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Annin Lofts Developer Starts Demolition
If you’ve driven Bloomfield Avenue lately, you’ve seen it: Construction fencing has been placed around the former Annin Flag building, which is slated to be turned into a loft-style apartment complex.
Here’s what the fencing means. D&R Verona LLC, as the project’s developer is known, has filed for permits to demolish both of the houses that front on Bloomfield Avenue, including the structure pictured above. D&R also will be demolishing the building that used to house the Verona Inn further into the lot. A spokeswoman for D&R adds that, “We are working on the detailed project design and looking forward to continuing to work through the entitlement process with the town.”
Under that process, which has to go through both the Planning Board and the Town Council, the lots acquired by D&R and some of the surrounding properties would be deemed an “area in need of redevelopment”. That would allow the Annin Lofts to make a payment-in-lieu of taxes (PILOT) on the improvements. Under a PILOT agreement, Verona’s municipal government keeps 95% of the monies paid and Essex County gets 5%. Under regular property taxes, 55% goes to the schools and 25% and 20%, respectively, goes to the two government entities. The PILOT might not deprive the Board of Education of operating dollars since D&R has configured the Annin Lofts to make them potentially less likely to send lots of school-age children to Verona’s public schools. The Town Council has not yet decided how, or if, it would share Annin PILOT dollars with the BOE.
The spokeswoman said that D&R expects to begin construction on the site this fall and make the first units available in 2017. The plan involves turning the former flag building into 51 units of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, including a new rooftop penthouse. D&R will also construct a second 68-unit building on the site that will echo the design of the flag factory.
D&R is a joint venture of Russo Development, a Carlstadt-based company with more than 7 million square feet of real estate work to its credit, and Dinallo Construction of Wood-Ridge, a company that has been turning the former Jersey City Medical Center into an apartment complex called The Beacon. And they have already made a hefty investment in the project. According to public reecords, D&R paid nearly $3.4 million for the Annin property and another $1.4 million for the former Verona Inn site.
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