South Orange Requests Retail Consultant Proposals for Taylor Vose Co-Retail Space

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South Orange is inching closer to a major benefit that was negotiated as part of the 110-unit Taylor Vose redevelopment project — a co-retailing incubator space — with the township publishing a request for proposals for a retail consultant and operator for the 2,000 sf retail space. See the township’s press release below.

The co-retailing space is being programmed and operated by South Orange Village Community Co-Retail Space (SOV CCS), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization formed in January 2023 by the Township of South Orange Village. The Township put out a call for volunteers to serve on the board of the nonprofit last fall and confirmed the board members via ordinance (attached below).

As part of the financial deal for the Taylor Vose redevelopment, the township negotiated the 2,000 sf retail lease for $1/year for 25 years.

Previously, South Orange had hired Deb Engel and Amy Howlett, co-founders of The General Store Co-operative (GSC), to create a business plan for the Taylor Vose commercial space and help the town through the build-out process. Engel presented a draft annual budget of $196,000 and other plans for the space to the South Orange Board of Trustees in August 2022. Read about the presentation here:

South Orange Reviews Plan for Retail Incubator Space at Taylor Vose Development, August 9, 2022

[Note: Engel was elected to the Maplewood Township Committee in November 2022 and sworn in on January 1, 2023 to a three-year term. Engel and Howlett recently sold The General Store Cooperative and Engel is now working full-time at the Jewish Community Relations Council.]

South Orange Village President Sheena Collum says that a $700,000 cash contribution also negotiated as part of the financial agreement for Taylor Vose would go toward covering operating costs over the first few years of the lease. The developer has also provided 70 public parking spaces, a land acquisition payment of $1.3M, and 11 units as affordable housing. In return, the project benefits from a staggered 25-year tax abatement. Read more about the financial agreement here. 

The RFP states that the responses are due by February 28 with the selection of a consultant(s) and operator projected between March 17-24.

Meanwhile, CLAY, a ceramics studio located at 10 Vose Avenue on the first floor of Taylor Vose, celebrated its grand opening on January 28 and is the first retail business to open in the new building. CLAY is the creation of renowned ceramicist Lindsey Shevkun, founder of Indigo Road Studio. Read more about CLAY here. 

South Orange Village Community Co-Retail Space – Request for Proposals

The South Orange Village Community Co-Retail Space (SOV CCS) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization formed in January 2023 by the Township of South Orange Village to empower local entrepreneurs and creatives by providing a public marketplace that encourages customers to support and shop local in an experiential co-retail space.

The newly formed SOV CCS Board is looking to engage a retail consultant who will develop the concept, lay the foundation for operational planning, and advise the Board during the pre-opening period. This individual/team may also become the operator who will manage the space overall and coordinate the various other participants, post-opening. The full RFP can be found here: with responses due by 6 p.m. ET on Feb 28, 2023. If you have any questions about the RFP, please email

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