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STAFFORD TWP.-Costco had been mentioned as an anchor tenant for the retail portion of the Walters Group’s 370-acre mixed-use Stafford Park redevelopment here, and now it’s official. The Issaquah, WA-based warehouse retailer has signed a deal to co-anchor the project, joining the previously signed Target as a centerpiece tenant. Like Target, the agreement calls for Costco to buy its store site from the Barnegat-based Walters. Further details were not released.

“Costco’s contract signing is another important milestone in a project that has seen so many in its relatively young life,” says Joseph DelDuca, partner and general counsel of Walters. “The signing of the memorandum of agreement with the Pinelands Commission stands out, as does the day in December when we began excavation in preparation for capping the landfill that will be the site of the complex.”

As reported by GlobeSt.com, Walters held its official groundbreaking for Stafford Park in May, capping a three-year approval and permitting process that included municipal and county agencies and the Pinelands Commission, the state agency that oversees development in the region. Much of the site consists of former landfills in various stages of remediation, and the project calls for relocating several Ocean County facilities.

Details and a timeline for Costco haven’t been released, but the store is expected to be in the 150,000-sf range. Target, which has a projected opening date of summer 2008, will open first, and a third “big-box” tenant will be added in the near future, according to DelDuca. Walters is said to be close to signing leases with Best Buy, Dick’s and PetSmart as three of the five projected mid-sized retailers, DelDuca says. A dozen boutiques and restaurants are slated to round out a retail package projected in the 650,000-sf range. Exclusive leasing agent for the retail is Metro Commercial Real Estate.

As reported by GlobeSt.com, the retail component will be the commercial centerpiece of a larger mixed-use development that will include 667 residential units, 565 of them age-restricted and 112 affordable. Also part of the plan are 25,000 sf of office space and a recreational component that will include a 66,000-sf twin skating rink.

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