Real Estate

South Orange Development Committee Meeting Covers NJ Transit Lot Acquisition and More

South Orange Village President Sheena Collum and Barry Lewis, South Orange Village Administrator

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - At the South Orange Development Committee meeting on Jan. 10, a number of active projects were discussed, with the committee updating the current status of the following:

NJ Transit Lot Property Acquisition

South Orange Village President Sheena Collum explained the plan that was proposed to NJ Transit (NJT) for the use of the property, which includes a public parking plaza on the eastern end of the parking lot (near SOPAC), connecting it to the Village Greenway Project, increasing circulation on the western portion (ending at Church St.), and creating a mixed use development consisting of a parking deck, residential and commercial space. The gravel lot at the corner of South Orange Ave. and Church St. was discussed as possibly being incorporated into the development plans.

Sign Up for E-News

According to Collum, Somerville had a similar project, which took 15 years to reach agreement with NJT. Collum added that the NJT team, representing all departments, was impressed with the proposal, and that they provided a memorandum of understanding offering a land lease, not a sale of the property.  This is a "non-starter" for South Orange, said Collum. 

There is a follow-up meeting set for the second week in February, and if there is no progress, South Orange Village will ask for assistance from Essex County Executive, Joe DiVincenzo and legislators.

Fourth and Valley (Meridia Development)

Collum reported that there has been positive feedback from the community, and the redevelopment agreement is in progress with the developer.  Among other details, the agreement will ensure that the finished project will be "what we like and have seen," said Collum.

Next steps include sending a resolution to the South Orange planning board and for the developers to make their presentation to the planning board. By using a resolution, recommendations and any improvements to the plan made by the planning board can be incorporated into the ordinance, said Collum. The developer will provide 10% affordable housing on site, and deposit a sum equal to an additional 10% into South Orange's trust fund for affordable housing. These funds may be used for senior housing or Jespy Housing. The developer, Meridia, is currently short seven parking spots in their plan, however they anticipate resolving this shortly. Collum said that the a new development plan and site plan is expected to be submitted to the planning board in April or May.

South Orange also plans to do a Valley Street traffic study, make improvements to the crosswalks, and make improvements to Memorial Park.

Hub Realty – Lustbader Property (Former Blockbuster Building)

Following the last meeting, direction was given to the developer to have their architect come up with a hybrid plan, and it is expected to be presented at the next monthly meeting. Some of the direction given to Hub Realty include removing the interior retail space and public plaza, facing all the new retail on South Orange Ave. and Vose Ave., eliminating the patio covering, and adding convenient parking for the existing retail stores. The current scale of the building is too large, said Collum, and exceeds the height limit. 

The proposed plan has 138 units, which is 9 units per acre whereas both the current Third and Valley development and the planned Fourth and Valley development have are at 8 units per acre. The first submission from the developer envisioned an eight-story building, which has now been reduced to five stories, which Development Committee members thought was still too high. A significant amount of change to the latest submission is expected, and further negotiation will be necessary to arrive at a workable project, said Collum.

South Orange Master Plan

There was a short discussion regarding South Orange's plan to develop an RFP for a new master plan; the last plan was completed in 1979, and while it has been re-examined and revised, it is not complete. The aim according to the Development Committee is to have the RFP ready this spring. Within the next month all committees will be contacted so that all concerns and needs are covered in the RFP.

Seton Hall University Student and Junior Faculty Housing

There is a need for adequate housing for both upper class students and junior faculty, stated Collum. Both upper class students and junior faculty have housing difficulties, with junior faculty often unable to find housing that they can afford. Currently, there have been issues with students who rent single houses in residential neighborhoods and are causing a "disrupting factor." 

There are two developers who have expressed interest in building suitable housing, however they would like Seton Hall to either sign a master lease or guarantee leasing, which Seton Hall is not willing to do, said Collum. The housing being discussed would not be off campus dormitories, but would be apartments with suitable facilities. The benefit to South Orange would be that there would be no impact on the public schools, and a lower parking ratio would be necessary as Seton Hall would provide students with ShuFly shuttle stops and on campus parking. 

Hotels in South Orange

There are two parcels in town in active negotiation with proposed hotel operators. A minimum of 100 rooms are required by the state to acquire a liquor license, which is essential in order for the hotel to be successful.

Orange Lawn Development

Orange Lawn has preliminary approval for ten buildings, representing twenty units of housing and associated redevelopment of the property.

Village Hall

Landmark’s application was pulled from the January planning board meeting due to the fact that proper notice had not been given regarding the second off-street parking lot. Should everything be acceptable on first submission to the planning committee, approval could come in March, with a potential start of work in May 2017, said Collum. Construction is projected to take about 14 months.  

During public comment, Stuart Wainberg of Wainco Realty and Mark Murphy or Mark Murphyy’s Music expressed their concern with the future parking situation as both Village Hall and the Lustbader project in the former Blockbuster building would take parking away from their businesses. It was agreed that a parking meeting would be held in the future to discuss these concerns further.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


A Tale of Two Very Different Town Administrator Searches

Both Maplewood and South Orange are looking for new town administrators at the same time, a rare occurrence.

And their approaches couldn’t be any more different.

