Industrial-to-Residential Adaptive Reuse Anchors West Orange, N.J., Downtown Redevelopment

WEST ORANGE, N.J., – Exterior building restoration is nearing completion at Edison Village, Prism Capital Partners’industrial-to-residential redevelopment of the historic Thomas Edison Invention Factory and Commerce Center in West Orange. According to Eugene Diaz, principal partner, the project has progressed at a rapid pace.

Edison Village, representing the largest non-waterfront adaptive-reuse project in New Jersey, encompasses 21 acres on Main Street, in the heart of West Orange Township’s Downtown Redevelopment Area. Phase I involves the total renovation and reconstruction of the 100-year-old factory complex, introducing 334 rental units, 18,400 square feet of retail with a supporting 630-space parking structure. “This project has been discussed in West Orange for many years,” said West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi. “We are thrilled by the speed that things are happening. From the beginning it was the Township’s hope that this project would provide a much-needed facelift – aesthetically and economically – to that neighborhood and become an important economic driver to the entire downtown. As the real estate market continues to improve regionally, we believe this project is poised to meet and exceed our expectations and have a significant impact on the Township for years to come.”

Prism Capital Partners was appointed designated redeveloper for the property 10 years ago. “Following extended delays, driven by litigation and the Great Recession, we are pleased to be moving forward so quickly in completing what we first set out to do,” Diaz noted. “This project is a poster child for the benefits of persistence and a disciplined approach.”

The studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom, market-rate residences at Edison Village range from 590 to 1,500 square feet, with 20 penthouse duplex residences. The design, by Minno & Wasko Architects and Planners, takes advantage of existing architectural features to incorporate ceiling heights ranging from 14 to 16 feet and 10-foot replica replacement windows that will let in abundant natural light. Residents will have access to a private fitness center, indoor swimming pool, rooftop deck, personal and bike storage, meeting rooms, private dining room and doorman service, among other amenities. A mid-2018 opening is anticipated, with leasing commencing in January.

Edison Village’s retail component – expected to be completed by year-end 2017 – is being constructed on the corner of Charles Street and along Main Street, providing current and future residents with a new in-town shopping experience featuring restaurants and café-style concepts at The Shoppes at Edison Village. An interior plaza with a fountain will be open to the public during the day.

“We have worked hard to design a project of incredible quality – one that celebrates the past while serving to anchor the future of this community,” noted Prism’s Edwin Cohen, principal partner. “It is gratifying to see it coming to life.”

Prism secured full approvals this fall for the project’s Phase II, which will incorporate 230 for-sale townhouses. During Phase II construction, poised to begin during Phase I leasing, the Township’s DPW building will be relocated, and Prism will extend Standish Avenue through the townhome site in order to improve traffic flow for the surrounding community. Infrastructure improvements will include new roads, sidewalks, street lighting and landscaping.

Built in 1913 by Thomas Edison, the factory complex on the site of Edison Village for decades served as a manufacturing operation where Edison employees produced storage batteries used in light delivery vehicles, automobiles, railroad signals, industrial applications and mining equipment. Those operations ceased in 1965. The site is bounded to the west by the historic Llewellyn Park, one of New Jersey’s premier gated communities. The newly refurbished Edison National Historic Site and museum also is located adjacent to the property.

Prism Capital Partners is an experienced real estate owner/operator with a proven track record of creating value through select real estate investments and developments. This includes in-depth involvement in the adaptive reuse sector. In Bloomfield, the firm transformed an obsolete, c. 1915, former General Electric Company industrial property into a distinctive, high-density residential village. Phase I of Parkway Lofts included the creation of 365 loft-style apartments; the highly successful project opened in fall 2013. Now, Prism is gearing up to launch Phase II, featuring approximately 160 for-sale townhomes, a clubhouse and other lifestyle amenities.