With Montclair Out, Kensington Senior Living Looks To Verona For Assisted Living Facility

An assisted living facility previously planned for Montclair is now slated to come to Verona.

Kensington Senior Living has plans to take over the Richfield Regency site on Bloomfield Avenue in Verona. Plans for an assisted living facility, at 65 Church Street, were overturned when Dick Grabowsky was victorious in a lawsuit stating that former Montclair mayor Jerry Friend and a fellow Montclair Council member had a conflict of interest when voting due to their belonging to a house of worship next to the property.

According to MyVeronaNJ, Kensington has plans for a three-story building on the Richfield site at 420 Bloomfield Avenue, with 55 underground parking spaces, and 54 additional parking spaces on the Richfield lot at 312 Claremont Avenue. There will be 92 units in the building, roughly half of which will be studio apartments, with the rest split between one- and two-bedroom units, for a total of 130 residents. Richfield Regency will continue to book events through the end of 2019.

Meanwhile, the space at 65 Church Street, where the assisted living facility had been planned for, is vacant, but talks of a new apartment building in the space, came up at the last meeting of the Montclair Development Review Committee.

The DRC considered the possibility of the construction of a large apartment building in the former Hahne’s parking and whether noise and smells from the new restaurant might be an issue. Janice Talley, Montclair Director of Planning and Community Development, would only say of the site that there is no information at this point as the developer is still discussing options.

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  1. Kensington is an idiotic company. They wasted years here unsuccessfully trying to convince everyone that they had to put their building up smack in our downtown area because that was their business model. Yet, everyone knew that a mixed-use residential building was a much better fit economically for our downtown. Instead, all they had to do was to take one of the other lots available offered to them nearby — a block or two off the main commercial sections.

    No interest they said. Either Church Street or bust. But where are they building now? Not in Verona’s main downtown area. Not really walkable to the commercial action. Even further away from the downtown there. They are doing a 180 from their stated “must be in the downtown location”. Instead, they should have just sold their building lot when it was clear this Council had more sense than the last administration and the controlled planning board at that time. Kensington could have picked up a new lot and still built in Montclair — taken advantage of our more bustling downtown — but just slightly away. Very dumb.

  2. What’s with this insecure and anxious gambit – is it a longing for a revival of post-modernism? This sort of amateur attempt at building design is long past the expiration date, mold is growing around the edges, it smells bad, and this attempt at lame mediocrity is overripe and ready for the compost heap. My weeds would love it.

  3. Very dumb? Let’s see. Kensington will walk away with a six-figure profit on their worst-case scenario. Meanwhile, Montclair will have to cut a six-figure check and is living their worst-case scenario for 20+ yrs. Yeah, we are one smart town. Props to us. Just brilliant!

  4. But Spiro, perhaps you have not understood the design’s possible historistic and cultural gesture of being a nod to Wheeler Antabanez’s book series.

  5. Let’s not also forget that before all this nonsense began, the prior owner let Montclair use the lot, at zero cost, and collect parking fees. When Montclair refused to even talk about a parking variance, the owner tossed Montclair out along with the revenue.So let’s see. that’s about 14 years at $125K per year NOT in Montclair’s pocket.

  6. I said it before and I’ll say it again. The Township screwed up by not removing the Redevelopment Area designation.

    One issue with the Hahne’s parking lot is whether the applicant wants to proceed under the outdated (pre-Facebook!) Redevelopment Plan or under existing zoning. Skipping the Redevelopment path had several advantages – including building to 6 stories. (where have I heard this recently?)

    Hahne’s opened in 1937. I’d put a big parking deck up. It would make the Big 4 happy. Parking decks bring 10x more foot traffic than housing units. If we want more urban housing, add floors to the existing 1-2 story buildings. If we’re remotely serious about going urban, let’s at least do it right rather than muck it up.

  7. I do not think this proposal is consistent with Verona’s Master Plan. A relative I was responsible for lived for years in an assisted living facility in another state. Lots of green space. If you are shut in, what a pleasure. One would take your life in your hands to cross Bloomfield Ave. to access Verona park. I for one, think this whole builder stuff as in the Lackawanna train station is complete bs. (Can I say that?)

  8. Compromise Rubacky…3 floors of parking — 2-3 floors office or housing. Office might be better. Fills up the spots and traffic during the day. Everyone goes home at night. Spots open for restaurants and entertainment after.

    Does not matter if it’s a Redevelopment Plan or under regular zoning. What matters is if decision-makers have brains and can roll with…or adjust to cut a deal that both helps the township and still satisfies a new developer. Past town decision-makers only knew how to accommodate developers. They lost us massive amounts of tax revenue in the process given that nothing has been built there AND actually gave away 80 something public parking spots in the process.

  9. Superb response, frankgg – We all live in “Weird NJ” these days, Antabanez or no Antabanez. The best New Jerseyans need to rise up and deplore all these sophomoric, poorly proportioned, attention seeking, fungus infected and leaking creations, spreading like a bad stomach virus up and down the Bloomfield Avenue corridor. We should all be looking forward to the day that they are demolished, sorted into dumpsters, and recycled into Whole Foods shopping bags and yoga mats, and cleansing agents for Tony’s Brook, and, afterwards, replaced with more invigorating, potent, evolved, sustainable and compelling architecture.

  10. That’s fine Right From Wrong. I can accept 3 stories of parking and 3 or even 4 stories of housing. It’s a perfect place for 7 stories. Don’t even need stepbacks as it is on the North side of Church St. Developer has to give us 12 parking spaces to replace those “what were we thinking?” new parallel parking space on SPARK. This is so we can address the traffic issues with the current configuration. We also need to receive fair compensation for the public parking spaces that “got lost” somewhere between Herod, Plofker and Fountain Square. I heard from a very reliable source that the documentation was eaten by the Montclair Animal Shelter dogs back in the bad old days and they use the scraps to line the rabbit cages. I will concede the Business Improvement District should not get a dime. There is no retail and that stretch is a retail no-mans land as evidenced by the Siena.

    I think we should also use that cheap-looking EIFS wall cladding system. This could match what may now get approved for the Orange Road Parking Deck. EIFS & The 3rd Ward….Perfect Together!

    I am kidding, of course….about the shelter dogs.

  11. Look at what overdevelopment along Bloomfield Avenue and our general area is doing to the underground water systems. We’ve seen whats happening with these last flooding events. The volume of water is increasing substantially and the 130 or so year old underground culverts are no longer sufficient to contain it all. Look at whats happened at Montclair Center. Remember that Church Street and South Park are active underground waterways. The Lackawanna area is one of the greatest areas of confluence and its all below the roads and sidewalks. It seems that the townships’ engineering departments are not taking into consideration any of this. The amount of water that comes from underground at the top of Bloomfield Avenue was once enough to supply all of Montclair and some of Upper Montclair. The waters are still there and seem to be increasing. The Hilltop Development at Verona is possibly what just trashed Caldwell Center with flash flooding. The entire low-level of the Public Library went underwater and everything ruined.

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