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EDISON, NJ-Hartz Mountain Industries has unveiled a new site-plan proposal for its mixed-use redevelopment of the 98-acre former Ford assembly plant site on Route 1 here. The automaker shut the plant down in early 2004, quickly razed the one-million-sf facility, launched a site remediation that is ongoing and picked the Secaucus-based Hartz to redevelop the site.

Hartz launched an outreach program in 2004 to determine what to do with the site, and the new plan reflects nearly two years of community input. It calls for a mix of retail combining at least two big-box stores with small tenant space, entertainment, offices, a hotel and restaurants. The cost of the project hasn’t been released, and specifics on size haven’t been determined, but Hartz officials say their development will fill the original one-million-sf footprint of the Ford plant. And the proposed project now has a name: Edison Towne Square.

“A large site on Route 1 in Edison deserves the best contemporary development, and we have invested the better part of two years blending retail concepts with the community’s desire for a family-oriented facility,” says Emanuel Stern, president and COO of Hartz. “Edison Town Square, we feel, will provide the community with something that is both practical and inspiring.”

One thing missing from the first site proposal in 2006 was a residential component. Bowing to community opposition, Hartz has left that element out this time around. But added to the plan is a 60,000-sf, two-level community center, and while Hartz isn’t proposing to build the recreational center itself, it has offered to donate a four-acre portion of the site to the township for that eventual use.

Some legal details still need to be worked out as well. The Edison Towne Square proposal is consistent with Edison’s master plan, which calls for mixed-use retail, but the site is still zoned for industrial. Hartz officials say they have requested that the site be formally designated for redevelopment to clear the way for their proposal.

The ongoing environmental clean-up still needs to be completed to the standards of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, which could take upwards of another year. Hartz and Edison officials say they are still negotiating details of the project, everything from the number of parking spaces on-site to the nature of the retail stores.

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