Maplewood, whose long-time administrator Joseph Manning is retiring May 31, launched its search last month the old-fashioned way: hiring a recruiting firm and letting them do the heavy lifting (or more appropriately the ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

South Orange Police Blotter - 7 Burglaries Reported

February 24, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of Feb. 24

Burglary - A Brookside Rd. resident reported that sometime between 10:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 19, and 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 20, actor(s) unknown entered her garage and stole a set of spare keys to her residence. The actor(s) also rummaged through her unlocked vehicle, which was parked in the garage at the time, but nothing appears to have ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Teens Arrested for Theft from Auto

February 12 - Theft; A resident from Burroughs Way reported that sometime over the past day, a snow blower was stolen from an open garage.

February 17- Theft from Auto; At approximately 5:15 p.m., two males were observed going through vehicles on Hillcrest Rd.  Officers responded to the area and were able to locate two males fitting the description. The males, 18 year ...

Women's Club of Maplewood Donates $300K to Maplewood Library Foundation Capital Campaign

February 23, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Maplewood Library Foundation's Capital Campaign received $300,000 from the Women's Club of Maplewood on Thursday, the first major gift since the campaign began on Feb. 22, according to a release from the Maplewood Library.

The capital campaign is raising funds to renovate the main Maplewood Library "that will serve the community for generations to ...

Maplewood Chili Cookoff this Sunday Combines Food, Family Fun, and Fundraising for a Good Cause

Update on February 23: All Tasting Passes to the Maplewood Chili Cookoff are sold out. A few more spots are left to submit a chili, which can be done here.

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - There's a new annual tradition in SOMA: The Maplewood Chili Cookoff. Back at The Woodland for its second year on Sunday, Feb. 25, the cookoff has local residents sharing their best chili ...

Upcoming Events


Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend "Wacky Winter Olympics" Open House

Education Other


Sun, February 25, 2:00 PM

Maplewood Middle School Auditorium, Maplewood

Maplewood Middle School Presents Rogers & ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Sun, February 25, 6:00 PM

The Burgdorff Center for the Performings Arts, Maplewood

Auditions for The Strollers': A Midsummer Night's ...

Arts & Entertainment

School Walkout Efforts Reach West Orange High School

February 22, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Hundreds of West Orange High School (WOHS) students participated in a peaceful walkout Wednesday afternoon in support of their fellow classmates in South Florida, where a gunman killed 17 people last week.

“They want to see change [in gun control],” said WOHS Principal Hayden Moore, who was present during the impromptu student-organized walkout.

Indictment Handed Down in Millburn Carjacking

TRENTON, NJ – An indictment was handed down in the November carjacking in Millburn where a 13-year old girl was allegedly grabbed by the neck and the suspect threatened to kill her. 

The 11-count state grand jury indictment charges Ahmed Anthony, 30, of Newark with conspiracy, carjacking, robbery and making terroristic threats among other charges. The conspiracy in the first-degree ...

Sky Zone on Rt. 22 in Springfield Opened Saturday

February 24, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Mayor Rich Huber and Township Committeeman Chris Capodice joined State Senator Tom Kean and Sky Zone officials to “cut the ribbon” for their official opening on Saturday, February 24. After officially signing in, guests were allowed free rein of the facility. Some of what the 35,000 square foot park includes wall to wall trampoline courts, a warped wall to ...

Dunkin Donuts Approved for Abandoned Checkers Location on Rt.22 in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Longtime Springfield residents Mr. and Mrs. Sailesh Patel of Hillside Avenue were approved for a drive through Dunkin Donuts at 30 Route 22 in Springfield. They are doing business as Soni Realty LLC. 

The site currently has an abandoned Checkers' restaurant on the property. Safety was a concern of Board members at the meeting Tuesday night. The meeting ...

My Clutter is Taking Over! With Jamie Novak at the Millburn Library

February 24, 2018

The Millburn Free Public Library is pleased to welcome back Jamie Novak to the library to talk about your clutter on Thursday, March 22, 2018 at 7:00 pm in the auditorium.

If you can't open your drawers, if stuff topples out of closets, and you haven't seen the top of your kitchen table in a while then run, don't walk, to this de-cluttering comedy show! Welcome back to ...

Weekly Specials at Ashley Marketplace & Cafe - Feb. 23 to March 1

Shop Ashley Marketplace & Cafe for your everyday needs!

This week's specials are:

Alaskan Cod Fillet $9.99lb (Ashley Fish Market)
Chuck for Stew/Stroganoff $6.99lb (Meat)
Thumann’s Deluxe Ham $8.98lb (Deli)
Midnight Moon $18.99lb (Cheese)
Red Globe Grapes $3.49lb
Cavendish Hash Browns 2/$5
Beef Meatloaf $6.99lb (Prep Food)
Polly O Ricotta $5.99 ...

Free Cardiac and Concussion Screenings for Young Athletes

The Matthew J. Morahan III Health Assessment Center for Athletes (MJM) at RWJBarnabas Health will provide free cardiac and concussion baseline screenings to young athletes on Saturday, March 3, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at South Mountain Recreation Complex, Codey Arena, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ.

When preliminary testing to identify serious cardiac problems is provided to ...