How Moorestown mall (and most others in NJ) will be reborn (Opinion)
It’s very sad to hear about the struggling of what used to be the epicenter of commerce in New Jersey: The Mall.
On the other hand, life is cyclical like this. And so is the economy and things tend to progress exactly the way they are supposed to. So maybe it’s time to reinvent the Mall.
Here’s what’s happening to Moorestown Mall, and it’s a trend that you will continue to see all over New Jersey. Maybe even all over America.
A mixed-use development is one that combines several types of properties like cinemas, restaurants, apartment buildings, retail spaces, etc., and turns them into what amounts to a small, self-enclosed village.
According to an article on re-nj.com, a Philadelphia-based real estate company announced last week that it has reached an agreement with local officials to build a new development like this on the failed Moorestown Mall property.
It will be, like a lot of new mixed-use developments in New Jersey, a mix of different areas that will in some way benefit the extended community. The plans for this property, along route 38 in Moorestown, include a large hotel and more than 1,000 multi-family apartments, with the requisite affordable housing thrown in there for good measure. Affordable housing, obviously, makes the community happy (or too guilty to oppose it), and gives the developer a sweeter deal.
A similar situation is going on at Monmouth Mall, with new plans finally settled after years of wrangling with Kushner companies whose plan was originally rejected. A new, modified plan for Monmouth Mall includes new retailers, restaurants, a medical facility, a residential community, public space for special programming and events, as well as scenic walkways and bicycle paths.
The centerpiece of the Eatontown property will be a 115,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art medical center. Yup. That’s the industry of the future, especially with socialized medicine afoot. Monmouth‘s new development, called "The Heights of Monmouth“ (which kind of sounds like the title of a Netflix miniseries) will include 700 rental apartments.
“And what about affordable housing?” you may ask. Yup. Affordable housing: Check.
It goes without saying that not everyone in the Moorestown or Eatontown areas are thrilled with the idea of these new developments. Residents worry about traffic problems, construction issues, and population density. But, suffice it to say, there’s going to be a lot of empty land available from failing malls all over New Jersey and to avoid acres of blighted property all over the place, this is a fair solution. We can all look forward to seeing more of these mixed-use developments replacing malls in New Jersey in the near future.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.