Visions for Vacancies: Maplewood Post Office

What do you think should become of the Post Office space?


We know Maplewood Patch readers have strong opinions about what businesses should move into town.

So here's your chance.

In an occasional column, we present a vacant space and ask you to tell us what you think would be the best use. Let's call this a digital spin on community planning -- Patch's version of a charette, a digital drawing board where all ideas are on the table.

As many Patch readers know, the Maplewood Post Office will be vacating in November and the building will be demolished. There has been talk of Kings Market moving across the street from its current location, but nothing is confirmed yet.

So this is where you come in, Maplewood. What would you like to see in that .75 acre space? A larger Kings? A community center? A mixed use building with some kind of retail on the ground floor and apartments above? Or would you prefer that the Post Office stay?

Forget any zoning rules and regulations, for now. If you had your way, what would you like to see there? What would be the best use for the community?

Let us know in comments.

Mark Chandler March 12, 2013 at 03:00 PM
a parking garage like Millburn. If people can't find parking, they can't spend money. The village doesn't have enough parking.
Wayling League March 12, 2013 at 04:46 PM
A KFC. Or a Chick-Fil-A. Maybe a Hooter's or Tilted Kilt. A tattoo and hair-braiding superstore. Something maybe to attract the Brooklyn Hipsters who have started to choose places on the Hudson with organic freerange rope-your-own white asparagus. Or maybe we do something to attract diversity to the community, like a Wax Museum of Republican Presidents. A Lenei-Lanape cultural center with baccarat and blackjack. A hologramic statue of Elon Musk that will plug in your Tesla car. A monument to the trees that died in Hurricane Sandy. Or howzabout our own version of Stonehenge! Or a Jersey version of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, like the Collossus of Christie, or the Hanging Organic Gardens of Babbling On/monument to the chronics on MOL...
JPE March 12, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Nothing taller than 2 stories. Build a row of shops to match the buildings on the north side of the street. It should retain that village feel. Parking garages and tall apartment buildings can go on back streets. It will cease to be a "village" if it has a huge parking garage or 8 story new construction apartment complex.
Richard Murphy March 12, 2013 at 05:45 PM
a row of shops that we don't already have. no more nail salons, mom and pop shops small clothing stores... something new and happening
Shamrock1224 March 12, 2013 at 06:27 PM
I agree with you. We don't need more residential space (ie just built residential where the old police station was). The space is too small for a multi-level parking garage. If Kings goes across the street to where the PO was, and then another business moves into where Kings was (reasonably sized Pharmacy or other business) Then we have 2 ratables that fit in with the Village type ambiance. By the way the prior pharmacy was Ken's Drugs, I wondered where they either forced out by high rents, or by the big pharmacies (Drug Fair/now Walgreens, CVS, or Rite Aid). It would also be a cool place for a SPA (still another ratable).
Citizen March 12, 2013 at 06:55 PM
Like. LOL
Citizen March 12, 2013 at 06:57 PM
I just read that Robert Northfield sold it to his brother for $4,000. It's being leveled next week, and will become a very fancy home. :) Sorry... had to throw that in there. But seriously- anything nice that ads parking and is tax rateable and isn't an eyesore if fine! Am I the only person shocked by the size of the new building going up where the charming old police station was? Gulp.
Lindsay March 12, 2013 at 08:09 PM
biggest eyesore ever, that millburn parking.
Lindsay March 12, 2013 at 08:11 PM
don't forget, there should be more parking if we buy the women's club. PLEASE whatever happens...NOTHING more than 2 stories...NOTHING. It must have the village feel as someone mentioned above.
Joe Gonzalez March 12, 2013 at 08:17 PM
I agree. We need businesses in the town center that can provide tax revenue and jobs. A 3-4 story commercial/retail complex with a good mix of green space and parking is the way to go. No high-cost residential complexes here, please. The taxes are killing us!
KookyPeep March 12, 2013 at 09:51 PM
The Maplewood Post Office is an important fixture in our town. A town is not a town without a post office. I believe it should stay!
Irene Langlois March 12, 2013 at 10:31 PM
My husband wrote the above. I personally do give a hoot. There is a post office on Springfield Ave.
Daniel Wright March 12, 2013 at 10:43 PM
