From the Record:
The collapse of Toys R Us has placed a big question mark on a large tract of forested woodland in the heart of Wayne.
Toys R Us is preparing to leave its corporate headquarters, which sits in the middle of nearly 200 acres of largely open space in a triangle bordered by Berdan Avenue, Hamburg Turnpike, and the Point View Reservoir.
The land has been a secluded corporate office campus since the 1960s, first as the headquarters of chemical conglomerate American Cyanamid. It has been the home of America’s iconic toy retailer since 2003. The road leading into the compound is Geoffrey Way, named after the giraffe mascot of Toys R Us.
It is a throwback to an era when corporations sought secluded, park-like suburban settings for their office complexes. It is going on the market at a time when demand for office campuses with a single corporate tenant has all but vanished. As a result, Wayne public officials and residents could see big changes proposed for Geoffrey Way.
Real estate experts and developers say this could be rare chance for Wayne to make decisions that could bring valuable benefits to the township.
But to do that, they say, the community may have to accept another use for the land.
“It’s an opportunity to create something that could be iconically transformational,” for Wayne, said Kenneth Pasternak, a founder and executive chairman of The KABR Group, a private equity real estate firm based in Ridgefield Park. “The challenge for Wayne is to be open-minded about that,” he said.
Possible uses for the site, according to local commercial real estate experts, could include apartments that would allow young professionals to move to Wayne, and allow retirees to remain in the township after selling their homes. Assisted living housing or a corporate office park with space for multiple tenants are other possibilities. Non-office uses, however, would require a zoning change.