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Back in the ’70s, this township’s government ran a competition to find a developer for a proposed super-regional shopping mall. The Hahn Co. of California won the gig, edging the Columbia, MD-based Rouse Co. for the honor. Hahn, now part of TrizecHahn, developed the 900,000-sf Bridgewater Commons Mall in the ’80s, owning and operating it until the company divested itself of its mall portfolio two years ago.

Parts of the larger master plan for the site were a smaller convenience shopping center; a hotel (Marriott now has a 350-key property under construction); and an office component. Hines, the Texas-based development company, will take care of that with a 600,000-sf class A office campus comprised of twin eight-story towers. Hines has also signed the Insignia/ESG team of Sam Buckley, Patrick Murphy and James Postell to head the leasing campaign.

Bridgewater Crossing, as it will be called, will be sited on Commons Way, directly adjacent to the mall and the new Marriott. Situated at the confluence of I-78, I-287, Route 22 and Route 202/206, its corporate neighbors include Johnson & Johnson, Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Chubb Insurance, Brother International, Lucent and AT&T.

“Big blocks of space are scarce in this market, and this project will provide the answer for some large users,” according to Murphy. “This isn’t your everyday real estate opportunity.”

Hines, a relative newcomer to the New Jersey market, is more than happy to be here. Specifically, “we feel that the project’s emphasis on technologically advanced systems will be appealing to many companies,” adds Hines vice president Jeff Spiritos.

The announcement follows several years of delay in getting the office component done. There has been some resistance from local groups concerned about traffic volume added to that already generated by Bridgewater Commons and its companion convenience center. In any case, the target date for occupancy of Bridgewater Crossing is the last quarter of 2001, according to Spiritos.

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