Last month, residents began moving into a new 30-unit building located at Boyden Avenue and Tuscan Road in Maplewood, architect and developer Mark S. Carelli told Village Green. “We opened the third floor on August 18,” he said.
255 Tuscan, the official name of the residential complex, was built across from Seth Boyden School on property that was formerly the Hilton United Methodist Church. According to Carelli and Mayor Victor DeLuca, the church deteriorated to the point that it could not be saved.
Carelli, who has been a Maplewood resident for 32 years, said he selects his projects carefully.
“I try to pick projects that I think will benefit the town,” he said.
“Leasing is going very well,” said Carelli, who explained that 255’s second floor opened on Friday, September 8. He is waiting to receive the certificate of occupancy for the first floor, which he said could open within the next week.
Both South Orange-Maplewood neighbors and newcomers make up the first wave of the building’s residents. “We’ve had a decent amount of interest from people who want to move to Maplewood,” said Carelli. “We’ve had students and faculty from Seton Hall, too.”
The new complex rests on a piece of property with rich neighborhood history. Hundreds of people gathered at the Hilton Branch of the Maplewood Library last January to witness the opening of a 118-year-old metal time capsule that was found in a cornerstone of the church. Carelli found the box during the church’s demolition.
The new complex offers both one and two-bedroom apartments in what the website refers to as a “boutique apartment complex” with “luxury amenities” which include a fitness center, cyber lounge, and an indoor parking lot. One-bedroom apartments are renting for $1,850-$1,950/month; two-bedroom apartments are listed for $2,325-$2,450/month.
Earlier this month, Carelli was selected by the Maplewood Township Committee to redevelop Maplewood Manor at 1581 Springfield Avenue, the current site of the vacant Jewelry Mart building. He said plans will include commercial space on street level with residences on the second floor. “The project will be consistent with redevelopment in the area,” he said.
Carelli considers himself first and foremost an architect. “I’m not a big redeveloper,” he said. Carelli’s other notable Maplewood redevelopment project is Pierson’s Mill, which he owns as well. “Since I live here, I have a sense of what will work and what won’t work for the community.”