Prism’s Award-Winning Adaptive Re-use of Thomas Edison Factory Reinvigorates Downtown, Preserves History
WEST ORANGE, N.J., Aug. 18, 2021 — Continuing to set a path for progress in downtown West Orange, Edison Lofts has reached the 95% leased mark. The announcement by Prism Capital Partners signifies another milestone for the firm’s award-winning, industrial-to-multifamily-and-retail redevelopment of the historic Thomas Edison Invention Factory and Commerce Center on Main Street.
The luxury rental community opened in 2018, marking a complete transformation of the once crumbling, 400,000-square-foot Edison Battery Factory building and its surrounding grounds. The Residences at Edison Lofts features 300 homes in the historic structure, ranging from studio to three-bedroom residences. The Mews at Edison Lofts, constructed from the ground up, houses a boutique collection of 34 additional homes. Modern amenities – an expansive fitness center, indoor pool, rooftop deck, park-like grounds and much more – support active lifestyles and foster a vibrant sense of community. Edison Lofts also includes a 630-space parking structure, hidden so that it is almost invisible to see, and 18,400 square feet of retail space.
“Edison Lofts has drawn interest from residents of all ages and a wide geographic area; its lease-up is an exciting and meaningful milestone,” said Prism’s Edwin Cohen, principal partner. “We are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished here. Edison Lofts is a true preservation of this New Jersey landmark, one that brings a once blighted section of downtown into modern times and sets the stage for its future progress as a dynamic community.”
The Edison Lofts design takes advantage of existing architectural features and respects federal guidelines on the renovation and rehabilitation of historic buildings. The project has been recognized extensively – honored twice as an NJ Future Smart Growth finalist, and chosen as a recipient for the ULI-NNJ Excellence Award, the GlobeSt. ADAPT Award for Greatest Overall Transformation and Community Impact, and the ICRI Repair Project of the Year Award. The project has been profiled widely in regional news outlets and featured as best-in-breed by multiple, high-profile trade publications.
Overcoming Risk and Challenges
The Township of West Orange named Prism as designated redeveloper for the 21-acre Edison Village site in December 2006. “For Prism, purchasing a vacant, negative cash-flow property like this poses enormous financial risk,” Cohen noted. “In addition to monthly carry costs, there is a significant amount of capital investment necessary to turn the property into a stabilized, income-producing asset.”
Prism completed a significant amount of demolition and site work in 2008, prior to the Great Recession, and finally received site plan approval for Phase I – the Edison Lofts component – in late 2012, followed by a lengthy legal challenge from a very small group of local residents. After securing construction financing in February 2016, Prism launched construction a short time later; the first residents moved in during the summer of 2018 – with steady activity bringing it to near full occupancy today. Its final lease-up becomes even more impressive considering pandemic-fueled complexities.
“From the very start, Prism has remained committed to this special project,” Cohen said. “We have delivered on our promise to create a property that serves as a key economic driver for this vital section of West Orange’s Main Street and highlights the deep history of this iconic structure that had fallen into disrepair.”
The Edison Lofts leasing center, located at 33 Ashland Avenue, is open seven days per week. For more information, contact Leasing@EdisonLofts.com or call 973-327-9748. For property information, visit EdisonLofts.com.