A three-building development along Reock Street, located two blocks from the Orange Train Station, was approved by the city’s Planning Board yesterday.
The 171-unit project, which has three separate parking garages with a total of 140 spaces, is positioned around a central courtyard. It is located in the Reock Street Redevelopment Zone, which incorporates five blocks between Essex Street and South Harrison Street.
“Having the three buildings actually costs us more money because we have double elevators, double stairs,” said architect Mark Virgona. “But it gives us the ability to have that open space between the buildings. It will help that street rather than having one 400-foot-long facade, uninterrupted.”
The architectural features, such as the bay windows and cornice on the street-facing portion of the facade created a need for a variance, meaning the project will have to be approved by the Zoning Board. “Those elements are what’s creating the variance,” Virgona said. “Certainly we could removed them, but we feel they help the project and the detriments are outweighed by the benefits.”
The development requires the demolition of two recently constructed buildings, one completed in 2012, that are still tenant occupied. “Are they in total disrepair that you need demolish them?” asked Council President Tency Eason, a planning board member. “But aren’t they in fairly good condition?”
“I don’t know the condition, but the lots and blocks are all included in the redevelopment plan,” Virgona asked. “And this project is in accordance with the plan.”
Mayor Dwayne Warren said that assisting the displaced tenants would be a condition of the approval. “And whether or not there is any priority they’ll get on the new units that are being built,” Warren said.
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