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South Orange Celebrates Ground Breaking for 'The Gateway' on Ex-Beifus Lot

David Lackey

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 • 10:38pm

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Local officials joined with the developer and builders to commemorate the ground breaking for the new construction project, dubbed The Gateway, a mixed-use development to be built at 9 W. South Orange Ave., the long-vacant site of the former Beifus Mercedes-Benz dealership.

Residents, merchants, realtors and Village Trustees all came together to celebrate this major step in the continued revitalization of South Orange’s downtown core.

“This is something that has taken a very long time,” said Matt Glass, Chair of the South Orange Village Center Alliance.  “The Gateway is a huge moment for the Village of South Orange.”

Joseph Langan, the President of River Drive Construction, the firm which will construct the building, lauded the location of the project, saying, “It doesn’t really get better than this site. You have everything here." 

Village Administrator, Barry Lewis said The Gateway project is “the first important step in what I refer to as the South Orange renaissance.” He added, “South Orange is on the rise again,” and said this is the first of many more improvements to come.

The site was purchased two years ago by EEA Industries, LLC, of South Orange, and is being developed in conjunction with SWH Residential Partners, LLC.

EEA principal Edward Ayuso noted that he has been developing projects in town for more than a decade, but sees The Gateway as “a building that would serve as one of the final pieces of the village’s downtown Vision Plan, helping make South Orange one of the most sought-after places to live, work and play in New Jersey.”  He promised a grand opening targeted for 2014 for the building, which will consist of 57 luxury residential units and 9,100 square feet of high-end retail space.

Village President Alex Torpey called The Gateway “a pivotal project” in making South Orange “the premier walkable downtown in New Jersey.” 

There was a palpable sense of relief among the locals on hand to see the kick-off of the project. The site has been a source of dismay and controversy for more than a decade, as residents puzzled over why nothing was happening on such a prime piece of downtown real estate. The wait now appears to be over. 

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