The Vestry

Sterling Properties, in joint venture with Greenwood Development, LLC, has received approval for the development of The Vestry, a boutique collection of 46 upscale rental homes located at 147 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair.

Initial site work is expected to begin in early summer 2017 for the five-story apartment building which will rise on the former site of the Mount Carmel Holy Church, just steps from New Jersey Transit’s Bay Street Station and the myriad of shops, dining, cultural and entertainment venues in Montclair’s award-winning downtown district.

Designed by Montclair-based Sionas Architects, The Vestry’s will boast a striking exterior red brick and glass design. The L-shaped elevator building is being developed in accordance with U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) guidelines for LEED® Silver certification. The building will offer a mix of studio, one- two- and three-bedroom homes. Several of the apartments will offer expansive outdoor balconies. Residents will have access to a package of in-building amenities, including a bike share program, zip-car, covered parking and an indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge. The Vestry will also offer approximately 1,600 square-feet of ground floor retail space, bringing even more services and conveniences close to home.

The Vestry will be delivered by Greenwood Development and Livingston-based Sterling Properties. Sterling has previously introduced the Bellclair apartments and Montclair-based Greenwood Development and has been responsible for the conversion of the historic Wellmont Theater into a concert venue, as well as many other residential and commercial initiatives within the Township.

“We’re excited to begin construction on The Vestry, a stylish new rental building that will bring designer industrial inspired apartments and desired amenities to the eastern gateway to Bloomfield Avenue,” says Nick Hollenbeck, Sterling’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “This dynamic, transit-friendly residential address combines a chic living environment with an ideal walkable lifestyle and easy access to great public transportation, charming Church Street and the redeveloping Lackawanna Plaza retail center located two blocks away.”

“The Vestry has been designed with the surrounding community in mind,” adds David Genova, Principal of Greenwood Development. “Its sleek and modern exterior mixes old and new architecture to blend seamlessly with the area’s century-old homes and Bloomfield Avenue’s distinctive residential and retail streetscape. It will also be constructed using sustainable building techniques and materials to ensure it’s developed in an environmentally responsible fashion.”


20 replies on “Developers Receive Approval for The Vestry, a New 46-Home Montclair Rental Building”

  1. A great looking building for Montclair Center with appropriate height, massing and details. Bravissimo!

  2. We keep adding residential and retail space. Is anyone actually renting all these new apartments and do we really need more retail space when we have so many vacant storefronts? What is the occupancy rate of the new apartments on Valley? And have there been any studies about the impact of the building blitz on class size in our schools?

  3. Hey, Frankgg: We are thrilled to have The Vestry built right up against one of our development’s buildings on the Bloomfield Avenue side of the property, and a bit into our property line. Perhaps we will sell developer air rights and they can build right on top of our homes and create a new skyline for the 4th Ward.

  4. Sorry to hear that Lucylou. Thats a planning mistake if your existing development’s quality of life and real estate value is being hindered. The Master Plan shouldn’t have been accepted and needs to be re visited. Its goal is to superimpose big development on Montclair and if the planning is insufficient, none of it should happen.

  5. When The Mews was built as part of the township’s redevelopment plan, the same question came up about a blitz of children entering the school system. Out of 89 new units completed, only 9 children entered the school system that year. Hardly a hardship. And to FrankGG: If you check the artist rendering of The Vestry, which shows Bloomfield Avenue, the tiny Monopoly sized town and garden homes to the left are part of Montclair Mews Condominium Development. The Vestry will be right up against my neighbors. The rest of the community is on Pine Street, and also reaches to Glenridge Avenue and Toney’s Brook.

  6. lucylou,

    You might want to check with your association’s Board of Directors. Your own complex built buildings much closer to each other than the Vestry will be.

    The rendering is actually quite favorable to The Mews.

    Look on the positive side. You displaced a bunch of residents via the 1970-80’s Urban Renewal Program and now it is coming full circle.

    But, you have land/condo within a Transit Village. If you want to sell, I’m sure you could make more than a fair profit.

