My blog post from last week on the Hilton Section of Maplewood, NJ got such a great response I have decided to write a series of hyper local reports on Maplewood, NJ and South Orange, NJ neighborhoods. Next up…the “Seton Village” area of South Orange.
This neighborhood was pretty much overlooked as little as five years ago and its retail corridor along Irvington Avenue struggled. Yet, because the increasing desire for affordable Maplewood and South Orange housing opportunities in walking distance to town and train, coupled with a concerted effort by the Township of South Orange Village to improve the shopping area, this neighborhood is on a definite upswing. According to Google, the walk from the corner of Tichenor Avenue at Irvington Avenue to the station on Sloan Street is 9 minutes. You can’t beat that!
If you travel up Irvington Avenue from South Orange Village toward the Newark border you can explore streets on either side of the commercial district lined with one and some 2-family homes in various styles, sizes and states of repair. There is a true variety of price points and homes in this section of town and if you are looking for a home in the $350,000-500,000 range in walking distance to the South Orange train station this is a good place to find it. As you get towards Montague Street and the southern edge of the neighborhood homes jump up in price.
Some notable recent sales are:
152 Tichenor Ave.– This 4BR 1.1 BA home sold in April for $411,000. Next to a commercial property, it had a nice level yard and was totally renovated by and an investor who retained the farmhouse feel. Matt Triebwasser, the home’s new owner, moved from Manhattan with his partner and two dogs. He said the neighborhood is still “in the development stage.” “I have not seen a lot of major change as of yet but I have seen homes getting refurbished and sold quickly. Recently, one of the worst houses on our block was completely demo’ed and the lot is now empty and ready for new construction,” said Triebwasser.
271 Tichenor Ave.– This 4BR 2.1BA house sold over asking with multiple offers in May for $541,000. In my recollection, it was the fist house in this immediate area this year to break the $500,000 mark. Some of the bedrooms were on the small side and the house had no garage but buyers liked the updates and move-in ready condition.
You can even find some nice buys in the $300,000s but these are dwindling and usually on the furthest streets from the train. Some of these streets have iron gates that were installed as traffic calming measures so they are “dead ends” off of the Avenue. For example, 160 Seton Pl. was an adorable 3BR 2BA house that closed this past August for $360,000. The front porch was very charming.
Things priced under $300,000 generally need quite a bit of work.
The neighborhood has certainly benefitted from the Township’s Seton Village Committee, a group that aims “to create a thriving Irvington Avenue which attracts patrons, residents and the Seton Hall University community with diverse shops and restaurants, and a safe, attractive and vibrant neighborhood.”
A central part of the Seton Hall Village Committee’s effort is a “branding” of the area with a new name of Seton Village in honor of the area’s proximity to Seton Hall University. Special events, as well as the new banners that you see along Irvington Ave. with Seton Village logos are at the heart of the Committee’s work.
This post comes just in time for the Seton Village Committee’s second annual Seton Village Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival on Wednesday, October 7 from 5-10 p.m. The event was a big success last year not only in attracting people to the event but in putting the newly named neighborhood “on the map.” The Food Truck event is a great opportunity to scope out the area if you are thinking of buying a home in South Orange, NJ.
Jon Vogel, a real estate developer and town resident is liaison to the Seton Village Committee, said that it will be interesting to watch how the town considers some larger parcels of land along the retail corridor in in its new master plan. The town might re-zone these parcels for higher density residential development in order to create more synergy with the retail businesses along Irvington Avenue. Vogel noted that this year a local developer with plans to build a high-density residential development on Irvington Avenue near Tichenor Avenue decided to cancel the project when neighbors objected to its scale.
Doug Zacker is Chair of the Seton Village Committee. He’s a photographer and father of three and he has lived on West Fairview Ave. since 2006 after moving from Atlanta. Zacker believed that the neighborhood’s proximity to the train and village would add to his eventual re-sale value and so he bought in the area rather then spending more on a larger home in a less walkable location. Yet, it was the first impression left by lots of kids playing in the street that clinched it for the Zackers. He and his wife agreed that living in a location where their kids could eventually walk independently rather than depending on their parents for rides gave them a freedom that was valuable. Zacker still has hopes for a better mix of retail businesses in the neighborhood but has seen some nice recent additions such as better restaurants and Morgan’s, a new wine and liquor store with an upgraded storefront. Zacker appreciates the smaller lot sizes in the neighborhood because for him this means lower taxes, less maintenance and a real feeling of neighborliness. Zacker said, “I would urge everyone to keep an eye on Seton Village because the things we are dong are making a difference for everyone in the community.”
Allison Ziefert is Maplewood, NJ based realtor and the #1 individual real estate agent at Keller Williams Mid-Town Direct in Maplewood, NJ. A local market expert, Allison specializes Maplewood, NJ real estate and homes and South Orange, NJ real estate and homes as well as Millburn/Short Hills, NJ, West Orange, NJ and surrounding towns. Allison’s success as a Maplewood/S. Orange realtor is driven by earning great testimonials from sellers and buyers of homes her marketplace. You can read her testimonials at www.azhomesnj.com/testimonials