Down to the nitty-gritty: Morris Township scheduling board hears Abbey redevelopment approach

  Restoration Hardware’s program to redevelop a Gilded Age mansion as a household furniture showroom…


Restoration Hardware’s program to redevelop a Gilded Age mansion as a household furniture showroom and cafe got the blessing of Morris Township’s governing body past fall.

The nitty-gritty commenced on Monday.

For a lot more than 3 hrs, the Township planning board read professionals reveal site visitors, parking and sounds-abatement proposals, for what job legal professional Frank Vitolo described as an “unprecedented collaboration” that promises tax income and work opportunities when preserving an “architectural treasure.”

Without having the RH transformation, Vitolo reported, Alnwick Hall–better recognised as The Abbey—probably would “continue to decay until its demise.”

Applicant Madison Avenue Urban Renewal LLC, a subsidiary of RH, seeks internet site strategy approval, alongside with variances for front lawn setbacks, wall heights, signs and the variety of tandem parking spaces.

A new attribute, a “ruin,” ought to maintain added parts of the historic construction, in accordance to Vitolo.  A lot more information on that are expected at the up coming hearing, on Aug. 16, 2021.

Architectural renderings of Restoration Hardware (RH) restoration of The Abbey in Morris Township, July 2021. Screenshot by Kevin Coughin

Modeled after a 16th-century British manor, Alnwick Hall was built on Madison Avenue’s “Millionaire’s Row” in 1904. Considering that then, The Abbey has housed a church, an business elaborate and, in 2017, Mansion in May possibly excursions for charity.

Detailed on the Nationwide Sign up of Historic Areas, the four-acre web page has had no everlasting tenants for much more than a decade.

At Monday’s particular assembly, conducted almost mainly because of the pandemic, venture targeted traffic expert Matt Seckler predicted “some important amplified potential on Madison Avenue” on Saturdays, when the 48,000-sq.-foot furniture gallery and 164-seat cafe really should be at their busiest.

Seckler primarily based his projections on pre-COVID motor vehicle counts for Madison Avenue on a Thursday and Saturday, in spring 2019 site visitors reports for a equivalent-sized RH venue in West Palm Beach and trip-generation standards from a guide of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

At peak times, RH will have to have 122 parking spaces. Ideas call for 180 areas, Seckler stated.

Sixty of these areas are throughout Madison Avenue, leased from a healthcare pros making.

RH staff will park there on weekends, Seckler said. Shoppers will park onsite, possibly in a self-parking large amount, or by way of valets who will shuttle their automobiles to 56 tandem spaces at the rear of the gallery.

Parking will be researched in the course of the venture’s 1st six months, to decide if valets will need to use the offsite a lot to park visitors’ automobiles, Seckler reported.

Responding to a resident’s worries about targeted visitors on Canfield Road, Seckler reported an RH entrance there could be limited to supply cars, to discourage shopper access via Canfield.


Board member George Quillan questioned how hearth vans will shoehorn on to the property.

“There’s no margin for error, no thing to consider for snow or everything staying in the way,”  he explained.

Safety is paramount, Vitolo claimed.  “I’m absolutely sure we can get the job done something out here,” the law firm said.

Snow removal concerned Cathy Wilson, a board member who also serves on the Township Committee that accepted the redevelopment. Small snowfalls will be cleared to the edges of the site heavier amounts will be carted away, Seckler instructed her.

New sidewalks and curbs are planned alongside Madison and Canfield, and a pair of “furniture gardens” are proposed.

Seventy-4 trees will be taken off, and 182 will be planted. Some will be mature, standing up to 25 ft tall, testified undertaking engineer Josh Kline.

Special virtual conference of the Morris Township preparing board, to hear web-site system application of Restoration Hardware for The Abbey, July 12, 2021. Screenshot by Kevin Coughlin

Portions of the property’s perimeter will be lined with a 6-foot-higher, dark grey acrylic “sound abatement fence,” sandwiched involving 8-foot-high evergreen hedges, Kline claimed

The redevelopment will comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Act, he noted.

It all adds up to “a seriously great advancement to a site we hope will carry on for a further 200 or 300 several years,” Kline claimed.

Architects are scheduled to testify subsequent thirty day period at the board’s frequent conference. Citing hopes for approvals in time for drop construction, Vitolo asked for an additional particular session.

Trip schedules could hinder that, replied Board Chairman Edward Benoit.  Vitolo’s ask for will be tackled on Aug. 16, the chairman said.


Proposed entrances to Restoration Components undertaking at The Abbey, July 2021. Screenshot by Kevin Coughlin