MORRIS TOWNSHIP–Rockefeller Group and K. Hovnanian will proceed with purchase of the 147-acre Honeywell International property here for an undisclosed sum, contingent on winning local approvals for their mixed-use office and residential proposal.
The township Planning Board must initially approve a general plan before a full site plan review can occur.
The Rockefeller Group of New York City will serve as “Master Developer” of the project. It will be responsible for the general overall development of the 147-acre site and the office construction. Red Bank-based K. Hovnanian is the home builder.
The plan includes:
- a 715,000 office/lab to be developed by Rockefeller affiliate RG Colombia LLC, and 185,000 square feet of existing office space to be retained by Honeywell.
- a residential community of 235 townhouses, 24 of which would be affordable housing, and a community center.
The sale has been pending for some months as the companies waited out the appeal period for a failed legal action attempting to reverse the zoning granted by the township last year to permit it. Superior Judge Stephan J. Hansbury rejected the suit on April 16, which triggered a 45-day appeal period, which ended earlier this month.
The suit was filed by Citizens for Better Planning in Morris Township, a group that contended the Township Committee created “spot zoning” at the site so Honeywell could sell it.
The controversy over use of the property had continued for several years, since local planners first agreed to permit housing on the site. The zoning was changed to reduce the density of office and lab use at the same time that it allowed for the residential use.
Mayor Bruce Sisler said redevelopment of a now-vacated property will strengthen the township’s fiscal picture, calling the project “great news for the taxpayers and residents of Morris Township.”
Honeywell announced in February 2013 that it would leave the site for space at the former Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical office building in Morris Plains.