As Maplewood Township moves toward officials are turning their attention to another key piece to the township's redevelopment puzzle: the former PSE&G Building on the corner of Springfield and Boyden avenues.
The 4-acre site has been vacant since 2012, when PSE&G relocated about 100 employees in the testing lab to South Plainfield and put the site on the market.
Now, with a potential buyer in the wings, officials have set the wheels in motion to declare the site "in need of rehabilitation," which it did to the Post Office site three years ago.
At the last township committee meeting, the members voted 5-0 to hire Phillips Preiss Grygiel LLC—which completed the Post Office plan as well as others in town—to conduct a study.
"The...site is the second most important piece of property in Maplewood after the post office property," Mayor Vic DeLuca said in an email to Patch. "What we do at the site will have a tremendous impact on Springfield Avenue."
When the site went on the market in March 2012, DeLuca had said he did not want the disposal of the property left solely to PSE&G and its real estate department, but wanted to ensure a buyer and tenant that is in line with the town's vision for Springfield Avenue.
DeLuca said PSE&G still owns the property and is in negotiations to sell it to a potential buyer. Once the sale is completed, PSE&G has no further role.
"The TC wants to be in the best position to influence the development of the site," DeLuca said. "A declaration of an area in need of redevelopment will give us the most options."
The PSE&G site is the third-largest ratable in town, paying $328,465 in taxes in 2011 (only Winchester Gardens and the Maplewood Country Club pay more).
The township kicked off the move to declare the Post Office in need of rehabilitation in July of 2011.
If the study determines the PSE&G site meets the criteria, the township committee would have to decide if it wants to make a redevelopment area declaration, DeLuca said. Then it would prepare a redevelopment plan, which would have to be approved by both the TC and the planning board, before beginning the process of seeking developers.