Clifton Safe Storage LLC is seeking zoning approval to tear down Ploch’s Garden Center in Clifton, N.J., and build a five-story self-storage facility in its place. The zoning board discussed the proposal for the 1.85-acre property at 1172 Broad St. during its Wednesday meeting. The facility would be managed by self-storage real estate investment trust CubeSmart and branded under its name, according to the source.
The site is at the intersection of Allwood Road, Broad Street, Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Route 3. The plans include razing the single-story garden store and adjoining greenhouse, and then building 175,000 square feet of storage. The applicant is seeking permission to build two stories more than allowed as well as a reduction in parking spaces from 88 to 19, eight of which will be for loading and unloading, the source reported. The proposed number of parking spaces would be sufficient for the facility, according to Stonefield Engineering & Design LLC, the engineering firm on the project.
The developer, Jonathan Vogel, stated the area is in need of more storage, and the garden center is well-suited for the use. “People want a class-A storage that is safe, clean, well-lighted and has 24-hour security,” he said.
A local business owner supports the land owner’s right to sell it, but questioned whether there’s a need for more storage in the area. “Off the top of my head, I can think of five nearby,” said Walter Hryckowian of Clifton Discount Vacuum, which is in the adjoining Broad Street Center strip mall.
Joe and Linda Spirko opened a fruit stand on the property in 1959. Today, it includes a tropical greenhouse, a gardening and gift store, a shrub yard, and annual and perennial plants. The business is currently operated by their son, Michael Spirko.
Another buyer attempted to purchase the site in 2014 and build a QuickChek gas station and convenience store. The plan was denied because the city wouldn’t allow more than one business use on the property. The decision was challenged, but a superior court judge upheld the ruling in 2016. The buyer then backed out of the deal.
The Spirkos sold another business, Strawberry Blossom Home & Garden Center on New Jersey Route 23 in Wayne, N.J., five years ago. It was replaced by a QuickChek store and gas station, the source reported.
North Jersey, Ploch's Garden Center in Clifton May Be Replaced by Self-Storage Facility