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December 2008
Volume 4, Number 3
New station and construction to begin at Wood-Ridge

The redevelopment of the former Curtiss-Wright aircraft factory site in Wood-Ridge (Bergen County) has been progressing. One major hurdle has been surmounted—construction of a new NJ TRANSIT station in the community gained approval. NJ TRANSIT’s Board of Directors and Wood-Ridge Development LLC, of Lakewood, agreed in June to share the cost of design and construction of the new train station and parking facility. The new Wesmont Station, as it will be known, will serve as the centerpiece of a transit-friendly, mixed-use neighborhood to be built on the former industrial site. Wesmont Station will be located on the Bergen County Line—between the Garfield and Rutherford stations—less than 8 miles from Secaucus Junction. Construction of the Wesmont Station is set to begin next year and will be completed in 2011.

The force behind Wood-Ridge Development LLC is Somerset Development of Lakewood, NJ, the firm named master redeveloper for the property by the Borough of Wood-Ridge in 2002. Somerset Development has started the site improvements for Phase 1 of the project and will be joined by Avalon Bay and Centex Homes in this new urbanist design community. Avalon Bay is responsible for the first four multi-use buildings that will feature a mix of 406 luxury and affordable rental apartments over first floor retail space housed in distinct buildings. Of the 406 apartments, 61 will be affordable. The complex will include 28 studios, 162 one-bedroom apartments, 172 two-bedroom residences and 44 three-bedroom apartments. Avalon Bay expects to break ground next spring. Centex Homes will establish a sales center with models and begin work on 26 townhouses and seven single-family homes at its site which is adjacent to Avalon Bay. Centex expects to be ready to open for sales by summer 2009. The construction of 11 live-work spaces is also planned to be constructed in the first phase of the project. Pedestrian infrastructure, connecting all of these living spaces to the station and the adjacent public plaza, is part of this first phase.

“The approval by NJ TRANSIT for the new train station and the Wood-Ridge Planning Board’s approval of the final site plan for the first phase of construction is very exciting, as it means the results of years of planning, community collaboration, and hard work will soon begin to show themselves as this community takes shape,” said Ralph Zucker, president of Somerset Development. “We’re very proud of the caliber of community we are helping to bring to the town of Wood-Ridge, and of the recognition Wesmont Station has received, both locally and regionally, in setting a benchmark for smart growth, and transit-oriented neighborhood design.”

Town_Center
Rendering of Wesmont Station's Town Square

Courtesy of Somerset Development

 

Wesmont Station is part of the U.S. Green Building Council pilot program for its emerging Neighborhood Development (ND) category in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The development area is expected to qualify for LEED-ND gold status. Wesmont Station is considered a sustainable, smart-growth community and has already been awarded the New Jersey Future Smart Growth Award for design in 2006.

The project is a brownfields site, and within an area Wood-Ridge Borough declared “in need of redevelopment” by Wood-Ridge. Wood-Ridge Development LLC worked with the former property owner, Curtiss-Wright, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to prepare the property for reuse. Substantial cleanup was completed, resulting in the issuance of a No Further Action Letter by NJDEP and soils where construction is occurring have been remediated to residential standards. The project is also the result of a continuing active partnership between the developer and Wood-Ridge Borough. See the July 2007 issue of the newsletter for more information on redevelopment of this brownfield site.

First Project at Secaucus Transit Village Complete

The Xchange at Secaucus Junction, a mixed-use residential community, is the first project to be built within the Secaucus Transit Village Redevelopment Area, anchored by the $450 million-dollar Frank R. Lautenberg Secaucus Junction station. Opened in 2003, Secaucus Junction serves as a transfer station for New Jersey commuters working in New York City and between rail lines located in the northern and central part of the state, linking 10 (out of 11) NJ TRANSIT commuter rail lines. Before the station opened, riders on the Bergen, Main and Pascack Valley lines traveled to the Hoboken Terminal and transferred to PATH or ferries to reach midtown or lower Manhattan. Now riders on those lines can change trains at Secaucus Junction for a 12-minute ride to Penn Station New York in midtown Manhattan. The station also provides a way to transfer between lines for those destined for Newark or other parts of the system, without traveling into New York. The station serves an average of nearly 17,000 passenger trips each day.

In 2002, the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) designated the station and 600 surrounding acres as the Secaucus Transit Village Redevelopment Area—a region bounded by the Hackensack River to the west, New County Road and the NJ Turnpike to the southeast, Jersey City water supply line to the north and Meadowlands Parkway to the northwest. The NJMC wants to balance local economic development needs with environmental stewardship in this protected area through a plan for transit-oriented development encompassing housing, retail, office and hotel uses in close proximity to the Secaucus Junction Transfer station. The Xchange at Secaucus Junction is located in the Riverfront Landing zone, one of four planning areas within the redevelopment area and the primary location for residential development. The Riverfront Landing zone can accommodate up to 1,805 dwellings, including 200 to 300 affordable units, and will provide neighborhood retail, open space and other amenities for public use. Other zones within the redevelopment area are the Station Square zone, located immediately west of the station, which will serve as the core of the redevelopment area; the Transition zone, an area of less intensive use connecting the Station Square and Riverfront Landing zones; and the Passive Recreation zone, which will provide opportunities to enjoy the Hackensack River and wetlands.

SecaucusMap
Secaucus Transit Village Redevelopment Area
(Click for pdf)


SecaucusStairs
Stairway provide pedestrian
access to Secaucus Junction
(connecting New County Rd with North Rd)

Source: www.maps.live.com

Fraternity Meadows has completed work on the first building of the Xchange project, providing a total of 304 apartments, 64 of which are affordable units. In May, management began to offer leasing for these units and had signed 125 by late September. A lottery for the affordable housing units was also held in late September. A second building is currently under construction and will offer an additional 178 apartments, 38 of which will be considered affordable. This mixed-use building will also feature nearly 28,000 square feet of associated retail space. Eventually, the Xchange will include more than 1,800 units of rental housing on 33 acres along the Hackensack River. This rental housing village is designed to compete with Manhattan-style apartments while costing only half as much. Amenities to residents include a river walk along the Hackensack River, boat launch, fitness facility, internet cafe and a “mini-Central Park.” Rent for the one- to three-bedroom apartments will start at $1,800. Commuters living at the Xchange can make use of a shuttle offered by the rental community or walk the half mile to Secaucus Junction. A change in elevation between the Xchange development and the station has been eased by an enclosed stairway connecting New County Road with the access road to Secaucus Junction, North Road.

 
 
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