Morris County Releases 2023 Development Activity Report

Published on April 17, 2024

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Annual Report Provides a Wealth of Data

The annual Morris County Development Activity Report, detailing housing and commercial development in the county during 2023, has been completed and released by the Morris County Office of Planning and Preservation.

An overview of the report was provided by Joe Barilla, Morris County’s Director of Planning and Preservation, during a meeting last week of the Morris County Board of County Commissioners.

View the 2023 Development Activity Report

The number of applications for development remained steady in 2023, with 310 applications, compared to 2022, which saw 300 applications. The Township of Randolph led municipalities with 23 submissions to the Morris County Planning Board in 2023.

The planning board continues to review multiple multi-family residential developments as municipalities address affordable housing obligations. The cumulative proposed units totaled 1,022 with 11 applications. Three developments accounted for 587 new units, and nearly 60% were for age-restricted or assisted living facilities. This trend is expected to persist due to market demands and affordable housing mandates.

In 2022, median sales prices in Morris County were high: $815,832 for new single-family attached homes and $957,750 for new single-family detached homes, according to NJDCA data obtained from home warranty companies.

In 2023, the county reviewed 2,656,801 square feet of new non-residential floor area, the second-highest amount in the past decade. This marked a significant decline from 2022, which witnessed a surge in applications totaling 4,811,659 square feet—the most substantial increase in proposed non-residential development since 2000. The largest new development in 2023 was the redevelopment of the former BASF site in Mount Olive into a 585,000 square foot warehouse.

The county continues to see significant redevelopment of former corporate office campuses and industrial properties for alternative purposes, including warehousing and mixed-use residential/commercial projects. With limited available and suitable land for these expansive projects, developers are increasingly turning to the redevelopment of abandoned or underutilized properties for future projects. The shift towards remote work prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic has further accelerated the decline in occupancy of large office campuses, spurring their targeted redevelopment efforts.

As noted in previous reports, the creation of single-family detached residential lots through major subdivisions continues to decrease, except for large legacy projects. This year's trend reflects a return to the downward trajectory observed in 2019 and 2020, following two consecutive 10-year highs in 2021 and 2022, primarily driven by townhomes with individual lots.

Some significant aspects of the document include:

  • Between 2014 and 2023, approximately 16,035 units of multi-family housing underwent review. Municipalities with access to mass transit and highways experienced the most significant growth in this category. In 2023, the Township of Harding led the county with a proposed 250 units of multi-family housing.
  • In 2023, there was a slight decrease from 2022 in submissions for new warehousing, with a little over 2 million square feet proposed for office space. A consistent trend persists in the proposed redevelopment of former office building sites, transitioning them into mixed-use combinations of residential, retail, office space, and/or warehousing.

To view the 2023 Development Activity Report or look up past reports, visit:

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