Montclair scales down Lackawanna Plaza redevelopment

Planned units cut as process drags

BDP Holdings' Mike Marmis; Lackawanna Plaza (Linkedin, Getty, Google Maps)
BDP Holdings' Mike Marmis; Lackawanna Plaza (Linkedin, Getty, Google Maps)

Montclair’s Lackawanna Plaza redevelopment suddenly looks different.

The town revised its plan for the project to include 75 fewer units than a previous proposal, NorthJersey.com reported. Originally planned to include 375 units across five buildings, the proposal has been scaled down to 300 units.

Rendering of the revised plan for Montclair's Lackawanna Plaza from the architect (Dattner Architects)
Rendering of the revised plan for Montclair’s Lackawanna Plaza from the architect (Dattner Architects)

The plan was presented on July 31, and revised following recommendations from the Montclair Planning Board. The board found the original proposal didn’t fit in with the town’s master plan, in terms of size and consistency with surrounding properties. The Historic Preservation Commission also found the plan to be out of scale.

There are still five buildings in the plan, but the height of three have been reduced from six stories to five. The upper floors will be designed to appear more in scale with the surrounding properties.

Within the redevelopment area, 135,000 square feet will be designated for commercial space, including 75,000 square feet on the site’s west side for office space, according to the revised plan. There will also be a supermarket ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 square feet.

There are some aspects of the redevelopment plan that remain the same. For instance, 20 percent of the housing units will be designated for affordable householes, while 10 percent will be for workforce housing. 

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The number of short-term rentals — for stays of 3 to 90 days — has been cut down from 15 percent to 10 percent. Open space, meanwhile, has been bumped up from a minimum of 20 percent of the land to 28 percent, which will add a fourth plaza to the project.

Whether or not all of these changes will be enough to propel a project forward is the big question remaining.

The Montclair Town Council designated the Lackawanna Plaza site as an “area in need of redevelopment” eight years ago, according to Patch. The Hampshire Companies and Pinnacle Companies won approval to build a 217,000-square-foot complex in 2019, but local opponents killed the redevelopment.

In 2021, BDP Holdings acquired the site and got to work. BDP presumably still owns the site, but the latest redevelopment plan does not mention the company and says a redeveloper will need to enter into agreement with the township before moving forward.

As for the next administrative step, there’s a council meeting in two weeks, when the plan is expected to be reintroduced.

Holden Walter-Warner

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