Bill Colgan, Metro Real Estate: Revitalizing Bloomfield’s Downtown

Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (21)

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.


  1. POSTED BY townie  |  August 31, 2011 @ 10:46 am

    I’m happy to see new investment but a part of me wishes for better architecture. The trend is evident in Montclair at the Sienna where touches of brick adorn an otherwise cement facade.

    Construction costs remain high and resultant values relatively low and I guess this is what you get, but our grandkids will be living with these structures and I wish they reminded me less of Soviet-style apartment blocks.

  2. POSTED BY pat gilleran  |  August 31, 2011 @ 11:19 am

    It certainly is unfortunate that it looks just like the Siena.

    Mr. Colgan, will the redevelopment follow the plan that won Bloomfield a NJ Future Smart Growth Award in 2008? Does it follow Complete Streets Resolution that the township passed on March 7, 2011? Will there be “safe, well-lit mid-block pedestrian alleys and connections” and “bicycle lanes and conveniently placed bike racks.” as the people were told that there would be?


    WHEREAS, the Township of Bloomfield is committed to creating street corridors that safely accommodate all road users of all abilities; and

    WHEREAS, significant accomplishments have already been achieved by incorporating pedestrian safety and traffic calming measures when public streets are improved; and

    WHEREAS, the Mayor and Council supports this “complete streets” initiative and wishes to reinforce its commitment to creating a comprehensive, integrated, connected street network that safely accommodates all road users of all abilities and for all trips; and

    WHEREAS, that all public streets projects, both new construction and reconstruction (excluding maintenance) undertaken by the Township of Bloomfield shall be designed and constructed as “complete streets” whenever feasible to do so in order to safely accommodate travel by pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit, and motorized vehicles and their passengers, with special priority given to pedestrian safety, and subject to the following conditions:

    a. Pedestrian and bicycle facilities shall not be required where they are prohibited by law; and

    b. Public transit facilities shall not be required on streets not serving as transit routes and the desirability of transit facilities will be determined on a project basis; and

    c. In any project, should the cost of pedestrian, public transit, and/or bicycle facilities cause an increase in project costs in excess of 5%, as determined by engineering estimates, that would have to funded with local tax dollars, then approval by the Mayor and Council must be obtained for same prior to bidding of the project.

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Bloomfield, County of Essex, State of New Jersey hereby adopts this “Complete Streets” policy as outlined in the resolutions.

  3. POSTED BY hrhppg  |  August 31, 2011 @ 11:27 am

    It does look like the Sienna.

    Also my continued complaint is that I was told myself from someone who works in town that 2/3rds of the residential units are already spoken for – yet they seems to be basing future demographic info on theoretical people and not that 2/3’s.

    In the list above 4 of the 6 points are theoretical.

    • Decrease in taxes due to a stall in the growth of the tax-base (not if units and retail are empty, or have shoddy construction issues like our neighbors new local attraction that was suppose to revitalize that area)

    • The increase in property values (not if units and retail are empty)

    • The improvement in business for local merchants who are struggling to stay open (do I have to keep saying it)

    • The attraction of new retailers to create a more vibrant downtown (in theory but layered with new traffic patterns in what many consider and already difficult to maneuver thru area could be a deterrent to attracting anyone)

  4. POSTED BY kit schackner  |  August 31, 2011 @ 11:52 am

    What kind of tax abatement did Metro Real Estate receive, and wouldn’t that adversely impact revenues? The municipality was extremely generous with the Oakes Pond developer — 30 year abatement. One has to believe Mr. Heller wouldn’t incur legal expenses out of frivolity or sour grapes. If he was locked out of competitive negotiations, he may have a case; nor would it be surprising at all that backroom deals were made. It’s curious that Mr. Colgan makes this suit such a prominent part of his public presentation. Does he think people will rise up against Mr. Heller?

  5. POSTED BY PAZ  |  August 31, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

    Architecture sans imagination.
    How about a Tudor style facade.
    Maybe a clock tower.
    A nice fountain would be good
    dedicated to General Bloomfield.

  6. POSTED BY anne prince  |  August 31, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

    Personally, in looking at this rendering I’ll take this over what’s been there for the past 10 years!

  7. POSTED BY cathar  |  August 31, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

    Ah, self-praise from another realtor. We can never have too many realtors, can we? I trust he’s amenable to working closely with Keller Williams Midtown Direct’s newest staff addition.

