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Pfizer Property to Become Housing, Retail Complex

Developer purchased land, plans to covert area could increase Morris Plains population by 25%.

The start of a long process began this month for the former Pfizer property on Route 53, when a Clifton-based developer purchased the site with grand plans for a mix of retail and housing.

The property, straddling the train track on the west side of Route 53, was purchased on Aug. 16 by M&M Realty Partners of Clifton. The two principals of M&M, Joe Marino and Jack Morris, have extensive experience in real estate development in New Jersey, California and Florida, according to a statement on the Morris Plains website.

Their largest redevelopment project in New Jersey is the former Garden State Race Track in Cherry Hill, the statement said. "This property was converted into a successful 'mixed use' development which included retail shops and housing," according to the statement.

A joint Planning Board, Borough Council meeting was held Aug. 20 to hear M&M give a concept overview of their plan for the site. That plan includes demolition of all existing buildings on the site, according to the statement. In addition, because the property is in a flood plain, "extensive environmental work is planned," the release states.

Building plans include a mix of retail shops and housing. "This is the start of a long process," the release states.

The results, however, have at least one resident worried. Alan Albin, the Morris Plains representative on the Morris School District Board of Education, noted during their meeting Monday this plan holds the potential to increase the borough's population by 25 percent, he said.

Matt August 30, 2012 at 02:12 AM
MP2012... that is our only hope but just like many other things they will find ways to pass this ... i fear it may be too late.
Betsy September 03, 2012 at 09:29 PM
It amazes me that the planning board will STILL allow more building upstream from the flood plains we live in on Bromleigh Way, Lake Valley Rd, etc...so many areas in our twp. How can they allow this knowing the ramifications of such building!
Al Krotoff September 04, 2012 at 05:42 PM
I just hope this project doesn't get rammed down the MP constituents throats like the big rateable that Pfizer built across the street from this site. Great forward thinking on everyone's part there! My guess is that there are other environmental concerns at the site including leaking underground storage tanks and the associated cleanup, asbestos, lead, etc. Also, isn't this technically part of the Highlands and requires special approval?
BeachBum November 30, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Environmental Nightmare - Not to mention it is a flood zone
orbit7er April 02, 2013 at 03:02 PM
Why do they need any retail stores when residents can walk a mile to the Main Street locally owned stores in Morris Plains? It may make sense to do a few housing units without huge parking allocations as Transit Oriented Development with access to the Morris Plains train station. But a strip mall, 800 units and no doubt at least 800 parking spots is a disaster! To be viable Transit oriented development then Morris Plains needs to press Gov Christie down the road in Mendham to restore the 7 weekday trains he cut in 2010, the 21 weekday trains Corzine cut in 2008 and the weekend Hoboken trains cut in 2006... Are the developers going to pay for train service?

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