Specifically, AvalonBay will develop 400 high-end rentalapartments in four buildings as part of phase one of the project,or more than half of its 788-unit residential component. For-saleresidential development will come in later phases.

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Carrying a reported price tag of $500 million, Wesmont Stationwill also include 130,000 sf of retail and office space, a publicsquare, community center, a new middle school, athletic fields andother recreational facilities, and a new commuter train station onNJ Transit's Bergen Line. The Lakewood, NJ-based Somerset hadpicked up finalsite plan approval in the summer of 2006.

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"With Wesmont Station, we're looking to create an entirely newneighborhood based on smart growth principles and sustainability,"Ralph Zucker, Somerset's president, tells GlobeSt.com. "The sheerscale of it requires a team of experienced companies to achieve thegoals we've set. AvalonBay is one of the industry's mostaccomplished and well-regarded companies."

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AvalonBay VP Ron Ladell, says in a statement that "AvalonBaybelieves strongly in the driving principles behind Wesmont Stationand actively pursues transit-oriented, mixed-use developmentopportunities of this caliber because we know that this type ofdesign will ensure the long-term value of the residences we build,regardless of market cycles." The Alexandria, VA-based company hasits New Jersey offices in Woodbridge.

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Actual construction for phase one is slated to start in early2009, with occupancy a year later. The train station is scheduledto be under construction in early 2009 as well. The 70-acre site ispart of a former Curtiss-Wright industrial complex once used tomake and test jet engines, but more recently utilized asmulti-tenant W/D space. The Wesmont Station site itself had been inuse as a parking lot for the two-million-sf complex.

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