Residential units approved for former Mt. Carmel School

Historic preservation a concern

A digital rendering of the building after construction, by DAL Design Group.
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A digital rendering of the building after construction, by DAL Design Group.

The Bayonne Planning Board has approved plans for residential units at the site of the former Our Lady of Mount Carmel School at 25 East 22nd Street. The developer, 22nd Street Partners Urban Renewal LLC, was represented by attorney Michael Miceli who presented the plans at the May meeting.

The school was built in 1920 and was used as such until it closed in 2008 due to declining enrollment. 

The Historic Preservation Committee had asked the board ahead of the meeting to “encourage the developer to maintain the traditional exterior of the building to the greatest extent possible, and to be aware that it is of value historically to Bayonne.”

The 16,000-square-foot lot is now approved to be transformed into a five-story multi-family building, with 31 residential units. The building will have an attached parking garage with 31 spaces, making it a 1-to-1 parking spot ratio. Twenty-eight will be stacked in an automated parking system. There will be 32 bicycle parking spaces.

Of the 31 units, 22 are one-bedroom, ranging from 700 square feet to 790 square feet. The remaining nine units are two-bedroom, ranging from 850 square feet to 1,150 square feet.

Approximately 7,200 square feet of open space will include  approximately 5,100 square feet of green roof, approximately 1,100- square-foot roof terrace, and approximately 1000-square-foot interior recreation space, according to Al Sambade, project architect, engineer, and planner.

‘Adaptive reuse’

Miceli called it an “adaptive reuse of the existing building.” The façade is required by the redevelopment plan to stay the same. However, the developer is constructing an additional floor but “maintaining Bayonne’s history” by reusing the structure and façade.

There will be a partial fifth-story addition constructed on the east side of the building that will include two apartments. The rest of the fifth story will be a roof terrace. The parking garage will be constructed over the existing paved parking lot.

The developer will maintain the original façade but will redo the brickwork on the sides of the building which were constructed with different brick to match the front. The two additions will match the exterior walls, materials, and brick finish of the existing structure.

Plans allow for other materials to be used, but the developer felt it was “more appropriate” to match with existing materials, Miceli said. Some windows will be replaced with energy efficient windows. But they will be the same size and window fitting as the originals.

New sidewalks and curb cuts will match existing pavers on East 22nd street. The developer will protect mature street trees on East 22nd Street. During construction the trees will be preserved and maintained to match the trees that line the block.

A 17-foot paved area will be transformed into a landscaped area along Church Lane. The project may or may not need a transformer. If not, more landscaping will be added in its place.

Commissioner concerns

Chairwoman Karen Fiermonte questioned if the windows would be tinted, a frequent concern of the board. Sambade said the windows would not be tinted, but treatments would obscure the view from the street.

Fiermonte also had concerns about traffic due to other construction in the high traffic area. Miceli said the developers will have meetings with the city to avoid issues such as traffic, but was optimistic nothing would be affected. The majority of the work is interior, so there may not be closures. Construction will begin in 2022, Miceli said.

“I think this was a nicely done project, it keeps with the integrity of the existing structure,” Fiermonte said. “It’s historic in nature to the community… even preserving the locations of the classrooms with the apartments... Having been in the building myself, its nice to see that done… It looks great, and it’s a great way to brighten up that area.”

Commissioner Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski said, “Unfortunately, the school closed. And this is the perfect reuse. It’s always great when we don’t knock down a building, especially one that has historic value to the community, and to repurpose it to keep the same look and integrity. I’m glad we’re keeping the trees, we never want to take down mature, good trees.”

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.