CLIFTON, N.J., September 8, 2020 – Blue Onyx Companies, a fully-integrated real estate development, construction and management firm, has announced it has begun site work for “24+Half,” an adaptive reuse project located at 24-1/2 Van Houten Street in Paterson, N.J. The 2+ acre site is listed on the National Historic Register and is located within the Old Great Falls Historic District along the Passaic River. The five-year master plan calls for transforming the property’s seven former mills and warehouses into a work/live/play environment and community hub, designed for the 21st century.

“Blue Onyx is committed to bringing strong, positive impact to today’s urban landscape by investing in and developing transformative real estate projects. As soon as we saw this property, we saw its potential as a vibrant mixed-use community,” said Levi Kelman, CEO. “We’re excited about creating a catalyst for renewal within this historic neighborhood in a way that celebrates Paterson’s entrepreneurial past while looking forward to a sustainable future.”

Offering proximity to Routes 1-80, 95 and 19 and access to NJ Transit bus and train service, 24+Half is located two blocks away from Paterson’s downtown district and is minutes from nearby Passaic County Community College, Berkeley College and William Paterson University. The redevelopment will feature approximately 19,000 square feet of residential, commercial, dining, and other space. Among the project’s proposed details are:

  • Rehabilitated commercial spaces designed to support entrepreneurs, creative “makers,” and startups that will include co-working spaces and shared infrastructure for small businesses.
  • New construction will offer a mix of residential spaces, including co-living units in a range of configurations.
  • On-site amenities will include a fitness center, food hall, community theater/event space, and public gathering spaces, as well as spaces for private and corporate events.
  • Current plans call for a distillery/beer garden to occupy one building.
  • A riverwalk linking the Great Falls to the bridge crossing at Memorial Drive, and passing through the property, is being planned by the city.
  • As part of Phase One, Blue Onyx has created “Paterson Beach” a 12,230-square-foot beach environment complete with sand, furniture, food trucks, and activities that will launch on September 10, 2020. The company plans to create a series of activations for prospective tenants and the public, as renovations and new construction take place.

Blue Onyx acquired the site in December 2019. Plans are now going through the necessary approval channels, from city planners to preservation committees to the National Park Service. The firm has partnered with global architecture firm HWKN to design the commercial, residential and public spaces that will make 24+Half a hub for urban living and community events and experiences.

Putting Paterson’s economic development on the drawing board

Kelman said his goal is to provide an engine for economic opportunity and area improvement by bringing an eclectic mix of residential and commercial tenants to the neighborhood. ”I believe that 24+Half will spur much interest from businesses, investors and developers alike about what’s possible in Paterson, with many incentives available to businesses to locate there through the Urban Enterprise Zone, Opportunity Zone and Smart Growth Coalition programs.”

“I believe 24 ½ Van Houten is a strategic site for unbridled potential,” said Mayor Andre Sayegh. “The 24+Half project will help us to move forward with the progression of Paterson, improving quality of life for residents, as we continue to develop and revitalize the area around the Great Falls National Park.”

“Paterson’s legacy as a city that manufactures will be renewed in our 24+Half community that will support today’s entrepreneurs and creators, as we bring together art, commerce, culture and technology, and provide a civic space for the wider community to explore and enjoy,” added Kelman. “By partnering with civic organizations to engage local residents, understand organizations’ needs for activity space, and integrate community-centered events in future programming, together we will build an equitable, sustainable future and economic value for Paterson.”

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