Apart­ments move for­ward

18 units pro­posed for North Chapel Street

Newark Post - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­[email protected]­pub.com

A plan to re­place an ag­ing of­fice build­ing on North Chapel Street with 18 apart­ments moved for­ward Tues­day night.

The plan­ning com­mis­sion voted 4-3 to rec­om­mend city coun­cil ap­prove the pro­posal from de­vel­oper Hal Pret­ty­man.

The plan for 62 N. Chapel St. calls for con­struct­ing a four-story build­ing con­tain­ing 31 garage park­ing spa­ces on the first floor and 18 twobed­room apart­ments on the floors above, plus a nine-space park­ing lot be­hind the build­ing. An ear­lier ver­sion of the plan called for a small of­fice as well, but it has been re­moved.

The struc­ture would re­place an ex­ist­ing two-story of­fice build­ing that Pret­ty­man pur­chased for $1 mil­lion three years ago. He said he strug­gles to find ten­ants for the 46-year-old build­ing, which is 50 per­cent va­cant.

Pret­ty­man is ask­ing coun­cil to re­zone the prop­erty from BL (busi­ness lim­ited) to BB (cen­tral busi­ness district) and OK a ma­jor sub­di­vi­sion with site plan ap­proval that al­lows the build­ing to be closer to the road than al­lowed by code.

The site is be­tween the back en­trance to Ne­wark Shop­ping Cen­ter and the Chapel House com­plex at 52 N. Chapel St., where Lang Devel­op­ment Group built a sim­i­lar project in 2015, re­plac­ing a med­i­cal of­fice build­ing with a mixed-use struc­ture con­tain­ing re­tail space and 12 apart­ments.

Pret­ty­man called his project “state-of-the-art” and noted it will look much like the Lang build­ing next door.

Plan­ning Com­mis­sioner Bob Cronin said the build­ing is well de­signed and a good im­prove­ment over what is cur­rently there.

“The build­ing that’s there now looks more like a prison than any­thing else, and it’s not eco­nom­i­cally vi­able in the cur­rent mar­ket,” Cronin said.

Com­mis­sioner Frank McIn­tosh agreed, call­ing the cur­rent build­ing an “eye­sore” and adding that he likes the atrium planned for the new build­ing.

“I like what you’ve done,” McIn­tosh said. “I think it sets a new stan­dard.”

How­ever, com­mis­sion­ers Bob Stozek, Will Hurd and Stacy McNatt ex­pressed con­cerns about the project.

“I’m just hit by the mass of this build­ing,” Stozek said. “Vis­ually, it’s a huge-look­ing struc­ture. I don’t think that fits in with what else is on the street.”

Hurd ar­gued that it’s a shame to lose of­fice space lo­cated off Main Street that is cheaper and ideal for small busi­nesses.

“This build­ing gives noth­ing to the city for what it’s ask­ing for,” Hurd said.

The project now moves on to city coun­cil for fi­nal ap­proval. A date for that vote has not yet been set.

SUB­MIT­TED IM­AGE

An artist’s ren­der­ing shows what the pro­posed apart­ment build­ing will look like from North Chapel Street.

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