SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - At the March meeting of the South Orange Development Committee two active development proposals were discussed: the redevelopment of the former Blockbuster building on South Orange Avenue and the 4th and Valley project.

Blockbuster Redevelopment on South Orange Avenue

The Development Committee reviewed the most recent proposal from the developer, Hub Realty-Lustbader, of the former Blockbuster building on the corner of Vose Avenue and South Orange Avenue, with a focus on building height, residential density, shopper parking, location of retail stores, and the overall impact on the downtown.

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The developer's architect submitted revised renderings which addressed a number of the Development Committee's concerns, including the proposed building's height, the setback of the upper floors, the location of retail space, and the amount of surface parking for shoppers.

Stewart Weinberg of Wainco Realty, who owns real estate which is adjacent to the proposed development, had his architect meet with the developer's architect to come up with a rough plan for a side-by-side redevelopment that would encompass the entire block, which would include apartments being added above the existing building at 75 South Orange Avenue.

There was a brief discussion of Wainberg’s proposal but nothing in-depth, as the committee explained there could be no further consideration before there was a formal agreement between the two developers to work together.

Further discussion by the committee members and South Orange Village President, Sheena Collum. resulted in a consensus that a letter be drawn and sent to Hub Realty-Lustbader advising them that the current plans do not meet the prior directives issued by the Development Committee to address density, the need for new retail stores on Vose Avenue, and to create adequate  public parking. Collum also added that guidance had been previously given to Hub Realty-Lustbader about these concerns, and the project must fall within those parameters in order to move forward.

4th and Valley Project

A few minor adjustments were made to the 4th and Valley project, with a consensus that the redevelopment plan is ready to be presented to the South Orange Planning Board at its next meeting on April 3.

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