Drawing inspiration from some of Europe's most enduring buildings, a developer envisions a "landmark" luxury apartment complex replacing the Ken Smith Ford dealership, all in a transit village setting.
If constructed, "Ridgewood Station" on Franklin Avenue would offer 114 luxury apartments complete with 7,250 sq. ft. of retail space wrapping around Chestnut Street. At four stories and set beside the rail line, the property would hold a total of 166 parking spaces, 22 for retail. Proposed are 12 studios, 63 one-bedroom units, 37 two-bed apartments, and 2 three-bedroom dwellings.
The conceptual plan was unveiled Wednesday night in front of the planning board, which has been working to create a special zone to accommodate three other large downtown housing project proposals.
Ridgewood Station developer Dinallo Construction Corp. is asking the village to create a transit village zone, essentially an overlay zone to encompass select areas near the train station.
"We will have a full review on traffic, planning and density," attorney Charles Sarlo said. "Tonight I just wanted to present our vision."
The vision could be a game-changer; the site is one of the most visible in town and in many ways, at the entrance to the downtown.
Blending elements of prominent village buildings – like the Wilsey Building – and famous plazas in Italy and France, Ridgewood Station would be designed almost in an "L" shape on the 2-acre property to create a sense of "enclosure" from Franklin Avenue to East Ridgewood Avenue along Broad Street.
"I broke out the facades to make it look like two separate buildings," said architect Dean Marchetto. The material would be constructed out of brick, stone and stucco in a "Mission" style, with a cupola rising 70 feet to create depth and architectural pizazz.
Steps from the train station, amenities of the building would include a walking track, a fitness center, rooftop greenspace and outdoor seating areas. Parking would ground level with no visibility from the street, Marchetto said.
Planning board members were impressed by the aesthetics of the project, displayed using interactive 3-D modeling architectural software.
"I'm overwhelmed," said member Nancy Bigos. "It's taken us to the next generation of the Village of Ridgewood and I absolutely think it's beautiful...I anticipate hearing a whole lot more as we move forward."
Deputy Mayor Albert Pucciarelli said the project could "bring some life" to Franklin Avenue while potentially even spurring the "beginning of a renaissance on Chestnut Street," currently replete with auto repair yards.
A planner will flesh out some more details of the project on Jan. 15, when the planning board meets next.