SPRINGFIELD, NJ – The downtown area along Morris Ave. beyond the I-78 crossover has three projects in various stages in progress. Combined, these three properties are considered Phase 1 of the downtown redevelopment along Morris Avenue and they represent 25-30% of the area. There is clearly hope the redevelopment will lead to greater vibrancy and further improvement in the area.
The project furthest along is known as the Church Mall project. It is being developed by Veale Holdings LLC and will be presented at the next Planning Board meeting in September. The main issues to be addressed at the meeting are related to traffic and affordable housing.
This project involves four properties totaling 1.08 acres that make up the Church Mall Redevelopment area. The plan is to build two four story buildings. Building A is planned to include 12 residential units with 31 parking stalls; eight of which are under the building. Building B would also be four stories, but 24 units all with underground parking.
The second project is the proposed redevelopment of the lots known as the Century 21 office. It will involve up to 24 apartment units, mostly one and two bedrooms, with parking. Retail could include cafes, restaurants and other stores.
The larger project involving the Gomes Property will take longer because of the need to first get permission to do “bump outs” on the sidewalk and then move the electric and telephone poles. It may also involve a reconfiguration of the Morris Turnpike – Mountain Ave. intersection. If it does, it would likely fall to the developer to take on the project and its cost since the State indicated its intersection backlog currently runs at least a decade.
The Gomes property along Morris Avenue runs between Caldwell Place and Center Street. The Township Committee approved it for a 140-unit residential development on the now vacant property, with 30,000 square feet of street level retail.
Until the Gomes project starts, it is expected to have the windows of its many empty spaces covered with pictures shortly to help improve the look of the area.
So, 2017 remains the year for downtown redevelopment to start.