JACKSON TWP., NJ-This township’s board of adjustment has given preliminary approval for Jackson Commons, a 2.9-million-sf mixed-use project carrying an estimated price tag in the range of $500 million. As reported previously by GlobeSt.com, the developer is composer Mitch Leigh, who’s best known for the score of “Man of LaMancha.”

What Leigh has in mind for the site is close to 2.9 million sf commercial space, combining mostly office and retail space. A 240-key, 67,000-sf hotel is also proposed for the project, which is located near the Six Flags-Great Adventure them park.

Jackson Commons is actually a scaled-back version of an earlier proposal that would have covered the entire 1,000-acre property owned by the composer. That earlier proposal carried a price tag of more than $800 million and would have included more than 5,000 homes.

The preliminary approval will allow Leigh to proceed with road, utility, drainage and other infrastructure work, according to David Eareckson, lead engineer and a spokesman for the project. Jackson Commons still faces a long road to completion, which could take several years, Eareckson concedes. The next step involves stream-encroachment and traffic approvals from both the state and from Ocean County, which could take up to six months.

In addition, Leigh has to get approval on a building-to-building basis for each structure on the site, once tenants have been lined up. To date, no tenants have been specifically lined up, according to Eareckson.

The developer has also balked at suggestions by local officials that a variety of other uses be included in the final site plan. That wish list includes, among other things, recreational uses, a larger open space component than the developer originally had in mind, plus such civic uses as houses of worship and both daycare and senior care centers.

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