In December 2020 Bernardsville issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking to transform its relatively underutilized Quimby Lane district into a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood in the heart of the Borough’s struggling downtown. For many decades, the area has experienced high vacancy rates and disinvestment due to challenges such as insufficient parking, limited walkability and inadequate public open space. The Quimby Lane Redevelopment Plan represents a significant step in restoring the energy and street life of Bernardsville’s historic downtown.
Melillo Equities’ proposal delivers the promise of a vibrant downtown, all the while increasing economic opportunities, providing additional tax revenue and addressing New Jersey’s affordable housing mandate. Utilizing an assemblage of properties within our portfolio, the firm’s proposal presents a strategic balance of in-town residences integrated with retail and dining experiences. Occupying upper stories, residential spaces are designed in an open floor concept with a variety of high-end finishes, fixtures and appliances. Ground floor retail, office and restaurant spaces will promote street-level interest and commerce. Facades and storefronts will reflect Bernardsville’s best architectural style. Traditional brick and concrete masonry, classical lighting fixtures, permanent sidewalk-shading awnings and other vintage details will seamlessly integrate into the existing fabric of the borough’s historic downtown.
Plans also include the creation of unique and programmable public open spaces. Melillo Equities’ proposal for new “Mill Street Promenade,” “Quimby Plaza,” and “Mine Brook Park” will provide a significant increase in Open Space amenities available to residents and visitors to the vibrant new neighborhood. Public benches, shade trees, planters, WIFI charging kiosks and bicycle racks to be incorporated into the streetscape support the vision of a walkable downtown. Activities may include Nature, Art and Music Camps for children, T’ai Chi and Yoga for seniors, Earth Day Celebration, Walk-In Movies, Sidewalk Sales, Wine and Food Tastings, Art Installations, Weekly Concert Series and more. Open space recommendations assume collaboration with Bernardsville’s Environmental Commission, Recreation Department, and Open Space, Shade Tree, and Historic Preservation Advisory Committees. The proposal also features onsite pedestrian plazas and classic streetscape elements such as benches, shade trees, planters, WIFI charging kiosks and bicycle racks, all supporting the vision of a walkable downtown.
Our firm’s mission to redefine NJ’s suburban landscape begins by addressing challenges encountered by many struggling municipalities, such as lack of in-town living, public open space and access to a variety of amenities. By introducing “urban” elements to suburban environments, our approach (“Suburbanism Redefined”) will reestablish Bernardsville’s historic downtown as the crown jewel of the community.