For many in the township, Joe’s Pizzeria on Changebridge Road is a long-time favorite since it opened in 1982. For the past couple of years, owner Bill Iellimo has had his eyes set on the site of an abandoned Sunoco service station and hopes to break ground this spring.
Iellimo has been approaching the planning and zoning boards to build develop that piece of property into a shopping center that will include retail space and Iellimo’s future restaurant, Tuscany Village.
Located at 223 Changebridge Road, the new site is less than a mile from his current pizzeria. At last Thursday’s planning board meeting, board chairman Gary Lewis gave an update on the economic development committee, which met Jan. 15.
“They (the economic development committee) were presented with updated plans for the abandoned Sunoco station on Changebridge,” said Lewis. “I am proud to report that that was one of the sites that we rezoned in the master plan to allow for some retail and food establishment operations. You may recall that Mr. (Bill) Iellimo started his presentation here and shifted over to the zoning board. That was approved and he does anticipate construction in March.”
“Joe’s Pizzeria will be relocating down next to the dog park and will be known as Tuscany Village,” said Committeewoman Deb Nielson at last Thursday’s planning board meeting. “It’ll be new and expanded. That is what Mr. Lewis is referring to, so construction will start this spring and occupancy, (will be) fall or next year, I don’t know.”
Iellimo said the new restaurant and pizzeria will have up to 100 seats with seating outside.
“We’re ready to break ground weather permitting, hopefully this spring,” he told Patch on Monday, adding that he hopes to finish in about a year or a year and a half. “The plan is to move there.”
He said the 12,000 square foot shopping center will have “a Mediterranean style look and have other shops.” There’s about 9,000 square feet of retail space available for rental with the smallest space starting at 1,500 square feet.
“That whole corner is going to be developed,” he said and if there are any interested tenants in the retail space, they should contact him at 973-420-5758.
Joe's Pizzeria is a traditional pizzeria with a small-town feel currently located next to Barry's pharmacy in the Montville Plaza
According to October 2011 minutes of a township committee meeting, Attorney Steven Schepis, Esq., and Iellimo approached the council about the Sunoco property. Iellimo “recently purchased the Sunoco on Changebridge Road (and is) hoping to develop it with a restaurant in the Northern Italian flair. Bill is also a local builder in town.”
The committee transferred Iellimo’s application over to the planning board. However, since the property is not zoned correctly, the application was shifted to the zoning board to receive appropriate zoning changes.
According to the March 2012 township committee minutes, Mayor Tim Braden gave a report from the Design Review Committee. Braden said “the former Sunoco station – they are proposing a restaurant in the Tuscan theme. It was endorsed and will be sent to the Planning Board.”
Are you looking forward to the redevelopment of the abandoned Sunoco service station?