ROSELLE PARK, NJ — Calling it the “biggest event” to occur in Roselle Park in 50 years, Mayor Carl Hokanson helped other officials and developers to officially break ground on two residential-retail apartment buildings at a twilight ceremony on Westfield Avenue on Thursday, Sept. 28.
“The merchants are biting at the bit because, as you know, retail is kind of dying because of Amazon and everybody else,” Hokanson told LocalSource at the ceremony, referring to the nearby store owners. “But the walking wallets, or the people who are going to spend, they’re coming.”
Capodagli Property Company will construct the mixed-use Meridia on Westfield development at the site, which is located between 220 and 250 W. Westfield Ave. in the borough. The two-building, six-story project will include 212 units of one- and two-bedroom apartments, a street-level restaurant space and a parking garage.
County records show that Meridia bought five lots of land where the development will sit for more than $3.8 million last year. There will be no affordable housing units in the building, the mayor said. The company will have a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT program, with the borough for 30 years, he added.
“The property that was here before generated $88,000 in taxes,” Hokanson said. “With this new building going and the PILOT program, we’re generating over $440,000.”
The site was formerly home Domani’s, a restaurant at 240 W. Westfield Ave., that was gutted by a fire in 2009.
The project is slated for completion in 2019, according to a release from the Capodagli. George Capodagli, the owner of the family-run company that bought the property, said the units will be rented for about $1,500 to $2,100 to those who are economically in “the middle.”
“What we build may be different than what a lot of people build … it’s for the middle,” Capodagli said to the crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony. “I like the middle. I know the middle. I mean, thank God (he’s) been good to me and I made some successes, but I know what the middle is like, and that’s what we build to.”
The property is located near a major network of transportation, including the Garden State Parkway, U.S. Route 22, and a station on NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley Line, less than a mile away.
The Meridia on Westfield apartment complex will include a fitness center, community and party rooms, hardwood flooring, and energy star appliances, a release from the company said. The company has developed several other properties in the area, including in Linden, Rahway, Bound Brook and West New York. The mayor announced that Capodagli has also bought the property at 10 West Westfield Ave., the site also known as the Sullivan property.
Hokanson told a crowd of councilmembers and other local mayors during the groundbreaking ceremony that this latest redevelopment project has made the borough attractive to other contractors.
“This week alone I have two other contractors that are willing to sit down and talk negotiations to start building,” Hokanson said.