New Jersey Business and Industry Association and Honor Award – Downtown New Jersey Award Program Published in NY Times Real Estate and regionally This project involved the renovation, expansion and market repositioning of a 70,000-sf, 1930’s historic commercial structure on the Green in Morristown, New Jersey. Drawing on our considerable expertise in architecture and space planning, Kimmerle Group managed the full demolition and reconstruction of interior floors, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, and core elevator and restroom areas. An expansion of the existing building was accomplished by the addition of an 18,000-sf penthouse floor with outdoor terrace and sensational southern exposure to the Green. Through a productive collaboration with the local historic society and planning board, Kimmerle Group gained planning board approval as well as numerous honors for this innovative project. The project was also featured in a front-page New York Times article on the integration of the new addition and the overall marketing program for the site, describing it as a carefully vetted addition to a historic structure. Overall, the redevelopment program was responsible for a substantial rent increase for the developer: from the mid-teens before renovation to the high twenties/low thirties after renovation. The project demonstrates many of the issues at play in downtown/urban planning, renovation and redevelopment projects throughout the country. Challenges included all the following:
Consolidation of family estate and trust interests to provide a basis and structure to move forward Political and planning considerations related to the community master plan and community boards Integration of public infrastructure investment in parking and streetscape design to provide an economic incentive to private development interests Market and real estate considerations addressing building amenities, minimum floor sizes and tenant footprints Communication with existing tenants, lease expiration, tenant relocations and accommodations Integration of mixed use components into the plan, including retail mix and profile Construction and phasing issues related to work in an occupied structure, including tenant work and occupancy and code issues for building-wide upgrades including sprinkler, core upgrades, elevator service, etc.
The challenges of architectural design and construction in this context are extensive, but the rewards for the adaptation and renewed life of historic structures is substantial. This effort is part of our larger contribution to the emergence of our national urban infrastructure, which has too often become stale and economically unproductive.