SCOTCH PLAINS — Despite there being no visible movement of late on the redevelopment of the public properties in the downtown business district, plenty of activity is evident, or soon will be, elsewhere.
The former Jade Isle restaurant at the corner of East Second Street and Terrill Road is slated for demolition as soon as local utilities are disconnected from the building, which has been vacant for the past several years. Township redevelopment director Thomas Strowe told Union County HAWK that once that takes place, a demolition permit will be issued. The site will then be developed into a 5,655-square-foot QuickChek convenience store and a six-pump gasoline station with two electric-vehicle charging stations as well. Under the terms of the redevelopment agreement with the township, construction must be completed by the end of the year.
The other property that has been slated for demolition and redevelopment — the former Snuffy’s/Pantagis site — continues to make small progress toward being turned into a 31,042-square-foot Lidl grocery store. Also planned for the 5.5-acre site bounded by the highway, Mountain Avenue, Park Avenue and Pinehurst Avenue are a one-story, 7,500-square-foot retail building and a park-and-ride lot for bus commuters. The restaurant and banquet facility closed shortly before the pandemic, with the Lidl deal falling through early in 2021 before being revived later that year.
Last month, Lidl representatives signed an amended redevelopment agreement for the property, and Mr. Strowe told HAWK that township redevelopment officials are waiting to receive some revised sections of the plans before the planning board can give its final approval. “We still have a lot of steps to go,” he said, before the massive existing building can be razed and new construction can begin.
Several other private developments also will be on the planning board’s agenda in the coming weeks, with the board set to hold a hearing next month on a site plan to develop a trio of adjoining properties on East Second Street into a three-story building containing 40 apartments on the second and third floors and some 2,100 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor along with 66 off-street parking spaces on the ground floor. The developer, Elite Properties, recently received required flood-control permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and Mr. Strowe says he is hopeful the planning board can consider the site plan at a May meeting.
Redevelopment officials are waiting for the submission of the site plan to build a 30-unit apartment building on land owned by the Scotch Plains Baptist Church at the corner of Grand Street and Forest Road, adjacent to the library property. Mr. Strowe said the developer still needs to get input on flood-control provisions from the DEP before that development can move forward.
The planning board is expected to consider an application at its Monday, April 24 meeting to redevelop the property at 365 Park Avenue. The developer, 732 Jeff LLC, wants to raze the vacant, one-story office building — across the street from the Stage House restaurant — and build a three-story, 12,452-square-foot retail and office building. The first floor would have 1,672 square feet for retail use and the second and third floors would have nearly 10,000 square feet for office use.
Construction of two large-size residential developments, one at the former Bowcraft Amusement Park site (Glenside Luxury Rentals) and the other at the former Parker Gardens property, continues to move forward, with some of the units at the Glenside development now occupied, according to Mr. Strowe, who told HAWK that certificates-of-occupancy have been issued for three of the buildings, with a fourth in the works. The Parker Gardens project — now called Orchid Park — was supposed to be open this spring, but Mr. Strowe said no certificates-of-occupancy have yet been issued, “so we’re still a couple of months out” before completion.