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SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ-ARC Properties Inc. is set to start construction on Middlesex Crossroads, a 58,000-sf shopping center here. The project has been in the works for five years pending the sale of the project’s eight-acre site. That deal had been held up due to long-delayed zoning approvals and related issues.

Verizon, the seller, was represented by Seena Stein, a principal in Newmark Real Estate of NJ’s Rutherford office. The Clifton-based ARC was repped by the Edison-based Bussel Realty Corp. The sale price of the eight acres was $3.1 million.

According to Stein, who has represented Verizon in past transactions, the time frame of the deal was dictated “by the approval process in shifting the zoning from industrial to retail, and in obtaining the required subdivision to separate the eight acres from a 25-acre parcel Verizon owns. We also had to work around an access problem involving land the town had taken for a U-turn.”

The process was also delayed by the decision of what to do with the Verizon training center that occupies most of the original 25-acre site. “We were going to move them completely,” Stein tells GlobeSt.com. “Retailers wanted the whole site. But after looking at it carefully, they decided not to move. It turned out it wasn’t going to be feasible.”

During that period, ARC was able to get the project almost 97% preleased, according to officials of the company, which specializes in the development and acquisition of credit lease properties. The anchor tenant will be a 45,000-sf L.A. Fitness club and others signed on at Middlesex Crossroads are a 6,500-sf Red Robin restaurant, a 3,200-sf Baja Fresh Mexican Grill and a 1,500-sf Quizno’s Subs. The leasing activity leaves just 1,800 sf to be filled to complete the tenant roster.

The project’s eight-acre site is situated on Hadley Road just off Interstate 287 in Middlesex County. Middlesex Crossroads will be located just across from the existing Middlesex Mall, and adjacent or nearby freestanding retailers include Wal-Mart, a ShopRite supermarket, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Staples. ARC is currently projecting a fall 2005 occupancy for the asset. “The site is located along a major retail thoroughfare, and that made up for the effort to get approvals,” Stein says.

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