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WILLINGBORO, NJ-Construction is just underway on Willingboro Town Center, a mixed-use development being built on the site of the circa 1950 Willingboro Plaza, a strip shopping center that had such tenants as Woolworth’s and a Fox Movie Theater, and several adjacent parcels. Work began last week on the site’s infrastructure, which is being built by Eagle Construction Services. The infrastructure project is expected to take about four months to complete.

Willingboro Town Center is being developed as a partnership between the township and Newark-based ReNEWal Realty. Willingboro is a community of about 40,000 people located on the Delaware River about halfway between Trenton and Camden in South Jersey. The infrastructure work is being carried out thanks to a grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as a contribution from ReNEWal.

What the partners plan to develop is a mixed-use development of office (Merck-Medco has already committed), residential and about 150,000-sf of retail space. Plans also call for a day care center, a town library and a branch campus of Burlington County College, as well as a substantial amount of open space including a village green.

“The Town Center will accomplish a wholly revitalized community and commercial district,” according to Willingboro Mayor Eddie Campbell. Adds ReNEWal Realty president Robert Stang, “this is a milestone in the redevelopment of the Route 130 corridor.”

Willingboro dates back to the late 17th century, and was largely an agricultural community until the 1950s when, in the midst of the post-war boom, the Levitt Co. starting building the first of more than 11,000 houses. Levitt also built the Willingboro Plaza.

The township acquired the plaza site three years ago and entered into a partnership with ReNEWal to redevelop it. The township recently deeded the ownership of several lots within the site to ReNEWal. Established just four years ago, ReNEWal’s forte is acquiring, remediating and redeveloping brownfield sites.

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