Planning Board to consider Princeton Pike Office Park to be an area in need of redevelopment

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The Lawrence Township Planning Board will consider whether the Princeton Pike Office Park at 3131 Princeton Pike should be designated as an area in need of redevelopment when it meets March 20.

The Planning Board agenda for the 7 p.m. meeting includes a resolution recommending the adoption of a preliminary investigation report for the office park. It will be followed immediately by a public hearing on the report.

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The Princeton Pike Office Park is on Princeton Pike, between the I-295 overpass and Franklin Corner Road. It was built in 1970 and consists of six office buildings, surrounded by parking lots.

The Lawrence Township Council authorized the Planning Board in December 2022 to conduct a preliminary investigation of the office park to determine whether it should be deemed a non-condemnation area in need of redevelopment.

Non-condemnation means the town will not condemn the property. It can be redeveloped without resorting to condemnation.

The report, which was prepared by planning consultant Kyle and McManus Associates (KMA), concluded that the office park meets at least one of the eight criteria to be deemed a non-condemnation area in need of redevelopment. The criteria is set under the state’s Local Redevelopment and Housing Law.

Specifically, the office park meets Criterion B – “the discontinuance of the use of a building or buildings previously used for commercial, retail, shopping malls or plazas, office parks, manufacturing or industrial purposes.”

Criterion B includes “significant vacancies of such building or buildings for at least two consecutive years, or the same being allowed to fall into so great a state of disrepair as to be untenable (unable to be rented).”

One of the six buildings at the Princeton Pike Office Park is vacant, according to the consultant’s report. The other five buildings are partially occupied. Combined, the overall vacancy rate is 44%.

The property at 3131 Princeton Pike is in the O (Office) zoning district. Permitted uses include offices, medical clinics, professional offices, banks, public parks and recreation, conservation, governmental uses and nursing homes. An office park is permitted on a minimum 15-acre parcel.

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