The fate of the mostly vacant Princeton Pike Office Park is in the hands of the Lawrence Township Council.
The Lawrence Township Planning Board adopted a preliminary investigation report for the office park at 3131 Princeton Pike at its March 20 meeting. The report said it met the criteria to be deemed an area in need of redevelopment. The report was prepared by planning consultant Beth McManus.
At its April 3 meeting, the Planning Board approved a resolution recommending the Township Council that the office park should be formally designated as an area in need of redevelopment. The recommendation was made on the basis of the previously approved preliminary investigation report.
Now, it is up to the Township Council to adopt its own resolution to designate the Princeton Pike Office Park as an area in need of redevelopment.
If the Township Council adopts a resolution designating it as an area in need of redevelopment, then the council would prepare a redevelopment plan. That plan would be adopted by ordinance and ultimately incorporated into the township’s Land Use Ordinance.
The multi-step process grew out of a would-be developer’s proposal to redevelop the office park into a mixed-use development. A presentation was made to the Township Council at its Nov. 1, 2022 meeting.
The would-be developer’s proposal called for 17,000 square feet of retail space at the front of the 26-acre property, plus 193 rental apartments. Some would be set aside for affordable housing.
The Princeton Pike Office Park consists of 275,000 square feet of office space, spread among six buildings on a 27-acre parcel. It was built in 1970.
One of the six buildings is vacant, according to the preliminary investigation report. The other five buildings are partially occupied. The overall vacancy rate has increased from 18% in 2017 to 42% in 2021.
The Princeton Pike Office Park 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 a permitted use on a minimum 15-acre parcel.