  7. The Mews reflects Montclair’s 2nd attempt at the Urban Renewal (UR) and its central concept of blight. UR has now been replaced by Areas in Need of Redevelopment (ANR) and we have dispensed with the concept of blight and replaced it with concepts like obsolete.

    You might be interested to know that Pine Street, back in the day, went straight across what is now The Mews property and met Bloomfield Av just catty corner East of Hartley. The building you mention would have been at the corner of Pine & Cherry Sts.

    If you really want to connect he dots, you can explore the shared history between what is now the Pine Street Historic District and the Miller Street Historic District. Both are in the 4th Ward, but worlds apart. We have sliced and diced this part of the ward so many times, we have lost track of our history. We are now only capable of defining the area by the present day and what the future may bring.

    So, it really doesn’t matter what goes there as we just keep recreating it and replacing the history with that of the moment. The past is unimportant. Immaterial. It’s all about now. I get it. It is just sad.

  8. And for those who haven’t taken note, the only historic preservation efforts undertaken by the Township in the last decade have been in Upper Montclair. Yes, we oft speak of a day when the Town Center district expands westward. It’s not going to happen. Public HP initiatives in the 042 have been a non-issue since 2005. Unfortunately, the same will now become true of the 043. The upcoming Master Plan amendments will only go further to neuter HP.

    It is not a question of what it proposes, but what it omits and the speed at which this will proceed. I like fast. But, when governments go fast – particularly ours – it raises a red flag for me. Think of the recent Sanctuary City & price ordinances and how they were introduced.

    To be clear, there is nothing sinister about the MP amendment. It only suffers from expediency, its piecemeal approach, and its distorted priorities. Nothing fatal. Just incremental in a zero sum sort of way.


  9. 1. It’s amazing how different the reception by everyone to these developments, (and deservedly so) than to Valley and Bloom. Realizing that the overall project is less bulky, but the Montclarion II and the Vestry are not small building and in totality will equal at least one of the two monsters at Valley and bloom with only one floor if height difference yet the reception is much more positive. It is so simple that it all comes down to exterior material choice. Why we just can’t mandate brick and metal and iron and stone I will never get because the difference in aethestics is night an day. You just can’t go wrong with brick and mortar and metal. The maroon and cream vinyl is gonna kill ya everytime.

    2. The number on priority in making Montclair center someplace that people actually want to spend time in the public realm is a dramatic overhaul of Bloomfiled Avenue. Especially where the Montclair and Vestry are located…it is about the worst environment one could construct on which to host a town center. high speed, overcrowded four-laner, Auto centric, loud, exaust filled, pedestrians struck once or twice a month…montclair center is successful despite bloomfield avenue, not because of it. If the town could ever figure out a way to make Bloomfield avenue and the streetscape including along it even remotely attractive to anything other than cars…the town would reach potential currently unattainable.

  10. The Vestry, like everything else going up in Montclair, is grossly overbuilt for the site. The planning board needs to consider a more restrictive limit on the number of dwelling units per acre, as well as the number of required parking spaces. The Vestry is built to the property lines, and there is not nearly enough parking for all of the bedrooms. No one can sit here and say with a straight face that a 3 bedroom luxury apartment in New jersey is going to require one car or less. Even a one bedroom, shared by a working couple, could have two cars.

    The Vestry required an excessive amount of variances, all of which were granted without much discourse. Kind of makes me suspicious that the Planning Board’s pockets were lined by the developer on this one.

    Ultimately, the Vestry will help the slow gentrification of the neighborhood, however greedy its proportions are. However, this will be at the costs of the neighbors. It should have been built with at least double the parking, and as LucyLou will tell you, all those extra cars will end up illegally parked at the Mews, sending residents scrambling to fight overzealous towing laws to get the trespassers out. There is a total lack of parking in town, particularly by the train station, and the planning board is in a current Utopian fog about the realities of required parking.

    Lastly, why is all of the development being crammed in on the North side of Bloomnfield ave? The South side of the Avenue is awash with derelict buildings and empty lots. Why not focus some energy there? Its becoming the clear line between the haves and the have-nots.

