A large retail center aimed at attracting shoppers from around the world is one step closer to becoming reality near the intersection of Route 66 west and Exit 100 off the Garden State Parkway north, its builders announced Monday.
The Borough of Tinton Falls Planning Board recently granted preliminary site approval to Roseland, NJ developer Chelsea Property Group, the first affirmation of two needed that will permit the Roseland developer to break ground at the 61-acre site sometime in the Spring.
"It's the first real important vote," said Mark Silvestri, senior director of developments and acquisitions for CPG. "We had to wait for some rezoning in December -- some things that had to do with the town's redevelopment plan. But this one's a big one for us."
CPG must complete site plan revisions mandated by officials in time for the borough Planning Board meeting next month, where a second approval is expected.
Named Jersey Shore Premium Outlets, approximately 435,000 square feet of shopping will be created within 130 upscale clothing and home furnishing stores, each located in one of eight buildings which compose an "architecturally-themed, single-level outdoor village."
The $100 million complex -- slated to open the Summer of 2006 -- will also feature more than 2,100 parking spots, and will house a food court, information center, wheelchair rental agent and foreign currency exchange.
Developers hope to attract both local and foreign tour groups through an international marketing program. Canopies will cover "about 40 to 50 percent of the circuit pedestrian walkway" between structures, protecting visitors from precipitation throughout the year.
"It's open-aired and the coverings will have skylights to create a pleasant feeling," suggested Silvestri.
JSPO will join the construction of The Home Depot and Walmart complexes in the three-town area comprised of of Tinton Falls, Neptune and Ocean that has seen a dramatic increase in development during the last several years. Seaview Square Mall on nearby Route 33 has also been refurbished and expanded recently.
Other manufacturers' direct centers can be found regionally at The Grove on Route 35 north in Shrewsbury; Peddlers' Village, Route 35 south and Atlantic Avenue in Manasquan; and CPG-owned Jackson Outlet Village just off of Interstate 195 west in Jackson, NJ.
Developers and Borough officials hope the much larger Jersey Shore Premium Outlets will match and surpass the success of those centers.
"The town has been fantastic to work with," continued Silvestri, who pointed-out that construction could likely begin in April. The New York Hudson River Valley resident later admitted that CPG originally had a "few false (building) starts," particularly a promising one in Wall Township, but that "we really wanted to service the Shore area and that corner we're looking at now is just a perfect location from all standpoints."
According to a CPG estimate, Jersey Premium Outlets could generate more than $1.4 million in Borough real estate taxes, in addition to taxes gained from salaries and sales.
It also estimates the creation of 300 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent part- and full-time jobs. Retailers would hope to service more than five million center visitors annually; project managers also think those shoppers would spend approximately $150 million throughout the year.
The plan is not without criticism, however. Both the Asbury Park Press, with its headquarters on Rote 33 near the site, and a community group, Shark River Clean-up Commission, oppose the development, citing negative area impact.
Silvestri mentioned the construction of a roadway overpass near Jumping Brook Lane as one critic's area of concern.
"The overpass near Victoria Boulevard has been part of a separate, long-term plan for the area to control traffic distribution. It's to alleviate existing congestion," he asserted, adding that CPG attempted to meet with Asbury Park Press to discuss the matter, but the newspaper declined.
As with other constrcution projects in the area, the Shark River Clean-up Commission contends that more development will further hamper an already distressed stream water management that leads to Shark River.
Among former Chelsea Property Group projects are the Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets about 10 miles north of the NJ state border just off the New York Thruway, in the Harriman, NY area.
CPG, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Simon Property Group, Inc., claims to be the world's largest developer, owner and operator of manufacturers' outlet centers, with 61 properties in 31 states, Japan and Mexico. Visit its website at www.cpgi.com.
The Borough of Tinton Falls' main telephone line is 732-542-3400.