DENVILLE TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – Denville Township learned earlier this week that an affiliate of the Springpoint organization, which owns the former St. Francis Residential Community facility, will be applying for demolition permits to demolish the structures on their property located at the comer of Diamond Spring Road and Pocono Road, according to Denville Township Administrator Steven Ward.
A senior representative of Springpoint confirmed they would be demolishing all the structures on the property to make way for an eventual state-of-the-art healthcare community to serve older adults, Ward said.
Due to their age and configuration, Springpoint indicated it was simply not economically feasible to retrofit and repurpose the existing buildings. Once the permits are issued, Springpoint anticipates demolition to commence in the coming month(s), Ward said.
St. Francis Residential Community was part of the foundation of our community dating back to 1895 and played an essential role throughout Denville’s history. The collaborative and symbiotic relationship that developed during more than 125 years helped ensure the prosperity of both the Township and the St. Francis Community, Ward said.
In December 2021 the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, a Wisconsin based organization, transferred ownership of their senior living residential community on Diamond Springs Road to Springpoint, a New Jersey nonprofit organization. Based in Wall Township, Springpoint operates 29 senior living communities in New Jersey and Delaware, including The Oaks at Denville, Ward said.
By the time the township was made aware of the prospective real estate transfer, it was too late to intervene to preserve the facility, despite their tireless efforts to do so over the period of several months in Imagelate-2021, Ward said.
As the facility is privately owned and was never listed on any state or federal historic registers (as the previous property owner never sought or agreed to such historic designations), the township cannot legally prevent the demolition of the St. Francis structures, Ward said.
“It goes without saying that the Mayor and Township officials feel a deep sense of sorrow and loss at the impending demolition of such a vital part of our community’s history. Of note, in advance of the transfer to Springpoint, the Sisters donated items of historical significance from the facility to the Denville Historical Society for preservation and also donated the pews from the chapel to the Catholic Newark Dioceses,” Ward said.
“Although saddened by their decision to demolish the structures, the Township will continue to maintain a good working relationship with Springpoint to attempt to ensure the eventual redevelopment of the property is appropriate and does not detract from the character of the site or our community,” Ward said.