Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Update on Dornoch/Monarch issues

News of the Plainfield Senior Center/Monarch condos developer Glen Fishman's woes in Rahway (see here and here), led me to check up on outstanding issues with the project at 400 East Front Street.

Fishman, who is reckoned to have invested $9 million in buying up numerous downtown Rahway properties, made an unusual appearance at Rahway's redevelopment agency's January 5th meeting.

He took the opportunity to update them on his Rahway projects and the news was mixed (renting his retail spaces) to bad (the Savoy development). One item that caught my eye was his reported statement that 'condos can't be built when they're selling for $150,000 a unit' -- which I was arguing was a more likely market-rate figure for Plainfield's Monarch units nearly two years ago.

This past December, I went over the outstanding issues (see here): a parking plan, the 'roof garden', the Veteran's Center and the rooftop solar panels.

Aerial view, December 2010. Neither solar panels nor rooftop landscaping.
As of today, though the City has halted towing of cars from the covered parking area, a parking plan has not been worked out with the Planning Board.

The 'roof garden' seems to be the subject of a 'bait-and-switch' maneuver by Fishman/Dornoch/P&F Management.

It seems that despite the promotion to the Planning Board and the community, the actual construction of the roof deck will not permit the weight loads needed for the originally proposed landscaping. The resolution has been for
Fishman/Dornoch/P&F Management to propose seasonal planters and outdoor furniture, which is to be stored in the Senior Center basement (presuming the Director agrees?). Can you say 'tacky'?

The Veteran's Center would require an agreement to cancel or void a provision of the developer's agreement that provides the space is to remain a sales space for the condos until the units are sold off. Despite the efforts of local real estate powerhouses ERA Reed Realty and Sleepy Hollow Realtors, fewer than one third of the units have been sold and closed and an even smaller percentage is actually occupied (leading one to conclude there are speculators buying units for rental).

Lastly, the rooftop solar panels
(see Section 7. (a)(viii)).

From the developer's agreement, the solar panel section.
The Robinson-Briggs administration simply ignores any discussion of this provision in the developer's agreement.

What's with that?

Fishman/Dornoch/P&F begged off? If so, to whom? The Planning Board? The Robinson-Briggs administration? To Ms. DeFilippo and the Union County Improvement Authority?

As usual, we are still left with unresolved questions.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

When you expect less you get less. Planters on the roof??? Please - next thing you know it will be filled with plastic flowers.

We need someone who can focus on economic development and bringing in middle to upper middle class residents in this city.

Enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

The City needs to address the liquor store next door where addicts and prostitutes hang out. I bet if you took a stroll over there you can find hyperdermic needles in the parking lot and whinos in the back of the building. Without addressing those issues, the idea of finding buyers fot those condos is a JOKE!