SYA was engaged to create the master plan for the revitalization of a blighted 12-block industrial and residential neighborhood that was once the hat manufacturing capital of the world. The developer team sought to capitalize on the growing desire for vibrant walking communities that are multi-use, combining live, work, commercial and cultural spaces along with open pedestrian and green space, as well as direct access to mass transit. Located in Orange, New Jersey along the NJ Transit train line to Newark and New York City, the goal was the creation of an arts-themed transit village that would attract artists from gentrifying neighborhoods in New York and Jersey City as well as local residents seeking affordable market rate housing.
The central idea was an exciting “Art Walk” street, including new low rise buildings comprised of street level artist live-work units and commercial space with market rate apartments above and select factory buildings modified for artist lofts or parking. An adjacent nearby covered stream is daylighted to create a linear green wetland that offers a variety of recreational amenities while also managing flood plain conditions. The project involved remediation of brownfield conditions created by the old factories throughout the site. This scheme resulted in the client being selected as the designated developer for the site by the City of Orange.