Breathing New Life into Montclair’s Lackawanna Plaza

ARC Properties plans to renovate the Lackawanna Plaza and mall over the next few months, including opening chef Michael Carrino’s new restaurant in the space previously occupied by the Hollywood Video store on the corner of the plaza.

According to Robert Ambrosi, Chairman and CEO of ARC Properties, plans to renovate the mall have been in the works for several years, but they weren’t able to act until Pathmark recently emerged out of bankruptcy.

They have plans to redo the parking lot surrounding the plaza. The storefronts will be renovated on the outside, with lanterns installed in the walls, as well as adding window boxes.

Ambrosi hopes to “really make it look like a train station, and bring back that old feel” to the building in time for the station’s centennial anniversary.

On the interior of the mall, the ceiling in many areas will be ripped out and redone. The walls will also be renovated and covered with graphics. Pathmark has plans to renovate the store in phases, with the main one beginning next year.

Towards the side of the complex near Grove Street, the dome and “Lackawanna Station” sign will be refurbished, with idyllic frescos to be painted under the dome. Ambrosi compared it to “walking into the pantheon.” The foyer and sliding doors at that entrance will also be redone.

Near Glen Ridge Avenue, the entire area will be enclosed in glass. Working with Studio Montclair, an art gallery will be added. Upstairs, ARC is installing residential “New York style” lofts, similar to those found in Tribeca and Soho, according to Ambrosi. He suggested that the lofts would be “perfect for students at MSU” and that “rents are going to be reasonable.”

Attached to the art gallery will be chef Michael Carrino’s new restaurant, which he hopes will open this summer. He’s had his eye on opening a restaurant in the historic space for several years. Carrino said the cuisine will be “modern American”, using only local meats and produce. He said it will be unlike his previous restaurant, Passione, in that he wants to reach every demographic and make it a downtown destination.

Mike Carrino in the the space that will house his new restaurant.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Hopefully they can clean it up too in terms of the people who hang out there. I never feel safe going over there so I always avoid it…. good luck

  2. The original Cheeper by the Dozen film…shot in the 1940’s, has a a scene shot in the Montclair Train Station….I wish that it was on YouTube…does anyone have a link to it to post?

  3. Years ago a friend’s girlfriend was mugged after
    withdrawing money from an ATM at Lackawanna Station.
    Any attempt at cleaning the place up would be appreciated.

  4. I love the idea of college students in the new lofts. “How to start a low rent building 101” Chapter 1 make sure the first tenants are college students, so the floors get the proper amount of beer spilled on it, the plumbing gets the proper amount of random things flushed down it and the neighbors adjust to hearing shouts of “Beer pong” and “dude don’t put that on facebook” into the night.

  5. Except for the space where Carrino will open his new restaurant, the rest of the property’s retail has been consistently occupied. The entire place could use renovating, but it is a successful property.

    If I were to suggest changes, I’d like to see the entire footprint expand vertically.

    The empty storefronts along the avenue are, to me, what needs more life.

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