Apartments to replace Main Street boutique
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 01:09
The strip of stores on Main Street where Gecko Fashions Boutique and Cat Eye Hair and Tanning Salon used to be is vacant due to plans to remodel the building, according to Newark’s Planning and Development Director Maureen Roser.
Roser said city officials plan to begin the project in November and the block where Cat Eye Hair and Tanning Salon, Flip Flop Shop and Gecko used to be will be replaced with new retail stores and student apartments above.
She said she expects the new apartments will attract tenants because Main Street is the heart of the community where students and residents want to be.
“Our council is looking for a different product in these apartments,” Roser said. “We are looking at smaller two-bedroom apartments. We are looking to attract graduate students and other people rather than just undergraduates. Our council is thinking ahead.”
According to Roser, the project has already been approved by the City Council, but cannot begin until after the Marine Recruiting Station’s lease ends in November.
Sophomore Ania Sypek, who currently lives in the Christiana East Tower, said her ideal apartment would be on Main Street, close to classes and in the midst of shopping and restaurants.
“It’s really centralized,” Sypek said. “[Main Street] is pretty close to classes and there’s a lot going on.”
She said she thinks Main Street will be a great place for more student apartments because the location offers something for students to do in between or after classes and the only downside to living there is the noise from traffic, store patrons and individuals leaving bars on the weekends.
“It might get too rowdy sometimes,” Sypek said.
Junior Madeline Tusa lives in Sharp Hall but plans to live in an apartment or townhouse next year. She said housing that offers multiple bathrooms, a modern appeal and a comparable cost to what she already pays for on-campus housing would be an ideal situation.
Although Tusa said she would not want to live on Main Street due to the noise and congested sidewalks, she thinks off-campus housing close to classes is an important factor when looking for a place to live.
“I think some students will like it because they will be really close to everything,” Tusa said. “[Students] will have everything accessible to them.”
Key Snelling, the owner of Gecko, said after seven years at the same location on Main Street, she had to relocate in July because of the remodeling plans. The store opened at its new location on July 15 down the street on 282 East Main St. in the Market East Plaza.
Although the new location lacks the drop-in traffic retailers closer to campus enjoy, she said the free parking at the plaza will attract shoppers.
Snelling said the boutique’s new space is not permanent, but she is going to see if it turns out to be a good fit.
“There’s no timeline for the demolition, the construction or when we can go back,” she said. “If I like this new location, I’ll stay here.”