Large Mixed-Use Housing Project Planned at Ken Smith Site
With the car dealership's recent closing, a developer envisions a 114-unit luxury apartment complex with 11,000 square feet dedicated to retail.
After 62 years in business, Ken Smith Motors on Franklin Avenue has closed up shop, and in its place could be a large mixed-use luxury apartment complex.
All American Ford on Route 17 in Paramus purchased Smith's inventory and took over its service station, shuttering the struggling dealership by the train station for good.
In a phone interview Tuesday, Donald Dinallo said his development company, Terminal Construction Corporation, and the now-retired owner of Ken Smith Motors, Mike Smith, have ambitious plans for the Ridgewood property nestled next to the train station.
"We're in the process of putting together the application for a 114-unit residential project with about 11,000 square feet of retail space," Dinallo told Patch.
The proposed building would be four stories in height (three stories above grade-level parking), necessitating a height variance, he said.
Terminal is planning on a mix of studio apartments (700 sq ft), one-bedroom units (850 sq ft) and two-bedroom dwellings (1100-1150 sq ft).
The 11,000 sq ft retail section – on the corner of Franklin and Chestnut Street – would be broken up into various stores, if constructed, he said.
If approved, the construction would resemble the downtown in a Mediterranean style, Dinallo said.
Asked if he was worried the numerous other housing projects proposed in the downtown could impact his own project, Dinallo was unconcerned.
"We're not worried. We think that is the best use for the site, a residential mixed-use project with the proximity to downtown and the train station," he said. "Ridgewood is a great town, it's going to appeal to the younger and the older. We think we have a good concept. Hopefully it's looked on favorably with any board we're in front of."
A 57-unit mixed-use development – The Enclave, at the old Sealfons building – is scheduled to begin hearings in front of the zoning board this fall. The planning board is also reviewing a 52-unit project proposed near the Ridgewood YMCA, as well as the 106-unit "Dayton" at the old Brogan Cadillac site.
A study is underway to analyze the impact of housing projects in the downtown.
Dinallo is well acquainted with the corner of Ridgewood he's looking to transform – his firm was the contractor for the Ridgewood Train Station renovations and he says quality is the top priority in any project Terminal takes on.
"Once we get in front of a board, it'll be a first-class project," Dinallo said. "We only build...very high end products. I think the town hopefully will also find it's first-rate. Mike's been in Ridgewood a long, long time. We really do have a good concept."
Terminal Construction and Smith are hoping to submit an application to Ridgewood by the end of October, though it's unclear which board they'll be going through.
Dinallo said he was unaware of any environmental remediation work that might have to be performed.
Despite a swirl of rumors, the decision to close Ken Smith Motors was simply a business decision on Smith's part, said Dominick Minervini, the General Manager at All American Ford in Paramus.
He called the speculation that Ford Motor Company had been killing off dealers not on the highway by refusing to restock their inventory simply "rumors."
"There are still a lot of stand-alone Lincoln dealerships," he said. "After 63 years I guess he had enough."
Smith could not be reached for comment.
Ken Smith customers will continue to get top-notch service at All-American Ford in Paramus, Minervini said. They took over the booking, service, sales and inventory of Ken Smith.
"We're treating them with priority, giving them two-for-one oil changes and offering them all of our flat bed services, all the amenities All-American customers would get," Minervini said of the "loyal" Ken Smith customers.
"We welcome all the Ken Smith customers with open arms," Minervini said.
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