New Construction in South Orange

Does anyone know what is going to be built where the old Bocconne restaurant / Blockbuster building is in South Orange?  I'm assuming that it is going to be retail on the lower ground and apartments above.  There's also a new building being built near the middle school that seems to be apartments also.  I'm amazed at the number of apartments being built in the downtown core.


Retail on the first, office on the second, and I think 3-4 stories of apartments. I believe that the old Ridge Tire site is a day care center, not apartments.

The apartments will support our restaurants and what’s left of retail. I am all for them!


These plans have been worked on and presented for literally years and can be seen on the town's website


Newly excavated spot on Valley?

Intermediate/long  term projections for (child, I’m presuming) day care demand?


dickf3 said:

Newly excavated spot on Valley?

Intermediate/long  term projections for (child, I’m presuming) day care demand?

 I don't understand your question.  The day care center will be on South Orange Ave near the middle school


What is next to be built on Valley?

With changing work patterns (more work from home), are day care needs for children projected to go down? The new structure at the Ridge site is not small.


Until a lot more parents go back to offices, I imagine day care centers are not a hot business to open right now. 


This idea of ground floor retail is popular but doesn’t always seem to work. Third and Valley has empty store fronts, and long before the pandemic.



I wonder if dickf3 or Heynj have tried to work from home with a preschool-aged child.


Well, one at a time.  The preschool is part of a chain, and an entirely private project.  Its up to them to make it work, and my guess is that they will be completely booked by the time they open.  The location is perfect.  The digging on valley right now is for the 4th and valley project, which has been in the works for a while, but stalled.  It is a mixed use project that had a lot of community input.  There is another project scheduled next to Founders park which may start soon.  That will be a self storage place, and the closest residents are actually very pleased with it.  These projects the town had input and influence with, but are still private development.  all of my info comes from attending meetings.  I hold no position.


Sorry, didn’t mean it isn’t near-impossible to work when everyone’s home, just mean that child care  centers following all CDC guidelines cannot enroll anywhere near to what their former capacity was as far as students, making it a huge economic challenge to operate from a financial standpoint. 


dickf3 said:

What is next to be built on Valley?

With changing work patterns (more work from home), are day care needs for children projected to go down? The new structure at the Ridge site is not small.

 Most people who work from home still need childcare if their work is more than very casual.  


Generic, mixed-use crappy apartment buildings.  Welcome to the homogenization of South Orange and Maplewood.  

Our town govenrments roll out the red carpet with substantial tax abatements while the school district is starved for funds.


yahooyahoo said:

Generic, mixed-use crappy apartment buildings.  Welcome to the homogenization of South Orange and Maplewood.  

Our town govenrments roll out the red carpet with substantial tax abatements while the school district is starved for funds.

 Hate to tell you...again...but tax abatements have NOTHING to do with funding the schools. Please do your homework.


Dennis_Seelbach said:

yahooyahoo said:

Generic, mixed-use crappy apartment buildings.  Welcome to the homogenization of South Orange and Maplewood.  

Our town govenrments roll out the red carpet with substantial tax abatements while the school district is starved for funds.

 Hate to tell you...again...but tax abatements have NOTHING to do with funding the schools. Please do your homework.

well, maybe not directly, but don't abatements put tax pressure on residents, since you're limiting tax revenue to the town, forcing residents to make up the difference at some point, meaning they're less likely to want to pay for school tax increases?


Usually with a PILOT program the property owner pays less tax and the municipality gets  more money than if it had to share the full payment with the school system and county.

The municipality gets more money on a PILOT but the school system's share is less. Eventually, unless school costs go down the burden of the difference to be made up falls on non PILOT properties.


truth said:

Usually with a PILOT program the property owner pays less tax and the municipality gets  more money than if it had to share the full payment with the school system and county.

The municipality gets more money on a PILOT but the school system's share is less. Eventually, unless school costs go down the burden of the difference to be made up falls on non PILOT properties.

This is incorrect.

The village is giving much shorter-term abatements than in the past, on the order of 5 years now versus much longer terms in the past. Upon conclusion, regular taxes are paid, including school and county taxes.

Also, it has been shown time and time again that one and two-bedroom apartments generate very few students.


truth said:

Usually with a PILOT program the property owner pays less tax and the municipality gets  more money than if it had to share the full payment with the school system and county.

The municipality gets more money on a PILOT but the school system's share is less. Eventually, unless school costs go down the burden of the difference to be made up falls on non PILOT properties.

 Non PILOT properties.   --- Like yours and mine?   And we shouldn't be pissed about this.


Formerlyjerseyjack said:

 Non PILOT properties.   --- Like yours and mine?   And we shouldn't be pissed about this.

 As I said, “truth“‘s post is incorrect.


jimmurphy said:

 As I said, “truth“‘s post is incorrect.

 So, we just get screwed for five years.


Formerlyjerseyjack said:

jimmurphy said:

 As I said, “truth“‘s post is incorrect.

 So, we just get screwed for five years.

 Actually, we don't get screwed, but you seem to be unwilling to listen.


Are we getting screwed with the $18b in tax benefits to be given by the state to corporations that threaten to move out of N.J. ?

If the projects are such a win for the builders, would they still be built without the PILOT?


The developers can build within zoning and pay taxes.  Or they can ask for a pilot, and the town gets to negotiate about size, low income  housing, community give backs, etc.  At no time is the town required to grant a pilot to make a project feasible.  They do it to get something that they want.


