Morristown council sends M Station project to planning board

Morristown Redevelopment Counsel John Inglesino, right, discusses M Station agreement, as town Administrator Jillian Barrick and Mayor Tim Dougherty listen, Feb. 13, 2020. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Next stop for M Station:

The Morristown planning board.

By a unanimous vote, the town council on Thursday approved measures to forward the office redevelopment project to the planning board for site plan review. Technical aspects of the project will be scrutinized during this process.

Barring any snags, the Midtown Shopping Center strip mall on Morris Street will become M Station: Nearly 400,000 square feet of offices and ground-floor retail, in two multi-story buildings; a five-floor parking deck; a pair of plazas; a tree-lined promenade; and a traffic “roundabout” at the intersection of Morris and Spring streets.

M Station, as envisioned by the Gensler design firm, 2019.

According to town Planner Phil Abramson, M Station should generate around $1 million in annual taxes, and $950,000 for the town’s affordable housing fund. The site has been earmarked for redevelopment since 2004.

In a formality, the council on Thursday designated M-Station East LLC–a partnership of site owner Scotto Properties and builder SJP Properties–as redeveloper.

Town Planner Phil Abramson, left, gives M Station update to Morristown council, Feb. 13, 2020. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

The designation is good for nine months. The redeveloper feels urgency to proceed swiftly to accommodate M Station’s anchor tenant, Big Four accounting firm Deloitte, said town Redevelopment Counsel John Inglesino.

An abbreviated agreement with M-Station East also was approved. It affirms that plans being sent for planning board reveiw are the same ones approved by the council last fall, Inglesino said.

Crucially, this redevelopment agreement gives added powers to the planning board, for mandating off-site improvements by the redeveloper if necessary, Inglesino said.

This could include traffic fixes related to the proposed roundabout, the lawyer said.

Morristown Council President Stefan Armington, who doubles as liaison to the planning board, tells colleagues he will keep them updated about M Station, Feb. 13, 2020. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

A more detailed agreement spelling out redeveloper responsibilities and conditions will be fleshed out when the planning board returns the site plan to the council, Inglesino said.

He anticipates the planning board review will start soon.

Eleven restaurants and business in the Midtown Shopping Center were told in December they must leave by the end of next month, March 2020, to make way for M Station.

 

MORE ABOUT M STATION

The M Station project calls for a roundabout at this intersection, Spring and Morris streets. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

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9 COMMENTS

  1. In addition to follow up, what HQ plaza needs is an inside/outside renovation like 1776 on the Green just had, with new larger tenants occupying multiple floors. Looks like 1776 building has new rooftop employee terrace, and updated modern large office floor on upper. Provides energy into the town seeing that lit up with people working in there. Same with what E-Trade did with their office renovation – awesome. New Wells Fargo building going to be great as well.

  2. This is the BEST possible plan Charles. High paying jobs, new infrastructure, beautiful building…what is the problem??? These tenants are getting help and had PLENTY of time to get out. They have been on month to month leases for a long time and the developer has given them ample time to relocate

  3. Will be a dump like HQ in 15 years.

    It’s criminal that Scotto let that property decline just to push this substandard plan/cash-grab.

  4. New hotels, restaurants, bars, and condo/apartment construction are fine, and it’s great that they are now focusing on bringing corporate jobs downtown. I hope this continues.

  5. Been observing that intersection ever since the round about was proposed and noticed that this one serves a triangular intersection rather than the normal square and while all those offered as examples were in comparatively flat locations, while the one here has has a much varied topography. Also some how the results of the detailed traffic study commissioned by the Town have yet to be released, the impact of another major construction on the other side of the street and its impact has not been considered.

    The rush to send the project to the planning board, preventing Council input although they are the designated redevelopment agency, does not make sense.

  6. All of that traffic flowing through the roundabout is going to make the Spring Street to Sussex Ave unpassable during times. Fix the intersections of Spring and Early Street too! The fire station already has enough trouble dealing with this traffic mess of this layout.

  7. I would hope that the Mayor, who is a voting member of the Planning Board recuse himself since he is a defendant in active litigation with the developer who first tapped Deloitte for their property on South St.

  8. Great – exciting stuff! Will bring so much energy, and well paying jobs to support a whole lot of businesses around town.

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