Many residents came out to South Middle School in Westfield Wednesday night to get their first look at the plans for the old J. J. Newberry site.
"This has been a vacant lot with some rundown buildings on it for 26 years," said Westfield Advancement Officer Jeffrey Daley. "And, to do this development in the center of our downtown on an entire block is second to none. It's very rare you can develop an entire block and this will be a catalyst to drive future development and future retail stores downtown."
The conceptual drawings of the Elm Street Intermodal Center were presented by city and PVTA officials during the meeting.
"It's going to be a very large commercial development, about 30,000 square feet of commercial space and possibly housing," said Daley. "It's going to up to possibly 500 parking spaces, a parking garage and about a 1,900-square-foot pavilion for the PVTA"
The Elm Street land has been vacant for decades and through the years many proposals have come and gone.
"This is what we believe to be the final journey and it begins the public phase of future planning for this site," said Mayor Daniel Knapik.
The project is expected to cost around $30 million. Westfield officials told CBS 3 that they do have millions in federal and state money that they hope to put towards the cost. And, Mayor Knapik says he believes the center could help attract a new generation of people to the city.
"I think what has been missing from Elm Street and certainly what the development community has told us is viable modern space that is handicap accessible and that can accommodate a new demographic in retailing and restauranting," Knapik said.
The next step will be to present the plans to the planning board and the city council. That is expected to happen early in the New Year. After that the plans will go to the state for approval. The hope is to have the new facility open for early 2016.
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