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STRATFORD, CT-BJ’s Wholesale Club, which is currently building a new store in Manchester, CT, has signed a long-term triple net lease with Urstadt Biddle Properties Inc. of Greenwich, to build a new 107,000-sf store at The Dock Shopping Center here. The new BJ’s store will be built at the site of a former Bradlees department store.

The 99,000-sf Bradlees store was closed in 2001. Demolition of that property will begin in the spring, with the opening of the new BJ’s Wholesale Club expected sometime this fall.

James Aries VP of leasing and acquisitions for Urstadt Biddle and Jack Dowling, real estate manager for the Natick, MA-based retailer, handled the lease negotiations.

Once BJ’s takes occupancy of its new Stratford store, the 270,000-sf Dock Shopping Center will be fully leased.

Commenting on the deal, Willing Biddle, president of Urstadt Biddle, says “Since our purchase of the property in 2005, we have been working to bring the right kind of retail anchor to fill the vacancy left by Bradlees in 2001. BJ’s commitment to build a warehouse club among existing retailers such as Staples, Petco, and KB Toys is tremendous news for the property.” Other tenants at the property include Citibank, Subway Sandwiches and I’ll Take Manhattan Deli.

Urstadt Biddle will finance most of the $8-million development cost of the project. BJ’s will be in charge of the construction project, however, Biddle says.

In 2006, Urstadt Biddle converted a former office building on the property to a Redfin restaurant. It also brought in James Gardella of Norwalk Cove Marina to operate the 192-slip marina at the property.

BJ’s Wholesale Club is putting the finishing touches on a new 120,000-sf store in Manchester that should open in late May or early June, Dowling says.

He adds that retailer was drawn to the Stratford area due to its strong retail demographics. Dowling notes that the Stratford store will fill a hole in its retail operations in the Nutmeg State. He admits the retailer continues to look for opportunities in the Danbury and Stamford markets, where at present it has no presence.

BJ’s in late 2006 opened a store in Wallingford. Its other existing locations are in Derby, Fairfield, North Haven, Torrington, Waterbury, Waterford, West Hartford and Willimantic.

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