A drugstore and retail post office would be convenient. I always welcome more restaurants. We don't need more apts/condos in town--this could make the property tax situation worse for the current population. A few things I didn't like about the Columbia study... 1. they acknowledge Dickens Village as one of the main events in the Village, but Ricalton park does not exist in all 3 of their proposals! This is the cultural highlight of the year for my children in the Winter. Visits to DV inevitably lead to a meal in town and Christmas shopping. How could they have missed this in their plan? In a few proposals, there appears to be a small park next to Village Coffee. This location is almost always shaded and not a good place for a winter destination like DV. 2. All 3 proposals include a parking garage in Memorial Park across the street from the Middle School. Yikes! I hate this idea. If a parking garage is necessary, I would much rather see it go in an existing parking lot area, not in a public park. Somethings I did like from the study... 1. I saw some mockups of outdoor seating areas for restaurants. Our restaurants are tremendously successful at bringing visitors to our town. Anything that can make them even more awesome, I support. 2. Parking garage behind BofA. I understand the town doesn't own this lot, but I think the location is desirable for parking and would not be too hideous,
Shamrock1224 March 13, 2013 at 02:31 AM
Good Luck on the high end apartment complex. Don't think it will happen.
Shamrock1224 March 13, 2013 at 02:34 AM
Your right and the buildings that replaced the old police station (I am told) has low income housing. We need more commercial type buildings. I've lived here since 1974, and the taxes just keep going up.
Victor De Luca March 13, 2013 at 05:22 PM
There is no low income housing in the Station House building at the former police station. Four of the 50 units are designated affordable. Qualifying incomes are $50,072 for one person, $57,225 for two people, $64,378 for three people and $71,532 for four people. The other 46 units are market rate units.
lolly evans March 13, 2013 at 08:16 PM
And the ratables?
Dave March 13, 2013 at 10:01 PM
We know a Post Office will not go there. The Post office department is taking our post office away, why would they replace it with a larger one? Kings has been a fixture in town. Imagine a larger Kings like the Union Store. It would attract people from South Orange. But what about the present Kings site? A TD Bank would be nice on that site. Union has 5 or six TD Bank branches but somehow ignores Maplewood. If all else fails put a Walgreen’s and 7 11 in the present Kings site. Only joking about Walgreen’s and 7-11. I think they are trying to put those stores within walking distance of everyone) Everyone should write a letter or send an e-mail to TD Bank about the apparent snub. Six branches in Union none in Maplewood!
Fred Khoury March 14, 2013 at 12:54 AM
Home Owner March 14, 2013 at 07:09 AM
Dave, whatever precipitated the decision, it is my understanding that Maplewood is evicting the Post Office, not the other way around.
francklazare March 14, 2013 at 03:26 PM
Maybe one should start a petition to save the Post Office branch in the village: as part of the new development, or at a different location in the Village: like the Women's Club for instance, since that's now Maplewood's property. Quoting from the 'Urban Design Lab' report for the post office site "Although it was not until 1947 that Maplewood obtained an independent post office and 1958 before a post office building was built in the town. The inclusion of the Post Office brought a new anchor to the site that increased the economic stabiliy of Maplewood Village and its surrounding neighborhood."
Gina Patterson March 14, 2013 at 05:58 PM
My vote is for some useful stores that people really need and will turn a profit: pharmacy and hardware store. I would love not to have to drive to get to these.
H Harvey March 17, 2013 at 12:45 PM
Yes, the only things Maplewood Village is missing is a pharmacy and hardware. A post office is considered an anchor too. So I think a "General Store" that includes pharmacy, hardware and a post office. I think that would become a destination. Has anyone been to Kaplers Pharmacy down on Long Beach Island? It's an "experience", the pharmacists actually get out from behind the counter and help you with all sorts of holistic products that they carry and you can get prescriptions there too. Yes, leave room for Dickens Village too, the Village depends on that.
Alberto Fernandez March 17, 2013 at 02:25 PM
The building should be demolished, substituted by a big, deep pit where we can all drop our tax checks.
Lee Conti Hurley March 17, 2013 at 04:31 PM
