How will this development impact traffic in the area?
Village 35’s Offsite Highway Improvement Plans – designed with and approved by the state Department of Transportation – will repair what has become a problematic intersection of two of Middletown’s key roadways, Route 35 and Kings Highway, resulting in vastly improved traffic flow along nearby roads.
The DOT-approved plans include more efficient jughandles at Kanes Lane and Kings Highway East, providing safer access to Route 35 and streamlining the flow of traffic throughout the immediate area. These schemes are compliant with the town’s Master Plan, incorporating the construction of a new connector road from Kings Highway East to Kanes Lane, which will provide easier access to the town’s municipal service area. The project will incorporate new circulation around the site consisting of bicycle paths and pedestrian-friendly walkways, and a connection to a bus stop on Route 35.
The project’s design also includes eight points of ingress and egress on the property, along with various off-site improvements that will enhance the nearby intersections and jughandles while dispersing traffic onto Route 35. Village 35’s data and modeling for traffic was based on a retail project of 400,000 square feet — larger than the proposed development, which would comprise less than 350,000 square feet.
How will scenic Kings Highway be affected?
A new road will be built from Kings Highway to Route 35, replacing the current parking for Circus Liquors. All existing trees to the north of the center on Route 35 will remain undisturbed, and Kings Highway will have an additional buffer added. The new roadway will also be constructed as a tree-lined drive.
Will the development impact local taxes or services?
The initiative will add significantly to the local tax base, generating approximately $900,000 in yearly ratable. These taxes will support municipal services while creating a lasting – and likely growing – revenue source for Middletown for decades to come.
What is the timeline for approval and completion of the project?
Subject to municipal approval, Village 35 plans to begin construction in early 2020 and deliver the project in 2021.
What is the public process for approving this project?
The Middletown planning board is scheduled to review Village 35’s development plan, which fully conforms to the Township’s redevelopment plan and underlying Master Plan for the PD Zone. The plans are for less than the 400,000 SF approved under the area in need of redevelopment plan and ordinance.
Will there be a residential component to the development?
Village 35 is solely developing The Shoppes at Middletown, which is the commercial component including retail, dining, common areas, and walkways.
Is it possible that Wegmans will back out after the project obtains approvals?
No. Village 35 signed a long-term, binding lease agreement with Wegmans, which will serve as the development’s anchor tenant. As one of the most financially stable and credit-worthy retailers in the industry, Wegmans, along with the balance of The Shoppes at Middletown project, will provide Middletown residents with a strong, fixed source of tax ratables and jobs.
There seems to be a lot of vacant retail space in Middletown and the surrounding area. Couldn’t Village 35 develop the project at a different location?
There is not an excess of vacant retail space in the area. In fact, vacancy is declining. According to research from New Jersey-based retail real estate brokerage firm The Goldstein Group, at the end of 2017, a little over 6.4 percent of the retail space in the Hazlet-through-Middletown corridor was vacant. In 2017 and 2018, 247,000 square feet of that space has been leased, lowering the market’s vacancy rate to 3.3 percent. (In comparison, according to commercial real estate data provider REIS, the vacancy rate for retail space nationally is 8.5 percent.)
Who is National Realty & Development Corp.? Do they have any experience developing this type of project?
Village 35 is an entity of National Realty & Development Corp. (NRDC), a nationally renowned real estate owner/developer with deep roots in New Jersey and the surrounding region. The company has a 50-year track record of delivering thoughtfully planned, well-managed and financially successful real estate developments across the Northeast, including retail centers, office parks and residential projects in Monmouth County.
NRDC is embarking on a dynamic development that is not only the first of its kind for Monmouth company’s extensive portfolio of properties. Understanding that Middletown lacks a true town center where residents can shop, dine and gather with their neighbors, the company has set out to create a retail experience that is distinctive in its inspired design, sustainable elements and pedestrian features, while still benefitting from NRDC’s vast network of relationships with the country’s premier retailers.