    Oddly, however, unless I just wasn’t looking closely enough, this one wasn’t labeled as either a blog or a “sponsored post.” On a day when there’s plenty of more pressing “authentically local” news, too.

  8. POSTED BY frankgg  |  August 31, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

    The buildings in the renderings are similar to the Siena but even less articulated. These are extremely ordinary buildings.

    There are good big buildings that went up in the East Orange Downtown Re Development. Engineer Edward Bowser Sr., the long term City Planner was a genius at putting East Orange back together after having rt 280 and the GS Parkway cut through. The Bowsers have a tradition of architects and Engineers in their ancestry and are amongst the founders of NJIT (when it was the NJ College of Engineering). Robert Bowser is the current long standing mayor. The planners of Bloomfield and Montclair would do well to study the good planning and building going on in East Orange.

  9. POSTED BY hrhppg  |  August 31, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

    Maybe living miles away in a different county it isn’t authentically local to you, but living 4 blocks away makes it a vital story for me and my neighbors who also posted above.

    Is there a map view? I’m trying to figure out how this fits into that area. Is the little building across the street the train station or is that the Italia pizza building?

  10. POSTED BY bebopgun  |  August 31, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

    Looks great. I hope NJ transit can increase capacity on the train because it’s already standing room only in the AM rush hour.

  11. POSTED BY Jimmytown  |  August 31, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

    hrhppg, I believe if you look at the picture, that roof of a building to the left is the H&R Block building, making this a picture of the corner of Glenwood & Washington? If they drew the side facing the Train Station we would see what a disaster Lackawanna pl would look like. I dont mind the new construction. However, I can’t believe they sold 2/3rds of the units since there was zero advertising. Even their website is just a place page. Who did they sell the units too, the town? The workers? I dont understand. I also agree with the above comment. A clock tower would be nice, especially for those trying to catch a train!

  12. POSTED BY Jimmytown  |  August 31, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

    Another problem with the picture is the retail. You have a bank on one side and a cafe on the other and what I think is the entrance to the apartments or parking garage on the corner. That makes the depth of the bank pretty small, no? Also, when you look above the Market, you see nice trees and shrubs, and yet from the balconies of the units you will most likely see black tar and air conditioning units for the Market, right?

  13. POSTED BY rightwingdem  |  August 31, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

    This is great!!! There could not have been a better match up if a screen play was written for the dysfunctional Town of Bloomfield – Bill Colgan vs. Cary Heller. A heavy weight battle of greed and ego. On the one hand, Cary Heller certainly has a proven track record of successful developments on his resume. To my knowledge, Mr. Colgan has no experience in real estate development – aside from owning alot of property – and has made his wealth in the medical billing world. On the other hand, by whatever means, Mr. Colgan did get the nod for being the redeveloper for Bloomfield Center (never mind the Town’s previous selection of developers that cost them 5 million plus) So it does seem that this current lawsuit is a case of “sore loser” syndrome. But who does Bill Colgan think he is kidding – “this is not just about profits” – THIS IS ALL ABOUT PROFIT!!!! If either Colgan or Heller really “cared” about Bloomfield they would live in the Town themselves – which NEITHER one does. Lets call it what it is: They both want alot, alot, alot, of money….. and the ego to say that they “rescued” Bloomfield (much like the ego of mayor McBlight). So, the beautiful semi-comunistic partnership between private developers and public government continues to drag the poor taxpayers of Bloomfield to new lower, more expensive depths. I do not think a town could be more dysfunctional if it tried. The voters and politicians have made their bed, and now its time for them to sleep in it.

  14. POSTED BY rightwingdem  |  August 31, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

    Oh and by the way – Baristanet – since when are people allowed the write and publish their own self-serving articles on Baristanet??? I understand being able to write a comment regarding an article published by a correspondent or reporter – but publishing a totally self-serving, basically “editorial” by Mr. Colgan is totally unethical.

  15. POSTED BY cathar  |  August 31, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

    Hrhppg, that you rush to defend “management” on this one does you no credit. That you so completely lack either a sense of humor or irony about a “developer” (who apparently is really some sort of medical billing czar) writing at such length about how wonderful his project and he himself both are, that’s just your usual way.

    Rightwingdem is much more on the mark questioning the journalistic appropriatenessof such a self-serving piece as Colgan offers above. Perhaps, however, your chosen kind of local authenticity is simply blind to such important considerations. I have, however, seen more attention paid to ethical niceties even at trade magazines (which is saying quite a bit), though you seem to care not a whit for them above.

