Maplewood will begin collaborating with an urban design and planning firm in the fall to help the township decide how to develop its crown jewel property, the Post Office site.
Located in the heart of the Village next to historic Ricalton Square, the . The township has been discussing , which Mayor Vic DeLuca recently referred to as the most important that the town will develop in the near future.
“Once the post office is gone, the building is gone,” said DeLuca. “We are left with a flat piece of land and how we configure it is going to be really open.”
Recently, the Maplewood Township Committee for a planning and design study that will outline and identify potential residential, commercial, manufacturing, and educational uses for the site. The study, which will cost $20,000, will be completed by early 2013.
The township has worked with two other consultants on the project: the planning firm Phillips Preiss Grygiel LLC, which completed an , and Master Consulting P.A., which did a
DeLuca said that while Phillips is dealing with the “nuts and bolts” of the plan, the Urban Design Lab will bring a “fresh, outside pair of eyes” to the process.
“The UDL has plenty of experience looking at sustainable development projects in a multi-disciplinary way,” DeLuca said. “We will be able to tap the creativity and knowledge of Columbia University, adding value to our and Phillips efforts to date.”
Meanwhile, officials are continuing conversations with about relocating from its current location across the street to the post office site. At the same time, the township is looking for a new location for the post office. Sites on Dunnell Road have been ruled out as too small.
One possibility is to move the mail sorting facility to a large space somewhere in town, and to maintain a smaller retail presence somewhere within the Village.
In other development news, DeLuca said the township is working with a retail consulting firm to target 250 new businesses that could be persuaded to set up shop throughout the town’s business corridors. Patch will report more on this in an upcoming article.