Dennis_Seelbach said:

 Hate to tell you...again...but tax abatements have NOTHING to do with funding the schools. Please do your homework.

 Do they contribute to school budget in any way?  Do they lessen the load on all taxpayers to fund what we hope will be great schools.  Would NON-PILOT development put more $ into schools?


jimmurphy said:

truth said:

Usually with a PILOT program the property owner pays less tax and the municipality gets  more money than if it had to share the full payment with the school system and county.

The municipality gets more money on a PILOT but the school system's share is less. Eventually, unless school costs go down the burden of the difference to be made up falls on non PILOT properties.

This is incorrect.

The village is giving much shorter-term abatements than in the past, on the order of 5 years now versus much longer terms in the past. Upon conclusion, regular taxes are paid, including school and county taxes.

Also, it has been shown time and time again that one and two-bedroom apartments generate very few students.

 It seems to me that your post is not in conflict with Truth's, that based on what you wrote his/hers is not incorrect.  

You focus on the term of the PILOT and whether or not new development brings new students (and financial burden) to the schools.  Truth's post makes no mention of those factors.  

Are you saying that for the 5 years of the PILOT, the school system DOES receive the tax revenue that was previously contributed by that specific property?  I don't think that's correct.  I think it would have been more correct to say something like: PILOTS are not as bad as we make them out to be because they are not very long terms and the new developments do not contribute ADDITIONAL children to the schools. 


FilmCarp said:

Formerlyjerseyjack said:

jimmurphy said:

 As I said, “truth“‘s post is incorrect.

 So, we just get screwed for five years.

 Actually, we don't get screwed, but you seem to be unwilling to listen.

 I think the school district gets screwed for 5 years.  What happens in the longer term may balance that out. 


FilmCarp said:

The developers can build within zoning and pay taxes.  Or they can ask for a pilot, and the town gets to negotiate about size, low income  housing, community give backs, etc.  At no time is the town required to grant a pilot to make a project feasible.  They do it to get something that they want.

 Yes.  It's kind of like taking a job at Walmart because you'd like to eat every day. 


Formerlyjerseyjack said:

Are we getting screwed with the $18b in tax benefits to be given by the state to corporations that threaten to move out of N.J. ?

If the projects are such a win for the builders, would they still be built without the PILOT?

The developments that have been approved by South Orange while Sheena has been Village President have all had 20% affordable housing. In order to do this PILOTs must be given.


There are assumptions  and confusion about development in the towns that maddens & worries me:

1) 1 & 2 BR apts attract people w/o children... then why the increase in building (& planning) childcare center(s)?  

2)  New apts won't impact school class size & resources ... Will those using new childcare centers move out of town as kids turn  school age?

3)  HAS mixed-use space been a success?  (Anyone w/ reliable stats on these please chime in..) Has new M-U space been occupied as expected?  What % of NEW residential & retail space is currently UN- occupied?  What is turnover rate?  Empty store-fronts indicate it's a challenge to attract businesses that remain viable over time.  

(Some spaces have been empty so long I look past them, but those from out of town probably don't.)

4) 1&2 BR apts DO attract people with CARS - often 2 cars if 2 adults live there.  Increased traffic blows my mind & wastes my time.  Try making a left onto Valley or R'wood or SOA bet. 3 & 5 PM -- w/ schools CLOSED!

5) Working from home and working while teaching kids at home are 2 different things.  COVID WILL be controlled & kids will go back to school.  If not, turn the schools into mixed-use housing, & use NYC office space for low-income and housing for the homeless.  They're built already.


Juniemoon said:

There are assumptions  and confusion about development in the towns that maddens & worries me:

1) 1 & 2 BR apts attract people w/o children... then why the increase in building (& planning) childcare center(s)?  

2)  New apts won't impact school class size & resources ... Will those using new childcare centers move out of town as kids turn  school age?

3)  HAS mixed-use space been a success?  (Anyone w/ reliable stats on these please chime in..) Has new M-U space been occupied as expected?  What % of NEW residential & retail space is currently UN- occupied?  What is turnover rate?  Empty store-fronts indicate it's a challenge to attract businesses that remain viable over time.  

(Some spaces have been empty so long I look past them, but those from out of town probably don't.)

4) 1&2 BR apts DO attract people with CARS - often 2 cars if 2 adults live there.  Increased traffic blows my mind & wastes my time.  Try making a left onto Valley or R'wood or SOA bet. 3 & 5 PM -- w/ schools CLOSED!

5) Working from home and working while teaching kids at home are 2 different things.  COVID WILL be controlled & kids will go back to school.  If not, turn the schools into mixed-use housing, & use NYC office space for low-income and housing for the homeless.  They're built already.

 1) There is and long has been a shortage of childcare places in town.  There is unmet demand and private money is (as it should be) now funding development of more classrooms.  Also, the school district has committed to 100% availability of free pre-k (only during school hours so not a replacement for childcare) but does not have enough classrooms.  The district is contracting with private preschools to provide classrooms, creating more demand.

2)  They might, or they might buy houses.

3)  If not, should they simply eliminate retail spaces?  Many of the building being replaced were mixed use, mixed use is a common solution in small cities throughout the country, and is generally very successful.  Why wouldn't it be so here?

4) Not really a valid argument, not really true, either, as these are quite close to the train which often allows people to use fewer cars.  But the argument can also be made that limiting parking, as these developments do, make car ownership less attractive and reduces car use.

5) This one is just plain silly and I don't think you mean it seriously.



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