“Highland Park Village’s First Phase Under Construction”

The $90 million conversion of the long-vacant Central Park Plaza is underway.

Groundbreaking has taken place on the first phase of the residential-based complex dubbed Highland Park Village.

The first phase involves a $24 million investment by Highland Park Village LLC that will see 84 apartments and townhouses developed over the next year.

“This has been five years in the making and it has been a long, concerted effort,” said John Ciminelli, LPCiminelli senior vice president.

The 27-acre site, bordered by Holden Street, Central Park Avenue, Manhattan Avenue and Bennett Village Terrace, was purchased by Highland Park Village, LLC in 2012, with the intention of creating diverse housing options, and further solidifying the neighborhood surrounding the project site.

“This is very creative reuse of the plaza property,” said Mayor Byron Brown. “And, it’s great the developers are working in tandem with the surrounding neighborhood.”

John Ciminelli said Highland Park Village will be developed in three phases, spread over a five-year to seven-year period, depending on market conditions. In all, 600 residential units ranging from rental apartments, for-sale single family homes and townhouses.

The first phase will include 52 apartments — a mix of one-bedroom and two-bedroom units that range in size from 1,000-square-feet to 1,300-square-feet — and 32 market-rate townhouses.

Ciminelli said pre-leasing and marketing will begin in the spring and he expects the first units to be tenant-ready by next summer.

“We are very serious about this project,” Ciminelli said. “Expect to see us go vertical (installing framing materials) in the next four to six weeks.”

Besides LPCiminelli, other members of the Highland Park Village development team include Ciminelli Real Estate Corp., HHL Architects, Boston-based Goody Clancy and the Wendel Cos.

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