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'Ridgewood Station' Concept Unveiled at Ken Smith Site [Photos]

Planning board members were impressed with a European-inspired, 114-unit luxury apartment concept that would transform Franklin Avenue. What do you think?

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.

anonymous January 11, 2013 at 09:59 PM
To all you people who are so anti change, I'm curious how long you've lived in the village. Yes, there were charming things like Perdue's Sporting Goods tucked back behind buildings in its barn, but there were also places like Victor's House of Beauty which was decorated for Christmas 365 days of the year with faded and decaying plastic lawn ornaments stapled to the roof. I think you may be over idealizing Ridgewood.
Cars January 12, 2013 at 09:46 AM
Unrelated to the apartment issue, a Ridgewood only bus system that ran frequently and makes several stops both on the east and west sides would alleviate some of the parking issues and, I believe, would help local businesses. I would certainly go downtown more often to shop and dine if I didn't have to drive and park.
Glenn Rosenblum January 15, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Please contact celebrity access, inc regarding the financial matter that you are well aware of. 818-508-1300
Mark Ruckhaus January 15, 2013 at 11:42 PM
James, I'm in Glen Rock, so I have no dog in this fight. For Ridgewood's sake, I hope the town council and the zoning board don't get all starry-eyed with visions of ratables and take what the developers say as gospel. The developers are ALWAYS going to give the best case scenario and then maybe exaggerate some more. After all, they're not only developers, they're also salesmen. How can you tell when a salesman is lying? He opens his mouth. Though the Village has to do their own due diligence, I fear, like most political entities, they'll be more interested in legacies and kickbacks (hey, like no politician ever got a kickback!), and that'll either cloud their judgment or they just won't do that due diligence. So, when these projects don't come off as advertised (and we know that advertising is mostly BS), who's going to be left holding the bag for the possibility of increased infrastructure (like maybe a new school)? And, more importantly, who can be held accountable (monetarily would be wonderful) when the starry-eyed projections and promises don't come close to actuality?
Mark Ruckhaus January 15, 2013 at 11:44 PM
Come on over to Glen Rock, Megan. We could use the business. Greased palms? Whatever are you talking about? :-)

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