Coming soon: Apartments, retail next to the Grasshopper in Morristown?

Some 38 apartments are proposed for this vacant lot at 45 Morris St. Image: Google Maps.
Some 38 apartments are proposed for this vacant lot at 45 Morris St. Image: Google Maps.


A proposal is percolating for a five-story residential/ retail building on a sliver of land next to the Grasshopper Off the Green pub on Morris Street in Morristown.

The project is envisioned to include 38 apartments, according to the Morris County Planning Board, which discussed the matter recently.

It’s proposed for 45 Morris St., a long-vacant parcel that covers 0.2 acres. Grasshopper Off the Green has had a beer tent there for the Morris St. Patrick’s Parade in the past.

The land sits in a CBD-2 zone, a commercial-business designation that was amended in 2007 to allow up to six stories and multi-family residential uses, said town Planner Phil Abramson. 

It’s a short walk to the town Green and the train station. Spring Street, on the other side of Morris Street, has been earmarked for redevelopment.

“We haven’t received a formal submission” for 45 Morris St., Abramson said. “When we do, we will evaluate it as we do all applications.”

County records list the property owner as the Bakod Holding Corp., which shows as based at 15 Mt. Kemble Ave. That’s the office of Matt O’Donnell, Morristown’s former planning board attorney. He’s a member of the Morristown Partnership and is special tax appeal counsel for the town.

O’Donnell could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday.

The county planning board noted the number of proposed apartments exceeds the number of proposed parking spaces for the project; the Morristown Parking Authority is contemplating erecting a parking deck in its metered lot behind the Grasshopper that might address that issue.

All vehicular access to the apartments would be through that parking lot, the board also observed.

The proposal has received conditional approval from the county, which retains some jurisdiction because Morris Street is a county road. However, approvals also are required from the town.

A real estate site,, first reported the county discussion of the project.



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  1. Great, looking forward to it. Hopefully we can get some new bars and restaurants, as well as stop with the listening to residents who moved into downtown and don’t want to hear people having a fun weekend night.

    Margret, whats your suggestions on taxes for the developer? Make it uneconomical for them to build so we can continue to stare at old and/empty lots throughout the town?

  2. What is the point of a major expenditure for a long overdue traffic study, if approvals are granted to increase density in areas already overwhelmed by traffic. If approvals continue to get granted without considering the realistic impacts, all the study will do is prove why all that development was a mistake.

    Regarding the major increase in the number of apartments, has there been a consideration of the impact on the Town of the cost of servicing those apartments which are assessed at half the value of the equivalent individually owned unit? Easy to understand why this provides a greater profit for the developer, since the cost of services for an apartment is equal to the cost of services for the same size condo, but there seems to be little benefit, with no evidence of any savings to the taxpayer, who bears the costs of services for all those tenants.

  3. I remember 2007 when Matt O’Donnell was the attorney of the planning board. He had not disclosed his ownership interest in the property at the time he was advising the board on amending the zone to allow up to six stories and multi-family residential uses. The Star-Ledger covered this issue, see below

    Board attorney owns properties up for rezoning
    Lawyer has not filed disclosures
    Sunday, January 21, 2007
    Star-Ledger Staff
    The land is a stone’s throw from the Morristown Green, a block of real estate town planners want to see developed with buildings up to six stories, instead of the three-story structures now permitted.
    Matthew O’Donnell stands to gain if the planning board approves that change, because he controls properties on that block. He also serves as the planning board’s attorney, advising the board on legal issues as it considers numerous zoning changes in town.
    O’Donnell, however, has not informed the full board that he controls those properties and has not recused himself from deliberations that might affect the properties’ value, according to one board member.
    “At the very least he should disclose to us what the situation is,” board member Joseph Stanley said…
    State law requires public officials to disclose all their income, properties and businesses, making any conflicts of interest clear. But according to Morristown records, O’Donnell has not filed the required documents…
    A planning board attorney who controls land that could be rezoned faces a conflict of interest if the change might affect his land’s value, said Floyd Shapiro, chair of the state bar association’s professional responsibility committee.
    “If he knows his property is under consideration for rezoning he’s got to recuse himself,” said Shapiro, who stressed he was not speaking on the association’s behalf. “There’s a conflict of interest.”

  4. But here’s the thing, im sure people in JC dont go to city hall meetings and complain about bar noise and drunk bar patrons. If you want the “city” living then all of those things go along with that lifestyle. Suck it up or move somewhere else. They might as well allow taller buildings to be built like the size of HQ plaza. One big apartment complex that people FROM Morristown can actually afford.

  5. Very exciting to have the town continue to upgrade and facelift decrepit buildings, vacant lots and run down areas with new, upscale and appealing replacements. May as well capitalize on being a direct route commuter town to NYC, as well as a destination town. Hopefully we get in a few more namesake stores and alleviate the need to head out to the gross mall! Ann Taylor? Banana Republic. Edgewater has an amazing amount of retail shops, below all the apartments, as does westfield, and JC. More residents definitely need the benefits of shopping convenience as well as places to eat. Hoping the new Park by the Hyatt will offer a nice looking playground area, similar to the ones being done in all the upscale urban area zones!! The kids in this town need a cool and vibrant playground to burn off the energy. Make it a historical theme and integrate the towns history! As for whiny residents, then move to a rural area and listen to your crickets.

  6. Yea, this is exactly what the town needs, more apartments. Great area around 1100pm-330am. More residents who can cry about the noise when they move right next to bar.