Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hidden Plainfield: Neat and Tidy property IDs

Leland Gardens' Community Center is unique in Plainfield.

So, where are those well-maintained apartment complexes featured in Sunday's Hidden Plainfield?

Below, the identities, locations and a couple of selling points of each. Having lived in apartments in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx in a prior life, I can attest that apartment living can be quite pleasant indeed considering someone else takes care of the lawn, the gutters and the trash.


Leland Gardens sits mostly hidden from view, except for its entrance off East Front Street and its exit onto Leland Avenue across from Stillman Gardens, Plainfield's only cooperative complex.

Bought about ten years ago by a Rochester, NY based REIT (real estate investment trust), the new owners completely upgraded the apartment interiors with new baths, kitchens, floors and windows.

A Community Center, offering a meeting and activities room and a computer center, plus rental offices, was also built -- the only one of its kind in Plainfield.

Home to nearly a thousand residents, it has always been Plainfield's 'United Nations', with the most diversity in any one location in the city. It is also highly desirable for being just a minute or two from Route 22 and NJT buses to and from New York City.

Website:  "Conifer Living: Leland Gardens"

Leland Gardens is the largest rental complex in Plainfield.


Door in this photo is propped open for crew painting one of the apartments.
I'll bet most Plainfielders are unfamiliar with this large and immaculately maintained complex on West 7th Street near Clinton Avenue. It is cleverly laid out in such a way that there are great vistas of well-trimmed lawns with manicured plantings the belie the actual size of the development, with plenty of parking discreetly screened from street view.

Whenever I pass by, I am reminded of the Yale Divinity School in New Haven (itself modeled on Jeffersonian priniciples), which I used to pass regularly in another prior life.

For residents of these apartments, shopping is just steps away. The NYC bus passes by the front of the complex on West 7th Street and the Dunellen train station is a hop and a skip away, as is Stelton Avenue shopping centers and I-287.

Website:  "Pineview Gardens"

Pineview Gardens is on West 7th Street, near Clinton Avenue.


Though somewhat smaller than today's other complexes, Plainfield Village on Randolph Road, is well-maintained, having come under new management a few years ago that made considerable investment in the property.

One of the main attractions here is that the complex is situated just across the road from Cedar Brook Park, with its ballfields, basketball courts, jogging paths, cricket pitch, tennis and handball courts and, of course, the world-famous Shakespeare Garden.

A very attractive setting, as many residents can testify.

On a less pleasant note, I was once told by an elderly Jewish woman who lived in a home on Rose Street facing the park that these were the 'best apartments available for Jewish GIs returning from World War II' and starting their families and careers in Plainfield. That would be the side of the Queen City less often mentioned, where discrimination -- racial and religious -- was casual, accepted, and even codified into deeds. We've certainly come a long way.

Website:  "Corsa Management: Plainfield Village"

Plainfield Village has all the advantages of Cedar Brook Park at its doorstep.
Where shall we go next week?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Dan, You missed the "granddaddy" of the apts. Meadowbrook Village has been referred to as the first Garden Apt complex on the East Coast. This complex has had real bad lows and was rescued to become how it is today.

Anonymous said...

Leland Gardens also got a PILOT program that drastically cut their property taxes for ten years (and maybe Jerry Green got a contract on kitchen renovations that he subed out, or so the rumor goes.) I wonder if the tax office is up to date on restoring full tax status to this apartment complex. I, also, wonder if the complex was in compliance with the rental guidlelines that were stipulated in exchange for the PILOT. Was anyone watching? That's always the problem with policing agreements.

BTW PILOT's were intended for commercial projects because they strip tax revenue from school districts. A municipality's lost revenue is made up by the county. Thanks to Jerry, the school district lost ten years of revenue.

Dan said...

@ 9:25 AM: Thanks, but I skipped it on purpose. The complexes in the story are all 100% rental.

Though there ARE rentals at Meadowbrook Village and it is immaculately maintained, it is a CONDOMINIUM complex. Though its developer went belly up in the late 1980s, and it had trouble selling all the units, it is still condo in purpose, as you can see from occasional sales posted in the newspapers.

Dan said...

A 4:20 PM, yes there was a PILOT, imposed by the state's mortgage and finance agency as a condition of financing (the same process as every other development that gets state underwriting). You are right, it cheats the school district -- in commercial cases that may be defensible, but in this case there are probably students in the hundreds living in these apartments.

On another note, the streets in the copmlex are CITY STREETS, not private ones. One of the conditions of the project going through was that the City would mill and pave them. NEVER DONE, and they are as atrocious as ever.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the unpaved streets at Leland Gardens, they are in atrocious condition, indeed. Would the city have lost anything if it had turned the streets over to the owner? For the owner, there would have been maintenance costs counterbalanced by an improved parcel of land. I think avoiding short term costs of maintenance won the day as everything seemed to be done to give the owner a "sweetheart" deal. Never having gotten a "sweetheart" deal from the city, and having to make up lost tax revenue from those who have, even if marginally, I think I may be biased in my opinion of them;)