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SOMERVILLE, NJ-Less than two months ago, as reported by GlobeSt.com, local officials finally signed off on the $66-million Somerville Towne Center, a Downtown mixed-use redevelopment project that took several years to come together. Now, the project is being threatened with further delays owing to two lawsuits filed in State Superior Court by the project’s retail anchor, Pathmark Supermarkets.The project is actually a redevelopment of Downtown Somerville Shopping Center, a 25-year-old complex anchored by Pathmark. The redevelopment calls for 136,000 sf of retail space with the grocer as the holdover anchor, along with 73,000 sf of office space, 265 luxury apartments and two parking garages. The developer is JSM at Somerville, an affiliate of the Piscataway-based Edgewood Properties.In the separate suits, Pathmark’s complaints center on the terms of its lease and on the site plan, specifically the parking ratio for the retail portion of the project. The suits, which seek to block Somerville Towne Center as it currently stands, name the developer along with the borough council, the planning board and Somerville Mayor Brian Gallagher.”We conceptually support the redevelopment plan, but not to the extent that it impacts our business during and after construction,” says a spokesman for the Carteret-based supermarket chain. The spokesman declined further comment, citing the pending litigation.”The taxpayers [of Somerville] have supported Pathmark for more than 25 years, and to now have our borough named in a lawsuit as we are about to finally see taxpayer relief is frustrating,” Gallagher says in a written statement. New annual property taxes that would be generated by the finished project are estimated to be in the $2.1-million range.”It is disappointing, and honestly it makes me angry,” Gallagher concludes in his written statement.

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