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LIVINGSTON, NJ-The Kushner Cos., based in Florham Park, NJ, has kicked off a $20 million rehabilitation and reconstruction project for the former Travelodge Hotel located at 550 W. Mount Pleasant Ave. here. Partnering with the Scharf and Barad families, which own and operate a number of hotel properties throughout the tri-state region, Kushner plans to turn the property into an upscale hotel and conference center. Completion of the makeover is slated for next June.

“This investment is a very good opportunity for us to buy and reposition an underutilized asset,” according to Kushner managing partner Jeff Freireich. “The strong corporate presence in the immediate area, as well as the lack of other hotel facilities, should create strong market demand for the hotel.”

The plan is to demolish and reface most of the building’s interior and exterior. When all is said and done, the two- and three-story structure, to be called The Grande at Livingston, will total 194 luxury guest rooms, an 8,000-sf banquet facility, a business and conference center, restaurants, a fitness center, a pool and other amenities, according to Freireich. The parking area and the property’s landscaping are also being re-designed.

“The renovation project will introduce a true class A facility that will benefit businesses and area residents alike,” according to Freireich.

Kushner currently owns and manages more than 22,000 apartment units, as well as over three million sf of office, industrial and retail space from Massachusetts to Maryland, and in Florida. It has ownership interests in more than six million sf of commercial and industrial property.

“We are currently planning to expand our portfolio into the hotel sector,” Freireich concludes. “We will use our in-house capabilities and partner with the most respected hotel operators to accomplish this.”

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