Highland Park Redevelopment Agency Eyes Adaptive Reuse of Vacant Property for Affordable Housing
In an effort to address housing and land use within the community, the Highland Park Redevelopment Agency has set its sights on the potential adaptive reuse of a long-vacant property on South Second Avenue. The agency’s recent meeting revealed plans to consider a small-scale redevelopment that could transform the parcel into residential units, potentially offering affordable housing options to the neighborhood.
The property in question, previously identified for its suitability for lab or life sciences use, has captured the interest of local investors who proposed the residential conversion. Despite the parcel’s current zoning, which does not allow for either lab or residential use, the agency is entertaining the idea of creating a redevelopment plan to facilitate the adaptive reuse vision. The economic development committee has voiced support for the project, noting its manageable size and alignment with the neighborhood’s housing goals. The proposed redevelopment would enable the agency to exert greater influence over the outcome.
Given the property’s two-year vacancy and lack of other significant interest in its current condition, the agency is weighing the merits of circulating a draft proposal for the redevelopment plan. The goal is to place it on the council meeting agenda soon, though specifics of this plan were not detailed in the portion of the meeting transcript available.
Moving beyond the individual property discussion, the agency also delved into the broader scope of ongoing projects, including Track C, which is slated for presentation in the first quarter of the year. New renderings from the developer are anticipated to ensure consistency with the existing plan, and any required amendments to the Redevelopment plan will be shared at the community meeting. A key component of this project is the South Third Avenue pedestrian Plaza proposal, for which the agency awaits NJDOT’s response. Mayor Elsie Foster highlighted the importance of transparency and public engagement in these developments.
The recent agency meeting included a resolution to enter executive session for negotiations related to redevelopment on specific properties. Before this session commenced, the public comment period featured inquiries from two individuals regarding zoning issues and potential property sales on North 2 Avenue, as well as questions about the tax status and nature of a property on Cleveland Avenue. The agency responded by clarifying the zoning uncertainties and articulating the potential advantages of including the property in a Redevelopment plan. In addition, the agency addressed concerns about ownership and the tax implications of the properties under discussion.
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Redevelopment Agency Officials: