Gonsosa Development joined public officials this week to break ground on 23 two-family homes in Elizabeth’s Frog Hollow neighborhood: From left: Board of Education member Maria Carvalho, Union County Freeholder Sergio Granados, Ricardo Sosa, Councilwoman-at-large Patricia Perkins-Auguste, Mayor Christian Bollwage, Environmental Protection Agency Chief of Staff Chris Lyon, Council President William Gallman, Alberto Goncalves, First Ward Councilman Carlos Torres and Elizabeth Director of Planning And Community Development Eduardo Rodrigues. — Courtesy: Gonsosa Development
By Joshua Burd
A developer has broken ground on the latest piece of a mixed-use project in Elizabeth, where it plans to build nearly 50 new homes at the former site of vacant brownfield property.
The firm, Gonsosa Development, joined public officials this week to mark the next phase of construction at 200-238 South Second St. Plans call for 23 new two-family homes that will be sold at market value, as the developer and city officials seek to breathe new life into the historic neighborhood known as Frog Hollow.
To that end, Gonsosa is embarking on the multimillion-dollar project with assistance from the nonprofit Elizabeth Development Corp., which helped with approvals and permitting, according to a news release. The EDC also helped the developer take advantage of public subsidies and benefits available under the state’s Urban Enterprise Zone program.
“The Elizabeth Development Corporation is proud to be part of this exciting project,” said Bill O’Dea, executive director of the EDC. “This ambitious redevelopment changes the face of this traditional neighborhood that has been home to generations of Elizabeth residents.”
The groundbreaking comes around eight months after the founders of Gonsosa Development, brothers Ricardo Sosa and Alberto Goncalves, closed on the property for $1.5 million. The developers then remediated what had been declared a brownfield with the help of a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, paving the way for the start of construction on the residential portion.
“Brownfield grants help transform contaminated, blighted properties into environmental and economical assets that improve public health and create jobs,” EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez said. “EPA is thrilled to have worked with our local partners in Elizabeth to revitalize the Frog Hollow neighborhood.”
The site also includes a 15,000-square-foot commercial warehouse that has already been leased to a nonmanufacturing tenant.
“As the fourth-largest municipality in New Jersey, increasing the availability of housing is important in revitalizing neighborhoods and maintaining the vitality of Elizabeth,” Mayor Christian Bollwage said. “Frog Hollow is an area with a long, treasured past and this new project will add another chapter to the history of this vibrant community.”
Both Sosa and Goncalves grew up in Elizabeth, with the latter noting “we are committed to giving back to the community. This project will transform the neighborhood from a vacant brownfield into an active community.”
Sosa added the firm predicts an estimated $4 million in new property tax revenue from the project over the next decade.
“The Elizabeth community at large also benefits due to the increased tax revenue that will continue to aid in the revitalization of the city currently underway,” Sosa said.