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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, route: {:controller=>"articles", :action=>"show", :id=>"another-downtown-rw-housing-development-proposed"} -->, 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 , as well as the

Marcia Ringel September 19, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Pete McKenna September 19, 2012 at 02:29 AM
I think this property would be a better location for a mixed use building than any of the other three massive projects proposed for CBD. I think this is about something else though. I think that this is likely an attempt to get the Village to overpay for the site as it is the ideal location for a parking facility. Having seen this movie before, and still paying the taxes to pay for the last time we bonded money for a sure-fire location for a parking garage, call me skeptical. The Village needs a comprehensive plan for the CBD that considers parking, retail, housing and the open-ended current and future liability that is affordable housing. I like the idea of adding ratables, but nothing I've heard so far is anything but an urbanization of Ridgewood with the taxpayers bearing the risks.
In The Wood September 19, 2012 at 02:41 AM
I'm not sure what would be a good to go into the Ken Smith property. I just don't think a shopper parking lot will do all that much. It could help with commuter parking, but I don't have much information on that situation. I think there are plenty of spaces to park in town it's just a matter of exercising and walking to your destination. If people complain now about walking, do you really think they'll park at the train station and walk the mile (there and back) to the Gap, Bookends, the Ridgewood Running Company, Arthur Groom?
Scott Selders September 19, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Lets get Ole Mikey Smith, the developers/The Planning Board and The Kleinman to camp out overnight in the Parking Lot. Your Life is now Hell. Do they really want to invest the time and money into a Lose/Lose Mixed Use Building? What do Tenants complain about the most?-Noisy Neighbors. Now your Neighbor is the Train Station-those trains are Unbearably loud. How can a person justify doing this project? It is crazy having people live + shop so close to the train station. Goodbye Ears-Hello Ear Damage.
James Kleimann September 19, 2012 at 04:30 AM
Whoa, slow down – only my mother is allowed to call me "The Kleinman" (and I respectfully ask her to spell it correctly).
jp1 September 19, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Parking is a great idea retail i do not believe will work there.
Graydon4ever September 19, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Completely agree that a compprehensive plan for the CBD is required, that includes a residential housing, commuter and shopper parking and retail use plan. The past parking schemes failed in large part to a lack of will, which in no small part was influenced by a lack of a comprehensive plan. Frankly I'm surprised that the CRR is not making more of an issue over the multiple mixed use developments on the boards that cannot be suitably supported by our current infrastructure. There will be an impact on schools / school budget; not all the new residents will be "empty nesters" or "young professionals" - try small families who want to access our school system without paying ridiculous taxes or home prices.
Ridgewood Mom 26 September 19, 2012 at 12:49 PM
This is the worst idea I've heard in a while! I agree completely with Graydon4ever. How would this make money for the village or solve any of our current problems? The people living in these apartments would be living right next to the way OUT of town, where they could spend their money elsewhere while sending their kids to our school that the rest of of us pay for with our taxes. In addition, there goes prime space for parking that everyone has been crying out for, and sure, let's put a whole bunch of residents in an area that is known for pedestrian accidents. What are you people thinking???
Scott Selders September 19, 2012 at 01:21 PM
No Offense intended James-I don't think you need to camp out to know that it would be hell to live there. A park is the worst idea I have heard yet. This project has Greedy written all over it.
JAFO September 19, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I'm telling you -- indoor turf facility.
jp1 September 19, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Tell E Severs.
Chris Cortazzo September 19, 2012 at 03:04 PM
This is the perfect spot for a commuter oriented mixed use facility. The Franklin side of the CBD is chronically under-developed, and having a nice luxury building will not only bring more business to the Franklin stores, it'll be a major upgrade aesthetically speaking. To address the concerns over building luxury units in the CBD 1) Most of the units are 1 bds and they will be expensive, not likely to attract families with children. 2) Ridgewood taxes are very high, I'm amazed at the people complaining about massive rateables that won't demand a lot of services (schooling), this will bring everyon'es taxes down. 3) Having a balanced housing stock will allow more people to stay in Ridgewood during the course of their life, instead of moving away when the kids are out of school due to the tax burden of the single family housing.
JAFO September 19, 2012 at 03:04 PM
He would love it. It would make his life a whole lot easier not having to reschedule everything all the time because of weather and/or concerns with lights.
pm September 19, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Residential - next to the train station. In 2 years after the tenants have moved in, this blog will be discussing the "NO BLOW" class action lawsuit the tenants filed against NJT and the Village to stop the train whistles!
