Adaptive Reuse and Addition Project

One of the major commercial corridors of Bergen-Lafayette could see a smaller industrial property transformed into retail space that includes a mid-rise residential addition, as Jersey City’s planning board will soon hear yet another proposal for the burgeoning neighborhood.

Last April, a company named 374 Communipaw Schmitt Partners LLC spent $2.4 million to acquire several consecutive lots at 374-380 Communipaw Avenue. The company is a subsidiary of Hoboken-based Schmitt Capital, and a proposal quickly emerged on its website to develop the land.

Those plans have now been finalized and while many recent developments in Bergen-Lafayette are constructed from the ground up, this one would preserve the façade of an existing two-story structure at the property. The former home of Bedford Distributing Company, which has been standing at the site since at least 1938, would see its historic brick restored and new windows installed, which would then blend outward and upward into an expansion, rising a total of five stories.

Designed by MVMK Architecture, the new portion of the project would consist of a red brick exterior set to match the existing building, plus some gray brick as well. Aluminum clad would be utilized on sections of the upper floors of the elevator building, which would include a total of 40 dwelling units made up of 16 studios, 20 one-, and four two-bedroom apartments. Several top floor units would have recessed balconies, while Juliet balconies would be included on certain lower floor apartments.

2,600 square feet of retail space would be included on the ground floor where the existing building is located, and nine garage parking spaces plus an entrance lobby and bicycle parking area would make up the rest of the first story. The commercial space would feature a 500-square-foot rear yard, while all the residential units would have access to both a 1,000-square-foot common rear yard and a 3,595-square-foot roof deck area complete with two grills, tables, and a modular green roof.

The property is located within the Morris Canal Redevelopment Plan, which caps building height in the Mixed Use – A Zone at 45 feet. The development as proposed rises just over 49 feet, so Schmitt will be utilizing the affordable housing bonus within the redevelopment plan in order to gain approval. That provision dictates that 5% of a development’s units be affordable, so two of the project’s apartments will be designated as such

The 374 Communipaw Avenue proposal is scheduled to have its Preliminary and Final Major site plan heard at the planning board’s March 12 meeting.