Last week marked a major milestone in the redevelopment of Bloomfield’s downtown: we began demolition at the future site of the Glenwood Village project. Almost ten years in the making, Bloomfield residents are now going to see visible progress in our mission to remake the downtown into an attraction for families, fine dining, and modern retail space that will anchor the area for years to come. Though the naysayers claimed it would never get done, this effort demonstrates that public/private partnerships can work. At every level of government – from Mayor McCarthy and the Bloomfield Council, to Congressman Pascrell at the federal level – we came together to make sure this vision for Bloomfield’s downtown came to fruition.
Let’s run down some specifics of the project. Glenwood Village will include 224 residential apartments, 50,000 ft2 of retail space, 10,000 ft2 of fine dining, and a 439 space parking garage owned by the Bloomfield Parking Authority, all of which will be encompassed in a five-story building with the residential units located above the retail and restaurant storefronts. Because of the NJ Transit stop located directly adjacent to Glenwood Village, we were able to secure “transit village”
status for the community. This means increased investment in Bloomfield and an improved quality of life as more people choose mass transportation over their cars.
With midtown direct service available right across the street, Bloomfield is going to become a relocation destination for commuters and young people going into Manhattan every day for work. In addition, this project will become the catalyst to spawn other development and a means to attract more businesses looking to relocate to Bloomfield; resulting in lower taxes for the rest of the community.
We are creating jobs at a time when they are needed most. During the construction phase of this project, we’ll see more than 350 jobs to complete the parking garage and five-story building, and another 200 to 250 permanent jobs in the various restaurants, retail stores, and the parking garage after the project is completed.
Finally, it is no secret that there is pending litigation by another developer, Cary Heller, whose plan to develop a site elsewhere in Bloomfield Center was not accepted by Bloomfield officials. In our opinion, this is nothing but sour grapes because his project was not chosen. Although this obstructionist lawsuit is not ideal, we are confident that its frivolous nature will allow us to dispose of it quickly but, unfortunately Heller’s actions will inevitably result in delays in the following:
• 350 construction workers from going back to work
• 250 permanent jobs from being created
• Decrease in taxes due to a stall in the growth of the tax-base
• The increase in property values
• The improvement in business for local merchants who are struggling to stay open
• The attraction of new retailers to create a more vibrant downtown
It is important to note that the Glenwood Village project was approved by unanimous votes by both the Bloomfield Council and the Bloomfield Planning Board – a nearly unheard of accomplishment. This shows the broad based support our project has in the community and proves it is the best plan for the future of Bloomfield.
We are committed and invested in the future of Bloomfield, as we currently own the largest building in the community located at 2 Broad Street and have numerous other property holdings in Bloomfield. For the past ten years, we have developed a partnership in the community for our collective mutual benefit. Recently, we allowed the Bloomfield Fire Department to train in the vacant buildings at the future site of the Glenwood Village.
This isn’t just about profits for us. It is about building a better Bloomfield.