March 22, 2017
The site that's known for a deadly explosion in 1995 has been approved for redevelopment. It will be home to CVS Pharmacy and LA Fitness, which are set to open in 2018.
On April 21, 1995, five employees and dozens of others were injured after the Napp Technologies factory exploded. A ShopRite store has been built adjacent to the lot, but the explosion site stayed empty.
However, developer Crown Properties LLC, based in Roseland, has been trying to develop the property since the late 1990s.
On Feb. 21, the council approved a redevelopment agreement for the construction of both the pharmacy and fitness center. The planning had approved the plan back in May 2016.
According to Mayor Emil Carafa, prior administrations determined the businesses. He said the matter to focus on is the redevelopment, as businesses will bring in tax revenue.
2016 tax records estimate the property to be worth $3.1 million with taxes running a little more than $100,000.
The CVS Pharmacy lease has been signed and will be located at 221 Main St. It will stay open 24 hours a day and have a drive-through window. LA Fitness has also signed its lease and will be located at 199 Main St.
CVS will take up a little more than 14,800 square feet (or two acres of land). LA Fitness will take up 45,000 square feet (or close to 4.4 acres of land). CVS parking will accommodate 85 while there will be 291 parking spots for LA Fitness.
The project is anticipated to be complete within a year. Should that fail to happen, the city may take on additional costs and performance guarantees, as stipulated in the developer's agreement. There is also a $1,342,210 performance guarantee bond and will need to install drainage, storm drain and sanitary facilities along with new water lines. The payments will go into the city's COAH fund.
According to Vincenet Caruso, the city manager, CVS Pharmacy is the first to be constructed. Carafa said the development delay was because of the cleanup that needed to be done at the contaminated site. Pre-construction work is supposed to start March 20.