1) The single-story bank portion of Building D, the building that will provide the new space for Boro Hardware as well as a bank and luxury condominiums, will now be a full 4-story structure, replacing earlier plans for a cantilevered bank drive-through corner. In addition to providing additional living space, the design team felt the original plan was not visually appealing.
2) A 3rd story walkway will connect the residences in Building D to the parking deck within Building A.
3) The office space originally planned for Building B has been re-worked into work/live space; residential units with at-home office space included.
4) A landscape architect, Tom Bauer, has been brought on-board to give the courtyard area, the outdoor parking area/plaza which will host community events, a "WOW" factor; beauty, shade, maximum use and comfort features with priority given to pedestrians.
Building D will be the first built. The bulkiest of all four, the developer wants the public to know that the later three will be architecturally more interesting and diverse.
But that doesn't mean a lot of thought hasn't been given to all four design plans. Project architect Dave Minno gave testimony that provided great detail as to what each of the four buildings, even the backs, will look like. Image boards of similar architectural elements as well as samples of materials representing the colors and textures he has in mind were on display.
"The design intent is to make the buildings look as though they've been developed over time" he explained. As you might see in a quaint European village square where construction was on-going and evolved over time, different but complimentary brick colors and roofing materials, along with Romeo and Juliet balconies, strong, variegated cornice lines, roofs adorned with charming dormers, and steep, sloped awnings of dark primary colors against masonry shades of deep reds, grays, and chocolate browns are planned. The back side of the retail spaces, where loading docks are a necessity, have been designed to blend industrial loading doors with indents and awnings to mirror the windows above.
Possible plans for the corner of
Underground power lines and curb-free barriers to the outdoor strolling and eating areas are meant to create a welcome and peaceful feel. Interior shade trees and decorative lights to hold banners and strings of cable lighting are intended to provide a soft and festive look and feel to the space. Plans for
The developer petitioned PSE&G, "up through every level" to have the utility lines that run from Middlesex Avenue moved underground but had no luck. So, plan B - bump outs for utility poles flanked by trees - is on tap. But only on the
In addition to plans for a new, larger Boro Hardware complete with a greenhouse, the District will include space for a food market, retail stores, cafes and restaurants, and 141 residential units; twenty-something of which will be dedicated as affordable housing units.
The planning board had questions regarding snow removal; would there be space provided for plowed snow or would it be carted away? And members wanted to ensure access from the parking deck to upper residential units would be secure. However, overall sentiment was very favorable.
No construction start-date was set at this time.
Image board examples: