Partner Frank Vitolo Speaks at Town Meeting Re Proposed Morristown "M Station" Development
The June 28, 2019 Morristown Green featured Land Use and Commercial Litigation Partner Frank Vitolo in its article “Miracle or Monstrosity? Morristown Residents Sound Off on M Station.” The article covered a June 27 community discussion about the “M Station” office development in Morristown, proposed by Riker Danzig client SJP Properties. Described as “standing-room-only” and “lively,” the public workshop gave residents an opportunity for an in-depth look at the redevelopment proposal, which would replace the Midtown Shopping Center strip mall with an office/retail project that will include a 48-foot wide street scape and public plazas as well as two office buildings with retail/office space.
While some residents expressed concern that the project would take away long-time affordable eating establishments and threaten the small town feel of Morristown that “we love,” Frank pointed to the “unprecedented effort” SJP Properties will make to help relocate displaced businesses. “Because I live here too,” Frank said. “And I have to see you all on the street. I got neighbors, you know, like you all do. And I’m going to make sure that the developer, the town, the Morristown Partnership, that everybody works together to keep the retail that wants to stay here, in Morristown.”
The article commented that Frank, a town resident, “placed his reputation and credibility on the line to an extraordinary degree” in his belief in the good of this project for Morristown. “What you can’t do is let opportunities like this slip by,” Frank said. When another resident suggested that the M Station project would divide the Second Ward from the rest of the town, Frank pointed out that Riker Danzig was Headquarters Plaza’s first tenant in the 1980’s, and that Riker Danzig has hired many Second Ward residents, its employees spend money downtown, and he and fellow partners serve on numerous boards. “Three hundred nonprofits in Morristown. You know who supports nonprofits? We do. The corporations, we support the nonprofits,” Frank said, who has served on the Morristown Partnership, the Morristown Housing Authority and Morris Arts. “We’re out there, we’re in the community, and we’re making change, and we’re employing people. So you just can’t underestimate that,” he said.
The project would also incorporate a roundabout at the Morris/Spring Street intersection to resolve a longstanding traffic bottleneck. For more comments from businesspeople and residents at the workshop, read the complete article at M Station Workshop.