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OCEAN TWP., NJ-The anticipated rebirth of the long-suffering Seaview Square regional shopping center in this Jersey shore community took a step closer to reality with the closing of its acquisition by Starwood Heller from Atlanta-based Equitable Real Estate Investment Management. “We are currently negotiating with Target and Lowe’s Home Center to lease 150,000-sf buildings that will be built for them,” according to principal Tod Heller. “And we have had interest from several other ‘big-box’ retailers.”

The Edgewater, NJ-based Starwood plans to retain the property’s two active anchors, Sears and Value City, as freestanding buildings, but raze most of the rest of the 800,000-sf center, which is nearly devoid of smaller in-line tenants. Besides the main mall structure, vacant Stern’s department store and movie theater buildings will also bite the dust. From the rubble will rise a one million-sf power center. (Power centers are defined within the shopping center industry as several freestanding “category-killers,” including discount department stores, off-price outlets, “mega” stores like Toys ‘R’ Us and Home Depot and warehouse clubs.)

“Seaview Square has gone through tough times trying to compete with nearby and much larger Monmouth and Freehold Raceway Malls,” says Ocean Twp. Mayor Terrance Weldon, who has been involved with various proposals to revive the property over the last six years. “We needed something dramatic and innovative to attract new retailers to the site, and we finally found it. They have the wherewithal and ability to redevelop the property with an imaginative reuse plan.”

“Seaview Square’s re-emergence as a power center will appeal to a different market than Monmouth Mall or Freehold Raceway Mall,” Heller asserts. “With its strategic location in Monmouth County, one of New Jersey’s fastest-growing areas near the shore, it is very promising as a successful operation.”

Starwood Heller is currently involved in several retail, office and residential projects in such New Jersey communities as Lyndhurst, Brick, Riverdale, Woodcliff Lake, Hoboken and its hometown of Edgewater.

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