Affordable Housing Could Be Coming to Yale Corner on Maplewood’s Springfield Avenue

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Maplewood Mayor Dean Dafis announced on December 20 that “Yale Corner” — or 1866 Springfield Avenue — has changed ownership and may soon be developed as 20 units of affordable housing.

“Our beloved Yale Corner — as some of you have heard through the grapevine … changed ownership recently. It was bought by someone who is a very highly regarded affordable housing developer in the state of New Jersey.”

Dafis said he was referring to John Restrepo of Restrepo & Associates: “They are looking at developing that location into 20 units of much-needed affordable housing in the township of Maplewood,” said Dafis, who added that the units would be sold to first-time homebuyers.

Dafis also said that the proposed project would revitalize that property, which has been vacant for 10 years ever since the former Bumper 2 Bumper service station closed down and was demolished.

“The project could be a win on many levels,” said Dafis.

The mayor noted that no site plan had been presented as yet. “We haven’t seen anything… obviously a project like this will go through all the approvals.”

However, the township committee did approve a resolution at its December 20 meeting allowing for the developer to apply for grants from Essex County.

Deputy Mayor Vic DeLuca added, “We did have a meeting with our affordable housing attorney as well as our affordable housing consultant.” DeLuca noted that the project would necessitate some changes to the township’s court order and settlement with Fair Share Housing Center, “but I think everyone wants to increase affordable housing in Maplewood.”

As DeLuca told Village Green in 2018, “Years ago the Bumper 2 Bumper site was approved as a mirror image of the Yale Street apartments, including 15 units.” But before shovels could hit the ground, the economic crash of 2008 stalled development on Springfield Avenue.

Maplewood Farmers Market at Yale Corner

In 2018, Bumper 2 Bumper property owner Dale Caro, who developed the 15-unit Yale Street Commons apartment building on the opposite side of Yale Street, asked the Maplewood Planning Board for an informal review of a “proposed 16-unit residential complex” at 1866 Springfield Avenue.  The project did not move forward.

In recent years, Springfield Avenue has been the site of much housing development in the township, with developments at the Jewelry Mart (33 units), Elite Properties at the former DiPietro site (30 units), Avalon Bay (235 units), 255 Tuscan (30 units), Maplewood Crossing on Burnett Avenue (151 units), the under-construction apartments and pub at the former Verjus site (12 units), plus the upcoming development of Wellesley Street (30 units).

While 1866 Springfield Avenue has remained undeveloped, Caro has allowed the township and Springfield Avenue Partnership to pave and transform the space into a temporary public square, hosting events such as the farmers market and WNTR Market, and beautifying the space this past summer with the Rivers mural.

The mural nears completion. Photo by Chad Hunt.



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