At its March meeting, the Bayonne Planning Board approved an application to develop multiple areas of the South Cove Commons into a daycare center and two retail spaces.
South Cove Development LLC will retrofit the 34,295-square-foot shuttered Frank Theatres into a multi-use retail storefront, including a Light Bridge Day Care Center and an America’s Best Eyeglasses. The developer will construct a 3,500-square-foot Sherwin Williams attached to the existing Stop & Shop, adjacent to LeFante Way.
The planning board and city council adopted the redevelopment plan for the South Cove Commons plaza in 2017. Last December, the council adopted a 20-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with the developer for the former site of Frank Theatres which closed in 2019.
Retrofitting the old theater
The former theater will be retrofitted to make room for five tenants. Light Bridge Academy will be 12,000 square feet. The America’s Best Eyeglasses will be 2,000 square feet.
Three other tenants still to be determined will be on the first floor. Fourteen parking spaces will be added in front of the site.
There will be 12 classrooms in the day care center for children three months to five years. A maximum of 190 children will be enrolled, requiring 31 staff members.
The center will feature a playground in the back, divided into two areas that serve two age groups: one side is for children two and a half and younger; the other side for older children. A six-foot vinyl fence with no access from the outside will surround the playground.
Because of COVID-19, no one including parents will be allowed to enter the center. Parents will walk their children to the entrance, where an employee will escort the child inside the building. Pickups follow the same procedure.
The center will have a slew of security measures, including electronically controlled doors and security cameras covering every inch of the inside. Parents can access the cameras to watch their children remotely. The daycare center will join the Bayonne Police Department’s security camera registry.
Planning Board Chairwoman Karen Fiermonte praised the project for redeveloping the theater which has been vacant for years. The board voted unanimously to approve the project.
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