Planners approve expansion of Route 537 outlet center

By Joyce Blay
Staff Writer

Planners approve expansion
of Route 537 outlet center
By Joyce Blay
Staff Writer

JACKSON — The Planning Board has approved an application filed by New Plan Excel Realty Trust Inc. (NPXL) to expand its 293,000-square-foot Jackson Outlet Village.

The retail center at the intersection of Route 537 and Route 571/526 will be expanded with an additional 65,000-square-foot retail space and two freestanding, full-service restaurants that will total 15,000 square feet.

"Over the past five years, the factory outlet center has become the place to shop for Jackson and its surrounding area, and as such, has built a solid reputation. Jackson Outlet Village is currently fully leased and there is a strong demand from additional name brand retailers for space in the center. Phase III will satisfy this demand," said Len Brumberg, executive vice president-retail for NPXL, in a press release the company issued.

The new space will provide 50,000 square feet of retail space and allow between 15 and 20 new stores to open in the shopping center. However, applicants for those retail spaces are being carefully reviewed, said Christopher B. Cobb, general manager of Jackson Outlet Village.

"The demand is there, but we want to upscale the center," he said after the Planning Board approved the application.

Construction is tentatively slated to begin in March pending approval by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), according to attorney Stephan R. Leone of the firm Carluccio, Leone, Dimon, Doyle and Sacks, which represented NPXL at the Planning Board’s Oct. 22 meeting. However, alterations to Route 537 and possibly Route 571 will extend construction past the addition’s planned opening in late fall 2003 or spring 2004.

"We may need two to three years for improvements and acquisition of property to widen Route 537," Leone said. "And the concept (plan) of Monmouth County provides two lanes in a western direction and widening of lanes on Route 571."

Once differences between county plans and those of the traffic design firm VMI Maris are ironed out, the outlet center will give shoppers a new opportunity to get the best for less, said project engineer Patricia A. Ruskan, a senior associate of Keyspan Business Solu-tions, who also testified before the Planning Board on behalf of NPXL that night.

"You go, you look, you buy what you see," she said.