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.

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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