectly. This is just another apartment building plain and simple. When the economy turns around my guess is they will attempt a condo conversion. In the end developers only care about their balance sheet; once the development is completed they walk away smiling to the bank. They will hire a management company and be done with us. Anything at this point is better than a pit on Main St but let's not sugar coat this too much. It is what it is...
Leigh-Ann Zaolino August 03, 2012 at 02:00 PM
http://corp.delaware.gov/ <--- go digging and figure out who is in these corporations. FILE NUMBER ENTITY NAME 3975056 PRISM GREEN ASSOCIATES III LLC 3898174 PRISM GREEN ASSOCIATES II LLC 4157471 PRISM GREEN ASSOCIATES IV LLC 3638619 PRISM GREEN ASSOCIATES LLC
barry_geltzeiler August 03, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Gary, unfortunately Prism pitched a Macy's but are delivering a KMart. Macy's brings higher end stores, KMart brings Dollar Trees type of stores. You said many post a go that Prism is being generous. Prism is proposing apartments they can rent so they make money which are smaller lower rent apartments. They cut back amentities and size to address the market on Main Street (that they knew exisited all along but lied to us) so they can make money. Prism ONLY does whats best for Prism, its become quite obvious. Why are they cutting the Jitney? Because Prism knows and always knew that the NYC commuter will never rent here. This has been a sham. Gary you can keep drinking the Kool Aid, but I am done. Diaz and Prism has operated in a shady fashion. If I was doing business with them, I would be backing out of the deal and tell them to go screw. They are very sketchy as the kids would say. I can only hope the planning board puts them through the ringer.
Gary Englert August 03, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Tom G.: My comment about commuters versus local tenants was in response to this remark by Jake Freivald: "However, it's probably in our best interests to fill those apartments with commuters rather than leaving them open only to people who work in the local area. I'd have to think about that more, but it seems likely." I simply think where someone works is irrelevant when it comes to filling the building. I also think it's rather ridiculous for us to be micromanaging the marketing of the project and dictating what amenties Prism needs to provide in order to attract the tenants at the price points and requisite demographic they need. This is analogous to telling Pal's they've got to put a slice of pickle on the plate or nobody is going to buy a hamburger, when hamburgers are sold the world over without one. I see Edison Village much like the "anchor store" in a fledgling shopping mall; you start with a Macy's and you expand from there...and that's precise hope for Main Street.
Gary Englert August 03, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Project: While I don't claim to be an expert in real estate devlopment or its marketing,I am alos not a cowarldy anonymous, Internet nitwit (such as yourself) and civic involvement is a right, responsibility and privilege of citizenship that I choose to exercize.
Gary Englert August 03, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Barry Getlzeiler: Rather than positing that Prism was "being generous," I opined hat the parking being provided now appeared to be generous given the increases in studios and one bedrooms, and the likelihood of only a single driver occupying many of them. Preferring to deal with fact, for me, the jury is out on just how "sketchy" Prism is being about all of this. Architectural renderings of the interiors of a sampling of units, and a requisite materials list, would satisfy any concerns I may have about how luxury (or not) the finished product is going to be.
Steven Serebrenik August 05, 2012 at 02:13 PM
IS THIS GOING TO UPLIFT THE AREA OR NOT????? BUILDING HIGH END CONDOS DO. BUILDING APARTMENTS DON'T. People who own things take care of them. Some people who RENT do not! PERIOD!
Steven Serebrenik August 05, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Gary Englert August 05, 2012 at 02:56 PM
@ Steven Serebrenik: Yes, Edison Village is designed to be the anchor that will rejuvenate the area and, absent any evidence to the contrary, how the complex is fnanced (residents carrying a mortgage or paying rent) really should matter a bit. Can you tell if the car in your neighbor's driveway is leased, financed or own outright by looking at it? Why would you even care? I learned a long time ago never to deal in absolutes when talking about people and not ALL "people who own things take care of them." My understanding is that Edison Village will be a luxury rental property, albeit without the fit and finish options that would have been available to purchasers of condos.
Gary Englert August 05, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Steven Serebrenik: As with most things, the devil is in the details and, since you're "NOT FULLY UP ON THIS DEVELOPEMENT," how can you opine that anyone has "GOT IT RIGHT?"
Steven Serebrenik August 05, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Gary, I don't live in my care...Don't understand your comparison. I grew up in the Bronx and have had experience with this type of building that turned into drug and crime ridden havens. Already, we are paring it down to rentals.... I HOPE and PRAY that I am wrong! I don't like to talk too about this as I am not as informed as you and others. My only point is I now have some doubt that it will UPLIFTING the area. If it does fine...Hopefully it does.
Steven Serebrenik August 05, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Gary...You are right..As I said twice I am not Fully up on this issue. I can only observe things thru my experience... Again, I hope I am wrong. Thanks
Gary Englert August 05, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Steven: My comparison/analogy is really quite simple: renting a residence is nothing more than a alternative form of financing a home. Renting is attractive for many with very good reasons; the vagaries of the current real estate market being one of them...and the vagaries of the current real estate and mortgage markets is precisely why this has been switched to rentals; fiancing isn't available to build condos.
Gary Englert August 05, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Will Rod: Actually, the revenue projections are spot on: they projected building 333 units in January and the documents submitted to the Planning Board show 334 units.
Jerome Leslie Eben, AIA, PP August 05, 2012 at 04:38 PM
To all that have made a comment(s) even the 'hate speech' person whomever he/she is, I think it best that ALL of you should come w/your questions to the next Planning Board Mtg. As a PB member myself, I have asked and will continue to ask questions and gather the information provided by the developer in response to same before voting. It is important that we hear from the public in the venue of a public mtg. so PLEASE come out and let us hear what you have to say. Thank you, Jerry
Alan Sanders August 06, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Jerry, When is the next PB meeting?
Alan Sanders August 06, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Ok, I see on the town website that it's usually the first Wed. of the mo. so I'll assume that date, 8pm, Town Hall.


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