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West New York Planning Board reviews plans for parking garage at 57th Street lot

The board reviewed and discussed the project as a courtesy but did not need to take action

A rendering of what the parking garage will look like when completed.

The West New York Planning Board has reviewed the town’s plans to construct a parking garage at the site of the surface parking lot on 57th Street. The garage is one of a few the town plans to construct on its current municipal lots to alleviate parking problems including at 51st Street and 54th Street.

Michael Nelson, project architect, presented the preliminary plans for the parking garage to the board. The presentation was a courtesy review and discussion, and no action was taken other than the draft of a letter confirming to the West New York Board of Commissioners that the Planning Board had looked over the project. 

The existing parking lot is around 94 parking spaces. The new planned garage will hold approximately 197 parking spaces. 

“The planned structure parking is for 197 parking spaces with potentially spaces beyond that pending the bid environment and if we’re able to award a bid offer alternate to the project,” Nelson said. 

To the north of the parking lot is 58th Street, to the west is Bergenline Avenue, to the south is 57th Street, and to the east are buildings. The entrance would be on 57th Street. Underneath the first floor drive ramp is storage space for the town, according to Nelson. The three-story parking garage has multiple stairways and an elevator.

Three or four stories depending on bids

While the rendering and current plans call for three-stories, West New York is also exploring the possibility of a four-story parking garage. The town has asked the project architects to look into a bid alternate for an additional floor.  

“There is that option, if the numbers are competitive enough, to have another floor,” Nelson said. “That’s been worked into the bid documents.” 

The architect incorporated embroidery designs into the brick facade as an homage to WNY’s history.

However, the number of stories selected for the parking garage will all depend on the nature of the bids received for the project. According to Nelson, the structure can be built to have additional stories in the future but the road layout would prevent that. 

“The difficulty with adding floors to parking garages is the really tight logistics,” Nelson said. “This site in particular is highly constrained because of the tight fabric of the street… We could design the structure to support future lodes, but the reality is, it’s not feasible to get a crane of the order of magnitude that’s needed to lift the additional pieces 120 feet on to the building.” 

Incorporating textile industry history 

According to Nelson, the town’s history was taken into consideration when designing the facade of the parking garage.

“When we began work on the project, one of our first endeavors was to review the site in the context of the neighborhood, as well as the relevance of the building within the town. We drew from some of the town’s rich textile industry and history. That began to dovetail with some of the residential vernacular in the neighborhood, brick structures and brick patterning.” 

Another view of the parking garage from 57th Street.

The brick design is meant to highlight West New York’s history as a former textile industry hub. The brick patterns aim to emulate that and the surrounding neighborhood. 

“The precast concrete structure with brick veneer, brick patterning, and tones and colors were derived from early studies from spending time in the neighborhood and researching some of the town’s history,” Nelson said. 

Pedestrian walkways approximately 13 feet in width will run around the perimeter of the building. 

Board favors parking garage plans 

Chairwoman Clara Brito-Herrera praised the project, but was in favor of the option for the larger parking garage. 

“Beautiful project,” Herrera said. “It will definitely enhance the neighborhood and is much-needed… One of the things I like the most about the design is the safety feature with the glass as you’re walking in the building and the passageways from one street to the next. It’s easy access and it’s a beautiful project.” 

Vice Chairman Jorge Gomez echoed Herrera that the rendering of the parking garage was “beautiful” and that he was also in favor of the larger option.

“If there is a way to add more parking to it, like another level, that would be even better,” Gomez said. “But it looks great and it’s exciting for the town.” 

The parking garage could be three or four stories tall depending on how contractors place bids to construct the project.

Commissioner Margarita Guzman expressed her excitement for the project.

“I really like the embroidery design,” Guzman said. “I know that this is going to be very well received by the community because one of the problems that we are facing is parking. And this is one of our promises and we are delivering.” 

Commissioner Andrea Bounsiar said: “It’s aesthetically pleasing, very necessary, and I like the glass features for security.”

Commissioner Jonathon Castaneda called it a “great project” and Commissioner Ignacio Amaro added it was “very beautiful.” 

Project timeline

According to Nelson, in terms of a timeline, the goal is to present bids for the project to the Board of Commissioners on April 20. He added that the structure and aesthetic of the building is what drives the schedule.

“After the project is to be bid, the contractor would mobilize shortly after,” Nelson said. “Hopefully in June the timeline would start with early submittals with the contractor who’s ultimately awarded the project to that’s needed for fabrication of the precast concrete components in the works.”

Nelson said the town is “backing out the schedule so that the site doesn’t remain dormant for any period of time.”

He added that he anticipates completion by mid-November of 2023. This garage, along with the others, aims to add hundreds of parking spaces in West New York.

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.