Developers break ground on two-phase, 410-unit apartment project in Orange

A joint venture has broken ground on the first piece of what will ultimately be more than 400 luxury apartments and new public space alongside an NJ Transit train station in Orange.

The two firms, Russo Development and Dinallo Construction Corp., say the initial phase of their Essex & Crane project will bring 209 units to 377 Crane St. Plans call for a range of studio to two-bedroom floorplans and a series of amenities, as the developers look to capitalize on not only the adjacent rail service but a location just north of Interstate 280 and minutes from other highways.

City officials hope it’s a catalyst for their Main Street Redevelopment Area.

“Essex & Crane epitomizes the city’s vision for redevelopment within its downtown,” Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren said. “We welcome Russo Development and Dinallo Construction to our city and the future residents that will call Orange home.”

The two-phase development, designed by Marchetto Higgins Stieve Architects, will ultimately include 410 homes, public green spaces, pedestrian walkways and 750 parking spaces. It also marks the latest addition to Russo’s multifamily construction pipeline, which has surged over the past decade.

“We are excited for the opportunity to build in the city of Orange, and we are confident that Essex & Crane will complement the surrounding community and provide an impetus for further redevelopment,” said Ed Russo, CEO of Russo Development. “The city has been an excellent partner towards achieving their vision and also very receptive to our team’s ideas for this project.”

The project is also the third joint venture in the residential arena between Russo and Dinallo, following developments in Verona and Waldwick. In Orange, the partners expect to deliver upscale apartments with 23,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenity space, including a pool, a club room, a bicycle storage room and elevated terraces.

As with other projects, Russo is seeking to lure renters with a location that is served by mass transit. That dovetails with a growing initiative by state officials.

“NJ Transit is proud to be part of this fantastic example of both private-public partnership and transit-oriented development next to our station in Orange,” said Bill Viqueira, the agency’s senior vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer. “This project will facilitate a healthier, more environmentally friendly community, improve safety and foster better access to employment centers and transportation, with fewer greenhouse gas emissions.”

-Joshua Burd, Real Estate NJ Magazine

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