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PASSAIC, NJ-The 27,000-sf, three-story building at 41-49 Central Ave. here used to be a warehouse for storing beads. Now, with some help from a $2.1 million in construction and permanent financing from the Community Preservation Corp., the building now houses two floors of artists’ lofts over ground-floor retail.

Redeveloped by the Jersey City-based New Horizon Joint Venture, the property consists of a dozen artist lofts, featuring 14-foot ceilings and totaling 23,000 sf. And El Aguila, a Mexican restaurant and convenience store, will open in March, taking the building’s entire 4,000-sf storefront.

“This is a building with personality, nurtured by caring, creative and sometimes slightly wacky residents,” says New Horizon partner Steven Hess, who notes that eight of the 12 lofts are already spoken for, and “interest is high” for the rest. “We wanted to provide a unique living and work space, and this building is really coming to life with new tenants and a new purpose.”

Annemarie Uebbing, VP of CPC in Jersey City notes that “this conversion and reuse is a great example of how rehabilitated buildings can benefit their communities. “A once-vacant building has been reborn as a thriving artist community with a local flavor all its own.”

The lofts are reserved for people pursuing artistic endeavors, either full or part time, and all applicants have to supply a resume and portfolio to the Passaic Art Certification Board for verification.

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