PHILLIPSBURG, NJ — A developer plans to turn three dilapidated old buildings in Phillipsburg into seniors’ apartments and a grocery store, and the mayor said he supports the idea.
For more than a decade, the three buildings have been deteriorating on the Marshall St. side in Phillipsburg. Mayor Todd Tersigni said they were once part of the Norton Oil Company.
“There were a lot of issues of being in receivership. The Norton family owned it at one point, it was seized,” Tersigni said.
The buildings sat unused for more than 11 years, but developer Richard Colasuonno said after buying the property for $1.8 million he hoped to make it productive again. He had digital designs created for his vision: senior apartments upstairs and a grocery store downstairs.
“This area here is in the center of what they call a food desert,” Colasuonno said. “About 15-20% of households don’t have the facilities, automobiles, or other means of transportation to get to a grocery store, supermarket, within a mile of here.”
“Here people just have to cross the street to get something. To buy fresh groceries and fruits and vegetables and milk, butter, eggs, whatever,” Tersigni said. .
And Colasuonno said he already has a business interested in space.
“He says, ‘no, I’m going to have a meat counter, a fish counter, deli meats. I’m going to have bins with fruits, vegetables,'” Colasuonno said.
In addition to the grocery store, there would be 45 apartments for seniors. Colasuonno said once he gets full city approval, he can do it in a year or less. Mayor Tersigni said he was confident the approval process would not take long.
“The board is excited, the people are excited, and let’s go,” Tersigni said.