The Parsippany Council has decided that 20-30 Lanidex Plaza qualifies as an area in need of redevelopment. (Shutterstock)
PARSIPPANY NJ — Warehouses or apartment complexes? That’s the question that Mayor James Barberio posed at the July 25 township council meeting while discussing future uses for empty buildings at 20–30 Lanidex Plaza.
Parsippany has been grappling with the ongoing issue of unused office space around the township, which is all sitting vacant and costing taxpayers money every year, according to Barberio.
“They create an unattractive nuisance. Bad things happen when buildings go vacant and properties are unsupervised,” Barberio said.
In the case of 20–30 Lanidex Plaza, the mayor explained that the buildings are antiquated and have been vacant for three years and that there is no market for the buildings as they are. This has led to the council’s decision to pursue a redevelopment plan, which they voted in favor of on July 25.
“We just got a report back from the tax assessor, the office market; they don’t expect it to recover until 2045. We’ve been working with the owner to repurpose this building and there are two viable uses for this site: a modern warehouse or multi-family housing,” Barberio said.
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Although Parsippany does have a large affordable housing requirement to meet, the mayor stated that another housing complex is not their preferred option at the moment.
The mayor instead believes that building a warehouse in place of the office buildings is the right step to take.
“Warehousing is the best use to repurpose this property so we can clean up this blight and create a positive tax rateable. One of my goals is to increase the amount of taxes paid by commercial users and decrease the burden on our residents. The only way to do this is to get more commercial rateables,” Barberio said.
Based on the potential project plan, the township would be able to anticipate an increase in revenues on that site of approximately $100,000 per year.
“If we do nothing on this site, it’ll continue to decay, it’ll cost our taxpayers and will eventually become multi-family housing,” Barberio said.
Despite some concern from residents, the vote during the July meeting did not approve a warehouse plan but rather the beginnings of a redevelopment plan.
The future site plan will then be presented to the planning board and reviewed and evaluated for potential traffic, stormwater, and architectural issues, as well as noncompliance with township standards.
“The council has an opportunity to take some significant steps toward repurposing this property so that it can be a productive property once again, paying more taxes, and being a place where jobs can be created,” Barberio said.