Here is what’s coming to Market Street in Morristown

WHAT WILL REPLACE THIS? These Market Street buildings have bee sold to Millburn investors. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
WHAT WILL REPLACE THIS? These Market Street buildings have bee sold to Millburn investors. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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By Kevin Coughlin

Market Street, a former “Rum Alley” being touted as a “Gateway to Morristown,” will include luxury apartments, shops and a restaurant to complement the triangular law office already approved for this redevelopment zone.

At least, that’s what the new owners of 35-41 Market Street say they will pitch to town officials in coming months.

“This is one of the few places in New Jersey with a live-work-play environment, a unique environment. We thought this is a fantastic opportunity,” said Jake Feldman, a principal in Millburn-based Vertical Realty Capital LLC.

WHAT WILL REPLACE THIS? These Market Street buildings have bee sold to Millburn investors. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Redevelopers plan to replace this stretch of Market Street with luxury apartments, shops and a restaurant. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

He is part of a group that has purchased two properties from gallery owner Harry Simon and his sister, Lisa Lanterman, for $6.2 million.

Feldman said he is partnering with Peter Brosens of Stolar Capital  in Hoboken and construction manager Alex Elkin.

The number of apartments — and other aspects of the project — must be hashed out with town planners and the town’s redevelopment authority, which is the town council.

Council members left this stretch of Market Street for future discussion back in April, when they revised a 2005 redevelopment plan to accommodate a five-story,wedge-shaped law office building on a sliver of land between Market and Bank streets.

Sketch of proposed triangle building between fork of Market and Bank streets. Courtesy of Dean Marchetto
Sketch of proposed triangle building between fork of Market and Bank streets, described as a ‘gateway to Morristown.’ Courtesy of Dean Marchetto

The Hampshire realty company in Morristown paid the Simons $2.65 million for that parcel, in an area officials describe as “blighted.”

Sixty-four residential units and 35,000 square feet of retail appear to be the maximums allowed for the entire zone, according to the town’s redevelopment plan.

‘HIGHEST QUALITY’

Market trends have seen local construction shift from condos to apartments in recent years, and this project will follow suit.

Feldman promised a “building of the highest quality” that will appeal to Morristown’s “great mix of young professionals … empty nesters and general renters-by-choice.”  His team intends to comply with affordable housing requirements set by the town, he said.

Morristown mandates that 12.5 percent of new units be set aside as affordable.

At least one council member has raised concerns about the possibility of bars opening in this zone, potentially exacerbating problems for nearby residents already upset by rowdy behavior from late-night crowds.

Feldman said he does not anticipate going in that direction.

“I don’t think a bar is something we would be willing to consider,” he said. “But a restaurant, absolutely.”

Collapsed roof of old building between Bank and Market streets in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Collapsed roof of old building between Bank and Market streets in Morristown. Developers plan to replace most of this block with luxury apartments, shops and a restaurant. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

He also is talking with the Morristown Partnership about finding the right mix of shops for 22,000-square-feet of street-level retail space, he said.

Present tenants include Guerrilla Fitness (lease expires mid-2016), Oxygen Pilates (2017), and the Simon Gallery, scheduled to open its 20th season in September.

DRAMATIC TRANSFORMATION

Harry Simon has agreed to vacate when the project is ready to break ground, said Feldman, a third-generation developer.

His grandfather and father built 1,000 homes over the last three decades, in Parsippany, Elizabeth, Sayreville and elsewhere, he said. The family operates another 1,400 apartments in New Jersey, along with three hotels in Massachusetts, he said.

Morristown is familiar to the 29-year-old Feldman. He attended Newark Academy, not far from town, before heading to Columbia University and Harvard Law School. His father-in-law, Dr. Mitchell Carter, is a surgeon with offices on James Street in Morris Township.

“I’m trying to convince my wife to move out here,” from New York City, Feldman said. “There’s a lot to love. The night life is great.”

The Market Street Mission shelters upwards of 90 people on winter nights. Photo by R.J. Meyer
The Market Street Mission shelters upwards of 90 people on winter nights. Photo by R.J. Meyer

If this project moves forward, it substantially will complete a dramatic transformation of Market Street (and, on the back end, Bank Street).

It began several years ago, when the venerable Epstein’s department store was replaced by the 40 Park luxury condos and the Metropolitan luxury apartments, Starbucks, and more recently, Carlo’s Bake Shop and The Salad House.

As the neighborhood — which includes a cavernous structure with a collapsed roof– continues its upscale climb, local observers will be curious to see what becomes of the Market Street Mission, for more than 125 years a life raft to down-and-out men in what once was known as  “Rum Alley.”

 

 

 

 

 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Nice to hear the mention of the night life, it’s what has brought Morristown back. Property values have skyrocketed. Good luck with your project.

  2. You might want to check into Stolar Capital’s track record before you get too excited. They are in litigation with dozens of their tenents and several of their contractors for breach of contract. They just lost a case early May 2016 for breach of contract. The company is a bunch of kids that have no experience. The apartment project they were perfomring in Belleville never got finished, so you will just have to see what happens here.

  3. This project would be great. I hope is breaks ground by end of year (whatever it exactly may be). Anything is better than what is currently there. Hopefully they put undergorund parking for their own residents

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