Thursday, October 22, 2015

South Avenue Development

How My Council Opponent and I Differ

I am a strong advocate for the proposed apartment complex on South Avenue.  Here's why:
  1. Adding more than 200 apartments will invigorate the businesses along South Avenue.  Many are struggling for lack of customers.  These apartments are designed for middle income residents and particularly young people and recent retirees.  People with money to spend.
  2.  This project will help stimulate the creation of new businesses along South Avenue.  A complex this size, added to Netherwood Pointe (recently opened and fully occupied) and the renovation across from the Netherwood train station, brings a total of 300 new apartments to the area.  More residents means more customers for new businesses. 
  3. This is what 2nd Ward residents want.  Community input from our vision study, done in conjunction with NJIT, clearly pointed to development around our train stations.  The study specifically called for the apartment complex now proposed.
  4. Towns along the Raritan Valley railroad are creating apartments.  Look at Cranford especially and also Fanwood, Somerville, Dunellen and Garwood.  Now that Plainfield is becoming more business friendly, developers and investors are ready to go to work here.
  5. This development, called the Gateway development, is being proposed by a reputable firm that has done good work in Maplewood and South Orange.  I have seen these apartments.  They are nice and have nice amenities.  Plainfield's Planning Board (of which I am a member) made sure that the Gateway will have these amenities.
My opponent in the 2nd Ward City Council election, John Campbell, has stated his opposition to the Gateway complex.  He doesn't understand development.  Here is what he is saying:
  1. Gateway wont rent up because we haven't created a climate for this type of residential occupancy.  He is wrong.  The proximity of two train stations is a draw.  Look at Netherwood Pointe.  It rented up quickly and fully.  And it doesn't have the amenities that Gateway will have.
  2. A 30 year payment in lieu of taxes is bad deal for the city. He is wrong again.  Comparing the tax payments for Gateway to what the city will get from the current property owners, Plainfield will actually gain $5 million over the 30 year period.
  3. The school system will be hurt by the influx of more school aged children.  Campbell is wrong again.  These are one and two bedroom apartments.  Netherwood Pointe is not hurting the school system.  This type of apartment is going up all over New Jersey in urban areas, near train stations.  There is no sign of significant school enrollment increases.

My opponent is opposing a project that brings a real opportunity to Plainfield.  We can talk all day about wanting Starbucks but ideas without financial backing have led us to nowhere.  We have a developer who wants to make an investment in a $50 million project in our city.  An investment significant enough to stimulate more businesses along South Ave, to bring more customers to the existing businesses, to create jobs and add vitality to one of Plainfield's neighborhoods.  An investment that will attract young people to move to Plainfield.  It's ironic that young Mr Campbell is opposing young people moving to South Ave.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Good points, Cory. Starbucks of any other franchise won't come into Plainfield without the customer base being here and the projects you mentioned will bring that. I'm sure Mr. Campbell wants people to purchase houses from him, but young people aren't in a hurry to purchase a house and apartments do get filled quickly in Plainfield.