Kevin Davitt September 19, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Kevin Davitt September 19, 2012 at 05:19 PM
pm - we concur. please go back to the 2nd "reply" to this string.
Bill Connor September 19, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Agree or get marriot or other master planners to built a mixed use first class Hotel retail operation with some Buy in Retirement or limited use apartments one Bedroom senior or commuter Focussed...rateables .know the fear factor on school kids and costs.How does the Town transform more to an urban Hub and come to place for Dinners conferences and commuting center .Realize this is not a popular view..We need more Businesses too who pay taxes and create Jobs
Ridgewooder September 20, 2012 at 12:20 AM
It should be made entirely into a multistory parking structure. Perfect for commuters. Housing right next to the tracks? WTF
John Hahn September 21, 2012 at 02:34 PM
They build hotels at airports that are sound proof. There is no crossing anywhere in Ridgewood. So the train whistle should not be blown ANYWHERE in Ridgewood. Yes trains make noise. But my sister lived next to a fright line (like Mr. Davitt). She said after a while she did not hear the train. Commuter/shopper parking with a transit village could be the ticket. with ZIP Cars available to the residents who want a use a car occasionally. Win for RWD commuters, Win for RWD Shoppers & Diners, Win for people who want to live in RWD, who commute, who want give up their car. Win for RWD taxpayers - more Ratables.
Gary Rabinowitz September 21, 2012 at 03:40 PM
@ James Kleimann: "I'm guessing the "Gary Rabinowitz Plaza" is probably off the list, too?" If you were sensible, that'd be the first name stricken of the list! Cheers GXR
jp1 September 21, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Buddy the Bear should stay.
Boyd A. Loving September 21, 2012 at 05:43 PM
I believe federal law requires train operators to blow their horns when entering a station. So, despite not having any grade level crossings in Ridgewood, horns will still blow.
AMAMOM September 21, 2012 at 11:13 PM
No one is going to give up their car just because they are living in an apartment unless they have to for some other reason like a DWI or medical impairment. These new residents WILL have kids, they WILL have 2 cars per family, they most likely WILL commute by car and they WILL shop elsewhere except for a few dinners and maybe groceries. The new residents will be new, they won't be aliens, they will be just like the rest of us who already live here. Why are we expecting that suddenly the Ridgewood culture will change because a bunch of marketing/sales people say it is so?
maureen September 23, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Greed , ignorance and arrogance .. a trifecta of disaster
David Tait September 24, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Love the chainsaw bear!
barbara September 25, 2012 at 03:27 AM
How about a luxury senior citizens home similar to the one in Saddle River on Boroline Road (I believe it's called Brighton Gardens) where the residents do not drive any longer and a parking facility for the town. Just a thought....
Andrew Cutler March 14, 2013 at 12:42 AM
Absolutely! The site would be perfect for a parking garage! 1. it is close proximity to the train stations and the center of town for the convenience of commuters and visitors alike - bringinf more people and revenue into town 2. there is already a traffic control at the entrance to help manage traffic flow. a second easement can be allowed through to Oak St. 3. a partnership deal could be brokered between the owners, NJ Transit and the town Opportunities for thoughtful sustainable planning are difficult until land opportunities open up - this is one that appears to be very logical. For decades the parking problem in Ridgewood has always been debated - leaders come and leaders go and zip has been done about it - except lip service... In the meantime the town has lost opportunity for revenue and business growth in the CBD... Many out-of-town friends tell me they pass on coming to Ridgewood because of the parking... Now we have another high density housing project planned... A friend rented in a similar complex along the tracks in Park Ridge... the place stood 3/4 vacant... no one wanted to pay good money to buy with the RR running though their bedroom - and the few that were occupied were rentals with transient types who had no interest in making a contribution or connection to the town... a total bust...
Andrew Cutler March 14, 2013 at 12:51 AM
And leverage a potential partnership with NJ Transit to aid in supporting a parking plan as they'd benefit from the additional commuter revenue...
Andrew Cutler March 14, 2013 at 01:00 AM
The units won't be occupied long enough for that to happen... the place will be sublets to transient corp. types who will flee after their assignment's over or they get sick of the trains knocking them out of bed...
Andrew Cutler March 14, 2013 at 01:06 AM
Spot-on all front and you can have the bear...


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