    I also wonder what the good prof would make of Colgan’s sort-of-infomercial above.. Alas, I am reliably informed that prof williams was banned from this very site for a week for some “offense” (sounds to me like Amish-style “shunning,” but far less effective in its workings) so we shall not hear from him. But I am nonetheless certain he’d be a great deal more wary of Colgan’s come-ons than you are, hrhppg. Do you also buy ginsu knives and hair scrunchies with predictable regularity?

  16. POSTED BY me1004  |  September 01, 2011 @ 7:58 am

    Among other things, that is a sorely short number of parking spaces. This is the routine “planning” of just making up numbers to fit what you decide. In reality, no one is going to give up their cars, even if they take the train to NY for work. Anyone living in the suburbs will not give up their cars. Thus, you better expect to need at least two spaces per unit, not including all their visitors — and that is all the Bloomfield parking authority will get from this project. However, that is being handled by the Bloomfield Parking Authority because it is NOT intended to be all for the tenants. It is intended for other commuters wow want to park and ride. This means they are planning to be drastically short of parking spaces!

    Pretending that everyone is going to give up their cars is bad “planning.”

    The bottom line is that that it way too many units for the number of parking spaces. It also appears to be way too dense regardless, so what is needed is the same number of parking spaces but fewer units to keep it more in line with the density of the rest of Bloomfield.

    Tell me, what is in the plan for this project to accommodate the impact of the greater population this size project will bring, on the schools, on social services, on police and fire services, etc.? There is some thinking in the back of this plan that this will be free money coming in and no more money will be going out — just not going to happen.

  17. POSTED BY hrhppg  |  September 01, 2011 @ 9:23 am

    cathar I guess you were so enthralled by my post you didn’t notice the other people posting who feel that this issue needs to be discussed despite the commercial version of an article that started this thread. Please stop letting my charm and beauty upset your life. As I’ve stated many times before – feel free to skip over my posts. You’ve got all those liter boxes to clean and cans of cat food to open, I don’t want to be the thing that takes you away from all your cats.

  18. POSTED BY kit schackner  |  September 01, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

    Me1004, The same thing is happening with the Oakes Pond development. That project will put another 700 to 900 cars onto Belleville avenue, and place unquantified stress on schools and services, yet the Mayor & planning board just view it as a source of ratables. Public discussion of these potential problems seems to fall on deaf ears — minds were made up before public discussion began. It’s usually a developer’s mantra that condos don’t fill schools. But I believe that isn’t always true.

  19. POSTED BY mightysqueak  |  November 30, 2011 @ 8:45 am

    I’m a resident of this general neighborhood — a hybrid of a local and a NYC import — I moved to this neighborhood for the intoxicating elixir of handy NYC Transportation (the only part of Bloomfield serviced by bus AND train) and the relatively affordable housing costs. I am the ideal demographic for Bloomfield’s ‘revitalization’ plan.

    I wonder what sorts of shops the developers imagine will flourish in this high density development? Two diverse models of successful dense commercial areas are Montclair’s Church Street, and Nutley’s Franklin Ave. Very different ends of the scale, but both areas are filled with boutique stores and restaurants, hardly the stuff of reliable commercial viability.

    What we NEED is a supermarket–with parking. The closest supermarkets to this intersection are the Bloomfield Stop & Shop (1.3 miles), the Brookdale Shoprite (3.4m) and the Montclair Pathmark (1.6m). I do not include Key Foods as it does not have a parking lot and hardly has any goods.

    I am pro-development of any sort — that unsightly hole in the ground would drive the most intrepid would-be-transplant elsewhere — but I hope that the developers consider the needs of the actual community and don’t put a cookie cutter mini-mall into place with a ‘Field of Dreams’ mentality.

  20. POSTED BY Jimmytown  |  November 30, 2011 @ 9:14 am

    mighty, I agree we need a grocery store in the area. C-town or “market fresh” is what the Grand Union was years ago. Although, imagine dropping off your loved one at the train station with minutes to spare, and having an 18 wheeler blocking traffic to unload a few crates of goods to the grocery store. People will quickly learn that this area will be a pedestrian dream and a automobile’s nightmare!

  21. POSTED BY bebopgun  |  November 30, 2011 @ 9:33 am

    I love it when threads come back from the dead. Will they be here when I’m dead?

    Bloomfield Bloomfield
    Rah Rah Ree
    Give me a place to spend MONEY

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