Apartments move forward
18 units proposed for North Chapel Street
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.
An artist’s rendering shows what the proposed apartment building will look like from North Chapel Street.