Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Change Sought for Pearson Site Future

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Change Sought for Pearson Site Future

Article excerpt

UPPER SADDLE RIVER -- The owner of the Pearson Education property has formally requested that its zoning be changed to allow a mixed- use development of retail, apartments and office space.

Mack-Cali Realty and its subsidiary, Roseland Management Services, submitted a 42-page package Tuesday to the borough council outlining its request to develop The Highlands at Upper Saddle River on the 47-acre Lake Street property.

It is currently zoned as an industrial park, but suburban office campuses are "becoming obsolete and repurposing of these valuable assets due to excellent locations, access and size is a reality that must be faced by municipalities if they are to remain viable tax ratables," Mack-Cali attorney Francis X. Regan of DeCotiis, FitzPatrick& Cole said in a five-page letter to the mayor and council.

Pearson announced in September 2011 that it would vacate the site when its lease expires at the end of this year and move to Hoboken.

The company will get $66 million in incentives from the state of New Jersey if it relocates 750 jobs from Upper Saddle River to Hoboken. It will earn another $16 million if it adds at least 200 new jobs at the new site.

Mayor Joanne Minichetti said Wednesday that it is premature for her to comment on the rezoning proposal. The soonest the council could take up the issue would be at its April 3 meeting, she said, adding that as of now, it's not on the agenda.

The property owner will answer questions and take input during a public meeting April 1 at the Hilton Woodcliff Lake.

Officials and residents got their first look at The Highlands in November when Carl Goldberg, co-president of Roseland, told a standing-room only crowd about the redevelopment and then fielded questions.

Reactions were mixed, with some valuing the recreational component and tax ratables and others worried about traffic and future tenants of the rental units.

Since that meeting, the office space has been reduced from 300,000 square feet in two buildings -- one three stories, the other four stories -- to 165,000 square feet in one building. …

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