Indoor recreational facility may join Edison Towne Square

EDISON — A second recreational facility may be proposed at the former Ford Motor Company site on Route 1.

More than a decade ago, a $1.2 million lifestyle center was envisioned for the 98-acre site. The center is now known as Edison Towne Square.

In 2006, Hartz Mountain Industries proposed to develop the site and called for a hotel, a movie theater, restaurants, office space and a bank.

Since 2010, when a 152,000-square-foot Sam’s Club membership warehouse and gas station opened, businesses have been coming to the site, including Topgolf, which is an entertainment and event venue with point-scoring golf games, Starbucks and Zinburger Wine and Burger Bar.

“The plan has been revised a couple of times,” Township Attorney William Northgrave said. “Topgolf and a number of [businesses are] already there.”

Northgrave said future businesses at the site will be determined by market conditions depending on what is needed and what will be supported in the area.

“My understanding of the original plan is [the developer] contemplated a horseshoe with a variety of retail,” he said. “There are hundreds of thousands of square feet and retail is just not supported right now. Retail is really on life support. … This [latest proposal] would be a recreational facility.”

Members of the Township Council amended the redevelopment plan on March 28. Northgrave said the amendment relates to a site near Zinburger where a movie theater up to 75 feet tall could be constructed.

“All [the amendment] is clarifying is that if there is an indoor recreational facility built, [the facility] could also, if needed, go up to 75 feet [in height],” he said. “What is being discussed is 57 feet [in height].”

Resident Esther Nemitz said there has been concern in the community about competition with Edison’s proposed community center with news of a proposed recreational facility.

Northgrave said the amendment approved by the council has nothing to do with the community center.

“This is a commercial recreation use, analogous to Topgolf. It is a use that [Hartz Mountain] now has a tenant for. What we know is that [the facility will have] four walls and a roof,” Northgrave said, adding that a variety of uses could be built to 75 feet at the site.

Contact Kathy Chang at kchang@newspapermediagroup.com