MM asked Development Commission liasion Dorothy Rasmussen to discuss what is happening now that the Whole Foods construction (http://media.wholefoodsmarket.com/quick-bites/whole-foods-market-announces-nine-new-store-leases) is a real deal for our town. Here is what she said about the process and about the Renaissance project in general:
The borough of Metuchen will be amending the land development ordinances of the borough to meet criteria that Whole Foods has for their supermarkets. For example, I believe they require approximately 43,000 sf. for the one planned in Metuchen but currently in the ordinance they are capped at 40,000 sf. The ordinance will be amended to reflect the need for Whole Foods construction at the Renaissance site.
The mayor and council are sensitive to the residents' desire to be a business friendly community. We want to dispel the myths that we are inflexible when it comes to economic development. We want Metuchen businesses to be able to successfully compete for consumer dollars that will be spent in Middlesex county and beyond. To make things clear, Whole Foods is part of the Renaissance development, not a replacement for it. When the project was initiated, part of the agreement was for a supermarket. They could not go forward without one. Now that one is in place, they can go forward with the development. Also, it is a private project so no borough funds went into the development.
The Renaissance development is not dead, but just beginning. They will have to come before the Planning Board with the actual plans now that the Whole Foods has been secured.