ROXBURY, NJ – The company converting Ledgewood Mall into The Shops at Ledgewood Commons has asked the state to approve its plan to modify Route 10 to accommodate the project.
The plans, sent to the state Department of Transportation (DOT), comply with an August request by the Roxbury Township Council that a proposed left-turn lane on westbound Route 10 be significantly longer than originally proposed by the developers, according to Roxbury Township Planner Russell Stern.
The developers, Advance Realty and DeBartolo Development, also plan to upgrade the intersection of Route 10 and Marie Louise Avenue, the road that flanks the western side of the mall. They are planning to add a second turning lane to the intersection.
“They submitted what they believe to be the final design documents to DOT for the Route 10 Marie Louise Avenue improvements,” Stern said. “This will address the turning lane extension as requested by the governing body.”
The developers also submitted to the township applications to set up a construction office inside the current mall, Stern said. “And, they are putting together a package for demolition permits within the (former) Sports Authority building,” he added.
To Stern, these actions indicate that the developers – while keeping quiet about any commitments they’ve received from retailers interested in Ledgewood Commons – remain confident in the project’s viability.
“The submission of DOT construction drawings is huge commitment towards this project,” said the planner.
Reticence on Tenants
Despite a number of rumors, and Roxbury Councilman Jim Rilee’s assurance that the new mall will include a Starbucks, the developers have not revealed the names of any businesses planning to move into the property when construction is finished next year. The developers did not return several messages seeking comment.
Since November, contractors hired by the developers have been reducing to rubble the 73,000-square-foot building on the 46.6-acre site that last housed a Macy’s. This is being done to improve traffic flow through the mall, according to the developers.
Their plan is to morph the failing mall from one having indoor access to stores to one that, like nearby Roxbury Mall, has only external doors for tenants.
The Barnes & Noble bookstore on the property will also be razed but the bookstore – unlike Macy’s, The Sports Authority, Ruby Tuesday, Delizia Pizza and other businesses formerly at the site – is expected to stay. The new Barnes & Noble will be part of the former Sports Authority building, according to plans.
Other holdouts will be the Ledgewood Walmart, Marshall’s, Ashley Furniture and The Cutting Crew salon. Brenda Morales, who manages the salon, said her store likely will relocate within the property.
“They’re supposed be building another building with smaller storefronts and we will be part of that,” she said on Tuesday.
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