We need a vision for Maplewood Ave and Springfield Ave. we should put utility based services like the post office, hardware store, larger grocery stores on Springfield Ave. desirable retail stores and restaurants should go on Maplewood Ave. Just look to Montclair and Westfield for good examples of sustainable and desirable retail offerings. Another dollar store on Springfield Ave is disgraceful. 711, dollar stores, Burger King... We can do better than this. We are in need of some real leadership do we can improve the entire town and get tax revenue!
Home Owner March 17, 2013 at 05:40 PM
A few years back, the town made a significant investment in a "vision" for Springfield Avenue, trying to give it more of a village "feel" by impeding traffic flow/speed. The stakeholders in that area approved of this- I didn't, but I wasn't consulted, of course. While Springfield Avenue may be superior to how it was 20 years ago, it's not better than it was 5 years ago. Finally, I don't know where all of this dissing of new car dealerships comes from- it's my understanding they paid a lot of property taxes, including on their inventory.
Winky March 17, 2013 at 06:01 PM
I have said at some of the public meeting that the TC should have an architectural competition for the site. They seem to only be interested in developers. that's why we have the vanilla/plastic building going up near the train station. This is a very important site, and will make or break the town. My vision, which I have also expressed at meetings - Kings's should go into a large basement of a new building with their storefront & entry facing the downhill side of the site (across from the Village coffee shop). That's where you see the windows of the lower level of the Post Office now. A large supermarket at ground level level will be too large a scale for M Village. If a basement market is good enough for the tremendously successful Whole Foods in the basement the Time Warner Building in NY then it should be good for King's. 2 to 2 1/2 stories, depending on height abovegrade is about all Maplewood can handle without M Ave. becoming a tunnel. In those floors there should be some retail spaces, maybe offices at the top, with a large skylit (glass at top) courtyard in the middle for locals to hang out, drink coffee, read paper, visit or wait for the train. We have no indoor public space right now in town. This public space should have a "green" path from the back to the train underpasses allowing easy through access. The building could be a magnet for the town. Anyone want to seriously discuss? email me - winkydink050@aol.com
Lee Navlen March 18, 2013 at 07:40 PM
Winky, Very, very interesting. Sadly, I think our leaders have something much more vanilla in mind. I've mentioned this to the Mayor before but generally larger developers or those with the resources to produce the quality you expect aren't very interested in bidding on jobs in small communities where local government isn't sophisticated and at the mercy of its local constituents. In short, it's easier to get a 30 story building built in Jersey City than it is getting a 3 story building built in Maplewood. No townhall meetings, no public discussions, etc. They get the deal. the permit and then they build something people would like to see and more importantly rent. Bottom line, I'm sure the new post office site might be fine for some when it's completed but I'm rather positive you and I will look at it and just shake our heads. If you hate the look of the old police station apartments, you won't like this one much better. :(
Winky March 19, 2013 at 03:05 AM
Lee, What you are saying sure makes sense. However, the crap they are building in Jersey City isn't the sample we should be looking at. Maplewood requires quality. We can't be defeatist here. Maplewood Village is still a very special and unusual town center. The village is one of the most unique around. Can you think of another that you can only get to through small streets of historic homes? No main drag like SO Ave or Millburn Ave. This is not urban like So. Orange or Montclair or even Westfield - which are the towns the TC keep mentioning. It is little Maplewood. If the TC members are reading any of this, and they should be, then they should know that their shenanigans with the Police Building add up to a fiasco. Dozens of architects and concerned citizens came to meetings to object and offer solutions. But the blinders were on and the TC did what THEY thought was best for us. Developers are not good for Maplewood. That fiasco was supposed to bring in lots of money - Oh but then they turned around and bought the Womens Club basically with that money....and my taxes are going up? If the TC members would stop and think about the fact that they are supposed to REPRESENT us, then they might consider listening to what the smart people of Maplewood have to say.
Eddy B May 13, 2013 at 01:49 PM
Just don't build higher than two stories. Don't destroy the age-old character of the town center.


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