For many, many years, the International Crossroads has been occupied by the hard-to-miss glass tower at its heart.
But the rest of that space has been open, incomplete. Current zoning calls for office space. Crossroads Developers LLC want another option, and have approached the township with a proposal to do a rezoning overlay.
The Crossroads Town Center (CTC) overlay proposal has been mistaken by many to be a mall. But as the local residents have made abundantly clear, that is not what anyone wants for Mahwah. A trio of ordinances have been proposed to create the CTC, and develop the area in part for retail space, which would be unlike any other shopping center in Bergen County, according to James E. Jaworski, Esq., who represents the developers.
Jaworski argues that the developers have a history of supporting Mahwah and its character.
“Crossroads Developers LLC has quietly been a positive influence in Mahwah for years. They are a long-standing supporter of the Mahwah Schools Foundation. They've also supported the local Rotary Club in it's endeavors,” he said.
Jaworski said that the developer's intent is not to turn Mahwah into another Paramus, and shot down rumors that the proposed Crossroads development would be comparable to the Garden State Plaza Mall.
“The Plaza has over 2.1 million square feet of Gross Leasable area. Our proposed rezoning has a hard cap of 600,000 square feet of Gross Leasable area.”
In response to the concern that this will lead to further developments in the future, Jaworski said, “not a square foot more then 600K of retail can ever be built on site under the Ordinances being considered.”
Jaworski said the plan for the main 600,000 feet of space calls for a ‘downtown’ feeling, with smaller buildings similar to what you would find on a main street. The space would also be highly pedestrian friendly.
The ordinances that have been proposed will not allow this or any other developer to create a traditional mall. When faced with comparisons to any of the malls that are prevalent throughout Paramus, Jaworski said, “the only Paramus site that's comparable is the IKEA site. In total there's 550,000 square feet on that one.”
The proposed ordinance also specifies just how the development would look.
According to Jaworski, the site would include no ‘brick and mortar’ box warehouses, and no strip mall. “We will not in any way resemble the architecture on that (Ikea) site,” stated Jaworski.
The ordinance specifies that the one or two ‘big box’ sites will also have to conform with the ‘main street’ aesthetics of the CTC.
There will still be space for offices, and possibly another hotel, but Jaworski said another key aspect of the site is that space has been designated to be set aside for active recreation. That would include athletic fields and similar recreational spaces for public usage.
Numerous meetings with the town planner and Town Council went into the proposal to create the three ordinances that make up the overall CTC plan.
“This rezoning deals with a 100 acre vacant, level, long clean site,” Jaworski said.
“There are no other such sites in all of Bergen, except for County parks. It's not encumbered by environmental constraints such as wetlands or flood plain. It's located at the crossroads of three major highways with no direct connections to residential homes.”
Jaworski said the plans reflect a desire to bring in revenue to the town, but without changing its overall fundamental character.
“Mahwah is very carefully and thoughtfully limiting exactly what can be constructed on this site, as well as what it will look like and how it will be sequenced,” Jaworski said.