It looks like the Honeywell tract in Morris Township won’t be vacant for long after Honeywell moves its world headquarters to Morris Plains next year.
New plans for the 147-acre tract on Columbia Road call for 900,000-square feet of office and lab space, 235 townhouses and almost 15 acres of open space.
“This is great news for the taxpayers and residents of Morris Township,” Mayor Bruce Sisler said in a statement.
It is master developer of the site, per an agreement with Honeywell International Inc.
K. Hovnanian Homes will develop the housing portion of the site, which will include 24 affordable units, according to details released by township Administrator Tim Quinn.
Township officials anticipate the planning board will receive a formal submission later this year.
If it’s approved, the site then would be subdivided, splitting the office and housing portions. Honeywell also would retain part of the property, for about 185,000-square-feet of the total proposed office and lab space.
The township’s largest employer stunned local officials last year when it announced it would be moving its 1,000 jobs to Morris Plains by 2015.
Redevelopment plans had encountered two years of opposition and lawsuits from township residents, creating a “level of risk and uncertainty in the market,” Honeywell said at the time, explaining the decision to leave after more than a half-century in Morris Township.
Township officials welcomed the new proposal, and also expressed pleasure that Honeywell intends to maintain a presence in the community.
“We are pleased that this property will not be vacant and the new commercial and residential components will strengthen the Township’s fiscal stability,” Mayor Sisler said.
“I as well as the members of the Township Committee look forward to the Planning Board’s review of the general development plan. This is the first step in the review process and we look for the community to become involved in the analysis of this important plan for the Morris Township community.”
In April, Superior Court Judge Stephan Hansbury upheld the township’s rezoning of the Honeywell office tract for commercial and residential uses.
Citizens for Better Planning in Morris Township Inc. argued unsuccessfully that township officials were guilty of illegal “spot zoning.” A deadline to appeal the judge’s decision has passed, according to published accounts.