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April  25

Watchung Plaza: Don't Bank On It

Valero_4 Just what will become of the prime location at Watchung Plaza  -- now home to a Valero gas station  -- is anyone's guess, after the Board of Adjustment unanimously voted down plans for a drive-thru bank.

Jonathan Mellon, the township's Assistant Planner, told us that an April 19 BOA vote rejected American Bank of New Jersey's application to put a bank at the traffic crazy corner of Park and Watchung.   Mellon couldn't give us more details, yet -- a report will be ready for the next BOA meeting, May 17.  So far, there are no other applications for this site, Mellon said. With word on the street claiming that teller windows might replace DVD shelves at the West Coast Video, there’s been a lot of chatter about a bank invasion at car congested Watchung Plaza. We noticed people on the Montclair Watercooler seem to want another eatery. As far as the video store morphing into a bank – Mellon told us he’s heard the rumor too – but hasn't seen any paperwork come across his desk.

April 25, 2006 in Buzz | Permalink


The Valero site could easily be remade into four upscale dwellings featuring the finest of amenities!

Posted by: appletony | Apr 25, 2006 11:09:47 AM

I always expect a grease pit and an air compressor when I think of amenities.

Posted by: cathar | Apr 25, 2006 11:18:14 AM

put on your marketing hat, cathar:

"some of the units feature unique features that recall the rich automotive history of the site"

The Residences at Valero Watchung Plaza -- units starting at $1.1 million.

Posted by: appletony | Apr 25, 2006 11:35:41 AM

feature unique features? ugh.

"several units retain unique features that recall the rich automotive history of the site."

The Valero at Watchung Plaza
Now starting at $1.2 million due to better copy.

Posted by: appletony | Apr 25, 2006 11:37:56 AM

The Valero, an 18 story luxury tower, features studio, 1,2,3 bedroom residences and a penthouse, all with sweeping views of Manhattan and the Watchung mountains. Prices start at 450K for studios, 650K for 1 bedrooms, 850K for 2 bedrooms, 1.2MM for 3 bedrooms and 5 MM for the penthouse.

Posted by: RadonMan | Apr 25, 2006 11:58:56 AM

Here's a rendering of The Valero at Watchung Plaza, with an artist's conception of the surrounding area in ten years.

Posted by: appletony | Apr 25, 2006 12:09:31 PM

I say keep Valero and sell gas for $1/gal...

Posted by: Jim | Apr 25, 2006 1:53:43 PM

Although the artist's concept of The Valero at Watchung Plaza is quite impressive, it seems a little too urban for that intersection. I suggest something like this, to reflect the bold new architectural direction the town is heading in, as well as to promote a vicious bidding war for the hot property that will result in people beating each other senseless in the intersection.

Posted by: bb | Apr 25, 2006 2:20:41 PM

Well, some posts above certainly made me laugh. The only thing I might suggest adding is tax incentives for anyone who owns a pre-67 Chevy or Merc, and a rebate of the closing costs if you've got a 66 GTO. This is all, simply, by way of attracting a better class of tenant. And perhaps an upgrade from Corian to Carrara marble on the countertops if you have spinners on your hubcaps.

Posted by: cathar | Apr 25, 2006 2:28:08 PM

My late grandmother used to drive a '64 Ford Falcon and I thought it was a cool car.

Posted by: Iceman | Apr 25, 2006 2:41:54 PM

Yesterday, I saw a woman photographing the Valero signs.

I thought it had to do with the price of gasoline (still believe it did due to what I overheard). The woman with the camera was approached by an older man who appeared to be the operator of the station. There wasn't a nice verbal exchange-I sat rubbernecking just incase the situation got out of hand-it did not--although the two didn't look pleased with the brief encounter.

Posted by: cstarling | Apr 25, 2006 2:56:05 PM

Ice, as kindly as possible, a 64 Falcon was indeed a sort of "grannymobile." Not, however, for racing for "slips" and peeling out.

But then, for some time back in the early 60's my own sainted mother drove a Plymouth (which did, at the very least, have the in-dash push-button trans).

Posted by: cathar | Apr 25, 2006 3:13:47 PM

Mom drove a 1966 Plymouth Valiant(slant 6). When she gave it to my brother and I we topped it out on Route 3 at about 115 MPH. My brother was driving and made it from the Lincoln Tunnel exit to Brookdale park in 17 minutes.

Posted by: RadonMan | Apr 25, 2006 3:20:05 PM

I had a '60 Valiant that couldn't hit 115 if it was dropped off a 20 story roof.

Posted by: BeanCounter | Apr 25, 2006 3:34:34 PM

We had a '63 T-bird, light blue, with portholes...loved that car!

Posted by: Miss Martta | Apr 25, 2006 3:38:24 PM

I understand the bank, Boiling Srings is moving into the space that was the video store - nice bank from Rutherford.
The gas station can remain there I believe, as a non conforming use, I think it is grandfathered to the usage.

Posted by: adriana otoole | Apr 25, 2006 5:14:44 PM

I love bb's post! Dripping with elitist derision, love it. It must be so hard to be besieged by Philistines!

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Apr 25, 2006 5:19:25 PM

Why can't we pass an ordinance that limits the number of banks in any one Business District? Although banks are, of course, a necessity in a community, past a certain point they really kill pedestrian traffic and turn any downtown into a dead zone. I believe Princeton passed such an ordinance several years ago.

Posted by: Martin Gill | Apr 25, 2006 5:37:14 PM

Martin, there must be a way. I can scarcely imagine the negative effect the removal of the gas station will have on pedestrian traffic.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Apr 25, 2006 6:01:15 PM


Posted by: bb | Apr 25, 2006 8:53:26 PM

Dear Martin,

You are a good friend of the community and all your efforts for tree preservation shall not be forgotten. Remember the Elms on Broad Street!

Posted by: JTF | Apr 25, 2006 9:07:39 PM

broad street in which town?

Posted by: pissant | Apr 26, 2006 12:07:09 AM

enough with the banks already!!!!!!

Posted by: Jen | Apr 26, 2006 11:29:57 PM

what do you call a group of banks?

A covey of partridges
A murder of crows
A rafter of turkeys
A brood of hens
A fall of woodcocks
A dule of doves
A wedge of swans
A party of jays
A company of parrots
A colony of penguins
A cover of coots
A sord of mallards
A dissimulation of birds
A peep of chickens
A pitying of turtledoves
A paddling of ducks [on the water]
A siege of herons
A charm of finches
A skein of geese [in flight]
a tidings of magpies
A cast of hawks
A deceit of lapwings
An ostentation of peacocks
A bouquet of pheasants
A congregation of plovers
An unkindness of ravens
A building of rooks
A host of sparrows
A descent of woodpeckers
A mustering of storks
A flight of swallows
A watch of nightingales
A murmuration of starlings
A spring of teal
A parliament of owls
An exaltation of larks
A herd of kangaroos
A mob of kangaroos
A troop of kangaroos
A deceit of lapwings
A ascension of larks
A leap of leopards
A colony of rats
A horde of rats
A mischief of rats
A pack of rats
A plague of rats
A swarm of rats
A rhumba of rattlesnakes
An array of hedgehogs
A prickle of hedgehogs

Posted by: pissant | Apr 27, 2006 12:10:59 AM

Good old Watchung Plaza. Have you noticed all the changes? Suzanne's is now Threads and with Flannery gone we are getting HOME. Don't exactly know what that means. Have you peaked in??? Looks like big bucks!!!

Posted by: Pat | Apr 27, 2006 7:23:09 AM

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