Avalon at Edgewater — Courtesy: AvalonBay Communities
By Joshua Burd
AvalonBay Communities has unveiled 240 new apartments in Edgewater, following a high-profile fire in 2015 that leveled half of its luxury rental complex in the borough.
The developer on Wednesday celebrated the opening of the new units at Avalon at Edgewater, part of a roughly $65 million project that brought the community back to a total of 408 apartments. In the process, the company says it has delivered a new and improved building with an updated design and an expanded set of amenities.
“The thing about real estate is that you should never feel that you know it all,” said Ron Ladell, senior vice president with AvalonBay. “There’s always room to learn and room to improve — and this is a reflection of that.”
The development has resulted in new features such as a pet spa and a bike room, while adding to the pool and courtyard space at the property off River Road. During a grand opening ceremony on Thursday, Ladell said the new building is almost 30 percent leased and 15 percent occupied, while also crediting a development team led by AvalonBay’s Jon Vogel and Ludivine O’Toole.
The milestone comes after the January 2015 blaze, which could be seen for miles, gaining widespread attention and sparking calls for changes to the state’s construction code. Those calls led to legislation that has since stalled in Trenton, with proponents saying the proposal doesn’t go far enough, while development and housing advocates argue the added costs would be so high that the requirements would stifle affordable housing.
The five-alarm fire was deemed to be accidental, caused by a maintenance worker’s blowtorch.
In the meantime, Avalon announced in February 2015 that it would take extra steps with its fire protection systems at some of its new developments, including extra sprinklers throughout the buildings and masonry firewalls. On Wednesday, Edgewater Borough Council President Anthony Bartolomeo credited the developer for “going above and beyond for fire safety measures.”
“That was a big statement on your part and the people saw that,” Bartolomeo said. “And I thank you for that. It’s nice to have you back operating in town.”