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MANAHAWKIN, NJ-Joint venture partners the Woodmont Co. and ORIX Real Estate Equities have completed the acquisition of a 21-acre site in the Manahawkin section of Stafford Twp., and have started construction of a 145,000-sf shopping center. Manahawkin Commons, as the property will be called, is scheduled for completion in the spring of next year.

“Final acquisition of the land from the multiple owners was the last hurdle in this transaction,” according to Carol Bracken, general counsel and president of the Woodmont Co.’s Investment Services division. “The process gave us more time to secure the additional leases that brought pre-leasing of the center up to the 75% mark.

“At this point, one junior anchor space and about 15,000 sf of local retail space are still available,” Bracken continues. “We think that the pre-leasing is indicative of the strong demand here.”

Retailers who have already signed on at Manahawkin Commons include T. J. Maxx ‘n More, office supply retailer Staples, imported home good retailer Pier 1, plus Atlantic Books, TGI Friday’s restaurant and home crafts retailer Michael’s All of the leases were negotiated by Maria A. Bunstine, a Woodmont investment partner.

“The tenant profile is indicative of the more upscale demographic that we expect the shopping center to draw,” according to Bunstine. She adds that Woodmont will team up with Retail Realty of New Jersey to provide ongoing leasing services for the center.

The property is located just off the Garden State Parkway in Ocean County, the Garden State’s fastest growing county. It’s also near Long Beach Island, one of the Jersey Shore’s most popular oceanfront communities. Bunstine feels the location will make the shopping complex “a preferred shopping location for this community.”

Woodmont is based in Fort Worth, TX, and ORIX in Chicago. Both companies have regional offices in New York City.

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