Live-work units may be coming to Broadway

The trendy design would at the former Rite Aid site

The Rite Aid at the corner of Broadway and West 22nd Street
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The Rite Aid at the corner of Broadway and West 22nd Street

At its Feb. 10 meeting, the Bayonne Planning Board approved a redevelopment plan for the shuttered Rite Aid at West 22nd Street and Broadway. The redevelopment area includes two adjacent residences on West 22nd Street, which were declared a non-condemnation area in need of redevelopment. 

The plan, which would allow a multifamily building, was presented to the board by City Planner Mika Apte. 

“It has always been the city’s goal and vision to look to this property to to attract a highly attractive residential or mixed-use redevelopment,” Apte said. 

The building can be up to seven stories. On the sixth story, a setback of eight feet is required. A minimum of 25 percent of the seventh story must be open space.  

“Some of the developments that have happened around these properties have been between seven and eight stories,” Apte said. “Keeping that in mind, there will not be an extremely high structure here.” 

Units and parking

The maximum lot coverage allowed is 95 percent. Apte said it is typical on the Broadway corridor to allow buildings to abut each other. But the plan stays consistent with the area in allowing a five-foot setback from the residential area behind the redevelopment area on West 22nd Street. 

A total of 80 residential units will be permitted. Studio units must be 525 square feet, one-bedroom units must be 750 square feet, two-bedroom units must be 950 square feet, three-bedroom units must be 1,200 square feet, and live-work units must be 1,200 square feet. Only five percent of the units can be three-bedroom. 

The plan calls for one parking space per studio and one-bedroom units, 1.2 parking spaces per two-bedroom unit, and two parking spaces per three-bedroom unit. There must be one electric vehicle parking space per every 30 spaces. The plan allows parking to be offsite within 600 feet of the redevelopment area, subject to planning board approval. 

Twenty percent of the building must include recreation or open space for the tenants, which can include a rooftop terrace, gym, or a common area. The 22nd Street Station of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Station is nearby. 

Living and working in one place 

Apte said that the live-work units are new to the city. She said that the unit may encompass a commercial space on Broadway such as an artist’s studio, with residential space in the back off of West 22nd Street. The idea is to have a commercial storefront on Broadway despite the plan’s calling for a multifamily residential building. 

“The first story of any building that would come here would have to create this kind of a pedestrian friendly atmosphere,” Apte said. “This way it still attracts and creates a streetscape environment for the city.” 

Redevelopment plans in the area usually permit mixed-use redevelopments consisting of a multifamily residential building with retail space on the first floor. Now the city is moving forward with plans that allow multifamily residential buildings without retail space. To keep those buildings pedestrian-friendly, the city is allowing live-work units on the first floor. 

“Even though it might just be multifamily, we have allowed uses that we define as live-work space,” Apte said. “You would have something like an artist’s studio or an architect’s office where you have the work space as a separate residential area.” 

Commissioner concerns

“To me, it sounds like if I have a dentist office then I live upstairs,” said Commissioner Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski. “But I’m not sure how that would work here.” 

Apte clarified that the front of the first floor along Broadway would be the work space. To the rear would be a separate residential area. Together, the two spaces are considered one 1,200-square-foot unit. The tenants would not live in the residential units in the floors above it. 

“We’re trying to introduce something that we think has a market in Bayonne for the future,” Apte said. 

Ashe-Nadrowski also had concerns about allowing offsite parking. Apte said that parking would be within the structure, but offsite parking is allowed within 600 feet of the building. 

“This studio stuff sounds awesome if we can get people to do it,” Ashe-Nadrowski said.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.