By Ron Leir
HARRISON – After years of planning, land acquisition and a stalled economy, things
are beginning to break on the waterfront redevelopment front for this West Hudson community.
On Nov. 17 Heller Urban Renewal, an arm of Heller Industrial Parks, began knocking
down the old Hartz Mountain complex along the east side of Frank Rodgers Blvd. South to clear the way for 600 new residential units to rise on the 10.5-acre site along the Passaic River, just a short walk to the Harrison PATH.
“It’s a new venture for us,” said Jeffrey J. Milanaik, president of Heller Industrial
Parks, an Edison-based company whose previous accomplishments are in nonresidential enterprises.
Milanaik says the company – whose roots are in Harrison – owns 16 million square feet of distribution centers spread over New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Texas.
Now it will be expanding its portfolio with the Harrison mixed-use project, featuring
six buildings of varying size, starting at five stories and ranging up to eight or nine;
plus 30,000 square feet of retail space.
“We’ll be doing the residential component in six phases at the rate of one a year, with
the first phase to be 95 units,” Milanaik said.
The apartments will be a mix of one- and two-bedrooms, he said, and athletic workout areas will be scattered around the complex, along with meeting rooms.
Parking is to be provided on site at the rate of a bit more than one space per living unit, he said.
At total build-out, the project is expected to be valued at $100 million, according to
Demolition and environmental cleanup of the Hartz complex – nine buildings comprising 750,000 square feet – will be taking place in earnest in the first quarter of
2012, continuing through the fourth quarter of 2012.
New construction of apartments and retail space – which figures to include a restaurant and small shops – is expected to begin in 2013. The project should generate an estimated 100 construction jobs, Milanaik said.
Heller Urban Renewal will serve as general contractor and NK Architects of Morristown, which is working on another transit-oriented redevelopment project in Bloomfield, will design the Harrison project, to be known as Harrison Station.
Heller is slated to outline its plans to the Harrison Redevelopment Agency on Dec.
12, according to Mayor Ray McDonough.
Just across the way, on the west side of Frank Rodgers Blvd., Harrison Commons, the
newly-built 275-unit luxury rental apartment complex where developer Richard Miller says 120 units have been rented so far, got an additional shot in the arm.
Miller said that the state Economic Development Authority has awarded a $7.4 million Economic Redevelopment and Growth grant toward the construction of a 136-room hotel on property between Harrison Commons and the Harrison Parking Center garage.
Construction of the new hotel, which will be run by Starwood-Element, should start
by June or July, Miller said.
As provided by an ordinance adopted by the Harrison governing body on Sept. 6, the town will be collecting an annual service charge from the hotel at the rate of $1,250 per room. Based on 136 rooms, that would translate to $169,000 a year.
And then there is Russo Development, of Carlstadt, which has purchased a parcel known as “Block C,” between the proposed Riverbend Dr. and Crucible Dr. and between Frank Rodgers Blvd. and Fifth St., from the Advance Co.
In October, Russo was granted approval by the Harrison Planning Board to build 266 apartments and 32,316 square feet of retail space on Block C.
Mayor McDonough said Russo’s plans call for mostly one and two-bedroom plus some studios and two-bedroom townhomes.
“He’s expected to break ground in six months,” McDonough said.