  11. 1. Our existing zoning nomenclature, in order of the most dense to the least dense, is C1 (downtown Montclair), C2, N-C and then down to the office & residential zones. A key purpose of these zones is to provide density transitions areas between adjacent zones. Furthermore, the township-wide zone strategy is predicated on centering more intense development around transit nodes (TODs) – our train stations to mitigate parking & circulation.

    The plan, based on public consensus, is to make these Transit Oriented Development nodes (Walnut St, Watchung Plaza, Upper Montclair) C4 zones. So why are placing many of the more dense C3’s outside of the TOD’s? Outside of our Redevelopment Areas, why does the plan eliminate incentive zoning in the most dense zones except for the proposed C3 in Upper Montclair? Again, outside of our TOD areas.

    2. This Master Plan element is officially called the Land Use & Circulation Plan. Many of the new proposed C3 Zones front on Neighborhood Thoroughfares & Residential Streets which are the two lowest intensity street circulation classifications. The amendment does not address upgrading these streets to more intensive activity a C3 zone brings.

    Further, there is the innocuous expansion to C3 zones of granting relief from additional parking requirements for additions up to 15% in square footage. The second clause of that ordinance is that conversions to more intensive uses are also given a one-time exemption. So, conversions from residential & general office 1 space/250sf to retail 1 space/200sf and medical offices 1 space/150sf would be excluded. Since the amendment is redlining all references to the Parking Study, & its findings, there is no factual basis or future basis given within the amendment quantifying the public benefits cited. Once again, circulation is given short shrift in this amendment.

  12. “This Master Plan element is officially called the Land Use & Circulation Plan. Many of the new proposed C3 Zones front on Neighborhood Thoroughfares & Residential Streets which are the two lowest intensity street circulation classifications. The amendment does not address upgrading these streets to more intensive activity a C3 zone brings.”
    -this is why the Master Plan is a failure and should be canceled and re done. It also reflects goals that are against the values and wishes of the community of residents. The “Big Developer” centric goals of the planning dept are unwanted by the public.

  13. Hi Frank R: I will put a basket outside my home, and you can put in however little or much cash you wish to purchase it. I know the long and short background about the Pine Street area, even after moving here from Manhattan. I can’t be blamed for what happened before I got here. History repeats itself. The Mews units are tiny compared to what’s going up next to us. At least we belong to each other.

  14. I was at the planning board meeting observing another application the night this was approved, and i don’t remember one member of the public coming out to oppose The Vestry. Lucylou – did you express your objections to the planning board at the meeting? And if so, were any revisions or accommodations made?

  15. I don’t blame you. MM was just the beneficiary.

    I agree the Redevelopment Plan should have never allowed a 0 or 5′ side yard setback. That wasn’t very inconsiderate of the Council and the Planning Board. That they rectified that problem going forward for the corner where the Shell station is located doesn’t help the MM residents. It seemed to only help the appearance of The Gateway entrance into Montclair.

    I’m still confident in the MM’s resale value. 90% of the regular price units appear to be 1,250 sf or bigger. If true, that is pretty good space for an apartment-type space in Montclair…with parking…and access to mass transit. The 2011 revaluation seemed to reduce assessments for three-quarters of the regular price units by 30% or more. Once the new supermarket is built, your complex will have even more going for it.

    Tragically, the residents of one building in your complex took the encroachment hit.

  16. Yes, I attend Planning Board meetings and express my concerns, as did other MM residents. We are always thanked for our input. That’s it.

  17. As well as Town Council Conference and Open Public meetings, 4th Ward meetings, 3rd Ward meetings, 1st Ward meetings, meeting meetings…

  18. LucyLou – You specifically went and objected to the Vestry project when it was presented? Because I remember the board asking for public comment, hearing crickets and being surprised that nobody came out at all.

  19. seedeebee,

    In all fairness, by the time the Planning Board heard the application, the die had been cast. The Redevelopment Plan gave the developer the right to build up to the property line and the height allowed. The time for the public to effect the zoning was back in the Spring of 2013 during the public hearings on the plan.

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