Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr hosted the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA)’s Creative Community Investments workshop attended by business administrators and economic development experts from across the state at the Carriage House on Thursday.
The program highlighted Fanwood’s award-winning downtown redevelopment endeavors that transformed dilapidated buildings, empty storefronts, neglected properties and unsightly vacant lots into a downtown that is being transformed around a “transit village” concept.
“I’m so proud that Fanwood was chosen as a model for this workshop,” said Mayor Mahr. “Fanwood’s collaborative approach and smart planning are recognized as best practices in the field of economic and downtown development.”
“There is still much work to do here in Fanwood but we have a lot to be proud of,” the mayor added. “These NJRA training workshops help ensure that investment and growth in our towns continue.”
As part of the workshop entitled, “Urban/Suburban Regional Planning and Redevelopment: What Makes It Work,” participants took a bus tour of nearby redevelopment projects:
- 1340-1426 South Ave. in Plainfield, where a proposed development of 212 residential units are planned;
- 926-1018 North Ave. in Plainfield, the site of a 44,000+ sq. ft., five-story, mixed residential/retail building will be erected;
- 333 Central Ave. in Westfield, a new 70-unit residential building of one- and two-bedroom units are now available for occupancy;
- 400, 450-290 South Ave. and 50 and 70 Center St. in Garwood, a site where vacant former industrial buildings will be demolished, remediated and redeveloped for mixed use. The proposed building will include 298 apartments and nearly 20,000 sq. ft. of retail space within the South Ave. Transit Oriented Redevelopment area;
- Fanwood Downtown Block 64 Redevelopment Area, the primary block of the borough bound by South Ave. and Martine Ave., which includes Fanwood Crossing and several other redevelopment projects. The group also looked at the new pedestrian walkway behind the Martine Ave. retailers (to highlight the pedestrian nature of the Transit Oriented Redevelopment area) and the South Ave.commercial corridor, which demonstrates the connectivity of the growth between Fanwood and Plainfield.
Attendees, who came from nearby Scotch Plains, Plainfield, and Westfield and as far as Morristown, saw presentations on redevelopment planning law, project financing, tax credits and abatements, and other topics. Discussions covered Framework for Regional Planning and Transit-Oriented Development Projects; Market Conditions, Site Assemblage, Design Relocation, Open Space and Housing Options; and Redevelopment Agreements, Municipal Approvals, COAH, and Public/Private Partnerships.
The NJRA, which organized the two-day workshop in Fanwood, invests financial and technical resources into redevelopment projects and plans that create a positive impact in eligible communities. Its primary goal is to ensure that projects are urban-focused, neighborhood-based, and investment-driven.