It took almost two years, but today, De Mattheis Investments finally got to crack through the heavy asphalt on two lots near Verona Park to kick off the construction of a 20-unit apartment complex.
“Verona is a special place for me,” said Mark De Mattheis, principal of De Mattheis Investments. “I grew up here and lived here for 30 years. It’s because of the teachers I had in Verona schools that I was able to be successful in business.” De Mattheis graduated from Verona High School with the class of 1983. Nodding over his shoulder, he added, “I played in Verona Park every day.”
The Verona Place Apartments will be two small buildings on either side of the end of Verona Place, opposite the Richfield Regency. The lots were occupied for many decades by the Brunner auto dealership. De Mattheis had won approval for the project from the Verona Board of Adjustment in January 2014, but it had stalled over financial issues. This January, the Town Council designated the lots as an area in need of redevelopment, which opened the way for a tax treatment more palatable to the project’s lender.
“The Township of Verona has been fantastic in this situation,” De Mattheis said. “It helped all along the way.”
Mayor Kevin Ryan attended the groundbreaking, along with Planning Board attorney Greg Mascara and Tom Jacobsen, who heads Verona’s construction code office. Ryan praised De Mattheis’ work with the town and the project’s neighbors. “You folks did it the right way,” he said. “I was very impressed that you got the community involved from the get-go. We welcome you back to Verona.”
The Verona Place apartments, which were designed by Jarmel Kizel Architects of Livingston, will have a mix of one- and two-bedroom units. The construction will be by Sharp Management of Hackensack and all units and common areas will be professionally designed and decorated by Impeccable Impressions.
Pine Brook-based De Mattheis Investments is a full service real estate investment company involved in apartment buildings and shopping complexes. The company owns and manages hundreds of multifamily units in both Morris and Middlesex County, along with commercial space in Hunterdon and Ocean County. Mark De Mattheis said he expected work on Verona Place to formally begin in the next few weeks.