A rendering of Edison Village in West Orange — Courtesy: Prism Capital Partners
By Joshua Burd
Prism Capital Partners is nearing several key milestones in a project that is a decade in the making — the redevelopment of a historic Thomas Edison factory complex in West Orange.
The developer said the first phase of the project, which includes 334 rental units, is expected to begin leasing in January and open by mid-2018. Meantime, an 18,400-square-foot retail component is expected to be complete by the end of this year.
Known as Edison Village, the project spans 21 acres at the former Thomas Edison Invention Factory and Commerce Center on Main Street. The plan is a long time coming, with Prism having been named the redeveloper of the 104-year-old manufacturing facility in 2007.
“Following extended delays, driven by litigation and the Great Recession, we are pleased to be moving forward so quickly in completing what we first set out to do,” said Eugene Diaz, a principal partner with the Bloomfield-based firm. “This project is a poster child for the benefits of persistence and a disciplined approach.”
Prism announced the milestones last week as it said it was nearing completion of exterior building renovations at the site. Along with the rehabilitation and conversion of the complex, the first phase includes a 630-space parking structure.
Apartments at Edison Village will range from 590-square-foot studios to 1,500-square-foot three-bedroom units, including 20 penthouse duplex residences. Prism said the design, by Minno & Wasko Architects and Planners, takes advantage of existing architectural features to incorporate ceiling heights ranging from 14 to 16 feet and 10-foot replica replacement windows that will let in abundant natural light.
As the firm moves ahead with its rehabilitation, West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi said he was “thrilled” by the speed of the project and its prospects for the township.
“From the beginning it was the township’s hope that this project would provide a much-needed facelift — aesthetically and economically — to that neighborhood and become an important economic driver to the entire downtown,” Parisi said. “As the real estate market continues to improve regionally, we believe this project is poised to meet and exceed our expectations and have a significant impact on the township for years to come.”
The retail component, known The Shoppes at Edison Village, is being constructed on the corner of Charles and Main streets. The space is expected to include a mix of restaurants and café-style concepts, while an interior plaza with a fountain will be open to the public during the day.
Along with the retail offerings, Edison Village residents will have access to a private fitness center, indoor swimming pool, rooftop deck and a host of other amenities.
“We have worked hard to design a project of incredible quality — one that celebrates the past while serving to anchor the future of this community,” said Edwin Cohen, also a principal partner with Prism. “It is gratifying to see it coming to life.”
Prism secured full approvals earlier this fall for the project’s second phase, which will add 230 for-sale townhouses. During construction of that phase, which will likely begin during phase one leasing, the township’s public works building will be relocated.
The firm also will extend Standish Avenue through the townhome site in order to improve traffic flow for the surrounding community, according to a news release. Infrastructure improvements will include new roads, sidewalks, street lighting and landscaping.
The project will bring new life to the Thomas Edison-built complex, which was a production site for storage batteries for light delivery vehicles, automobiles, railroad signals, industrial applications and mining equipment. Those operations ceased in 1965.