MILLBURN, NJ - At Tuesday's meeting, the members of the Millburn Township Committee were presented with a preliminary rendering of a building expected to completely reshape the face of the downtown if constructed.
Mark Yeager of MRY Associates and Stuart Johnson of Minno and Wasko, both Principals presented alongside Richard Keller, and Engineer and planner from Casey and Keller.
The group was there to present the preliminary design and renderings for a new residential building, which will front the corner of Douglas Street and Millburn Avenue. It would replace the former Wells Fargo Center Building and adjacent parking lot, which currently sit on the site.
As Yeager noted, the design presented before the committee was not at all set in stone and could change following the development process.
"It's at the very early conceptual stages," Yeager said. 'What [residents] saw tonight is what we've presented and prepared...At this point, the most important step is to get the zoning process engaged with the township."
"From that, we will continue then to see what kind receptivity [sic] we have, and then how far we advance the balance of the plans," Yeager added.
The current renderings call for 56-residential apartments, mostly two and three bedrooms in size, with a recessed one-story parking garage on the first floor that will exit out on to Millburn Avenue, at roughly the same spot as the current egress point on the property.
Yeager noted that some of the obstacles that stand between the project and its completion involve going before the zoning and planning board as well as the township committee. While in front of both regulatory boards, Yeager said that the design presented before the township committee this week could fundamentally change, or stay mostly the same.
Additionally, he noted that not all residents would be swayed by the designs, and would take some winning over.
"Inevitably, you're going to find some residents that don't like it, don't want to see change...and will inevitably resist it," Yeager said. "So the township committee is going to have to have the intestinal fortitude to deal with some people who aren't necessarily going to be supportive."
Despite that, Yeager said the location presents an incredible opportunity, and that if done right, can function as a lynchpin building for the downtown for people coming down Millburn Avenue.
"I think that it has got a tremendous opportunity given its kind of gateway location...I think the beehive property folks [the site developers] in doing something that's transformational and inspirational and that the town will be very proud of."