The last piece of the Market Street redevelopment jigsaw puzzle has made its way to Morristown’s planning board.
An architect testified on Thursday about a residential / commercial project proposed for 35-41 Market Street.
Revised plans call for 54 apartments and about 20,000 square feet of retail space, according to the project’s lawyer, Frank Vitolo.
If the board approves the plans, and a tax deal is finalized, the project is anticipated to complete a transformation of a “blighted” lane, once known as “Rum Alley,” into a gateway to the bustling downtown.
Architect Dean Marchetto showed plans for a recessed façade to create a public plaza feel along Market Street. The building would rise five stories above Market, and six stories on the Bank Street side. Commercial space would occupy one floor on Market and two floors facing Bank Street.
Board members expressed a desire to see the Bank Street side spiced up a bit. The view should be good from the roof, where tenants will have access to a deck with a solarium.
Vertical Realty Capital LLC of Millburn and Stolar Capital of Hoboken received conceptual approval last fall from the town council–Morristown’s redevelopment authority–for the apartment / commercial project.
It’s contingent upon the planning board’s blessing. The developers also seek town approval to make payments-in-lieu-of-taxes, an arrangement known by the acronym PILOT.
This status saves money for builders by minimizing county property tax payments and eliminating school taxes. PILOTs have spurred controversy in Jersey City, and state legislators from Morris County have expressed opposition.
Vertical already has agreed to meet its affordable housing obligation by paying Morris Habitat for Humanity $800,000 to erect 10 affordable units on Martin Luther King Avenue.
Additionally, the developer will set aside up to $100,000, for an art project on the site. And the company has accepted a midnight curfew for alcohol sales at any future restaurant there.
Tenants in the complex will park in 70 spaces at the Ann /Bank street garage, per an agreement with the Morristown Parking Authority.
More testimony is scheduled for June 22, 2017.