A discussion was held during the Mayor and Council's work session Thursday regarding the request by Fort Lee Redevlopement Associates to consider renaming Martha Washington Way to Park Avenue. According to Mayor Mark Sokolich, the biggest reason for requesting the name change is for marketing purposes.
The roughly eight-acre “East parcel” is the land upon which SJP, in partnership with Prudential Real Estate Investors, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Bergen County attorney James Demetrakis and investment firm Palisades Financial, plans to build two 47-story glass towers with 900 luxury rental apartments called “The Modern,” along with a public park, water features, a 7,000-square-foot restaurant with indoor and open-air dining and a refreshment kiosk, among other amenities.
SJP will also develop a 13,000-square-foot building it will donate to the borough to house a public theater and a public museum.
Understanding that Fort Lee school children had named Martha Washington Way in a contest held under Mayor Jack Alter's administration, Sokolich said that he is trying to balance that sense of history with the roughly $500 million investment the developer is making in Fort Lee.
"I'm not dismissing the history of the name," Sokolich said. "But I want to balance that with the investment of the development."
Sokolich said that in exchange for renaming the street to Park Avenue, the developer has offered to name the two-acre park he is giving back to the town Washington Park and will place markers throughout that will emphasize the rich history of Fort Lee.
According to Sokolich, the developer said that he would also potentially name the movie theater that they are building on the property after Washington.
This issue was first brought up by the Mayor and Council in April 2012. However, it was agreed that the issue be held off until the developer broke ground.
Now that ground has been broken, the topic is back on the table.
No action was taken at this time, but will be discussed during the regular public meeting.
The next meeting of the Mayor and Council will be on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 7 pm in the Council Chambers of Borough Hall.