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WEEHAWKEN, NJ-A nearly completed mixed-use project in Morristown and one that is just getting under way in Hoboken were the subjects of a program sponsored here on Monday by NAIOP-NJ. Experts involved in both developments spoke of the challenges and the potential rewards of undertaking MXD redevelopment efforts.

In Morristown, Woodmont Properties and Roseland Property Co. teamed up on the redevelopment of the former Epstein Department Store in the city’s downtown district. Stephen Santola, executive vice president and general counsel at Woodmont, detailed how the developers had to address community concerns regarding the preservation of the historic nature of the buildings in Downtown Morristown and work with the Morristown Parking Authority, which owned the three-acre property, to complete the project.

Today, the project encompasses 40 Park, a 74-unit condominium building, and another structure that will offer 130 apartments, with a significant number set aside as affordable. Those buildings will be delivered next year. Already open is a 34,000-square-foot office building that houses the parking authority and other tenants as well as a parking garage with nearly 800 spaces.

Chuck Thomas, vice president at Omland Engineering Associates, spoke about the replacement of 50-year-old water and sewer lines at the site as well as s new storm drainage system. Those off-site improvements, he said, cost $2.8 million. The complex is also designed to provide pedestrian access to the buildings. “It’s a true smart growth project,” Thomas said.

Robert Goldsmith, an attorney with Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP, who acted as the counsel for the parking authority, said the developers had to acquire one building to facilitate the project. The owner balked, but ultimately the developers won in court. The office building features many green elements, such as a green roof and geothermal well field, and is LEED certificated, Goldsmith said.

The redevelopment of the historic Hoboken Ferry Terminal, meanwhile, is in the planning stages. Anthony Marchetta, vice president of LCOR, said the project has been delayed since 2000 due to changes in the city’s mayor office and 9/11. However, in 2006, LCOR signed a 20-year master developer contract with NJ Transit to redevelop the 65-acre site. “It’s going to take a long time to undertake,” Marchetta said, adding that the site has not produced tax revenue for the city for 100 years. In the project’s favor is the fact that Hoboken has been involved in the redevelopment process since the 1970s, Marchetta noted.

At the present time, the city is hammering out a redevelopment plan for the area. Until that is approved, actual development cannot begin, Marchetta noted. Plans for the site not only include an integrated rail, bus, PATH and ferry terminal, but a public promenade, retail space, an office building and live/work lofts.

Ian Sacs, a transportation engineer at Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, said the intermodal site “is rich in alternative transportation methods other than the car.” He further outlined the proposed project’s pedestrian walkways and bike-friendly features. Vehicular traffic patterns around the site will have to be reconfigured, Sacs said.Echoing Marchetta, Kevin Moore, a redevelopment and use attorney at Sills Cummis & Gross said that the city of Hoboken must finalize its redevelopment plan for the site before work can begin. A slew of other approvals are needed, including those having to do with environmental and historic elements, he added.

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