William E. Cleary Sr.
GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (October 27, 2022)(CNBNewsnet)--The Gloucester City Planning/Zoning Board, at its September 21 meeting, approved a resolution authorizing the owner of the former Gloucester Catholic High School Boys Building, Monmouth and Burlington Street, to be converted into apartments. The proposed apartment building is located on the west side of Broadway in a heavily residential area with very little parking. Presently there are approximately 4,300 properties in the City; of that number, 3,000 are apartments, and 1400 are homes.
The applicant is operating under the name of One South Burlington Street LLC. The Registered Agent on file for this company is Joseph Romano of Warren, NJ.
St. Mary's Parish of Gloucester City owned the high school building. It was sold in 2017 to WEBO, LLC, for $450,000. The principals of that business are Rich Lauletta and Paul Margaritis. "WEBO is our best acronym for West of Broadway, which is our area of focus in Gloucester City," said Lauletta in 2017. Presently WEBO owns about 42 properties in the City. Their office is located in Philadelphia.
Carlo Romano, Samuel Renauro, Jack Raker, and Richard Lauletta appeared on behalf of One South Burlington Street LLC.
Lauletta testified that to proceed with the sale of the building to One South Burlington Street, LLC, and the rehabilitation of the property, the Board's approval was needed.
The Board's resolution stated that Lauletta described the focus on historic preservation and restoration of the existing building. Lauletta said the project would consist of eight studios and seven one-bedroom apartments for 15 units. He testified, too, that except for concrete retaining/escape walls to be located at the basement windows, there would be no structural changes to the exterior of the building, meaning no expansion of the existing footprint.
The applicant would offer one-year lease terms and target millennials and professionals looking to move from Philadelphia to a smaller city or neighboring suburb. Romano said the rents would be at market rate. He further said the renovations would occur within the interior of the building, leaving the exterior footprint and structure as-is, except for the window well-retaining walls at the basement windows.
The plan calls for 26 parking spaces and one electric vehicle charging station.
Five individuals spoke about the application. These individuals commented on the size of the units, the need to address parking, and other site conditions.
Ms. Mayo, a nearby resident on Monmouth Street, objected to the application, stating that she did not think these units were attractive to young professionals. She was concerned about the residents who would reside at the property. Mr. Long of nearby Somerset Street asked about parking for Gloucester Catholic, high school students. The school is located a block from the proposed apartment building. He requested that the applicants conduct appropriate background checks on tenants and keep the property in good condition.
Three other residents spoke in favor of the apartment building; two of those individuals live about two miles from the proposed apartment complex on the east side of Broadway.
The Board-members, Thomas O'Donnell, Ted Howarth, Ken Baus, Joe Stecklair, Shawn Spotts, Bruce Parry, and John Thompson, voted unanimously in favor of the proposal.