PRINCETON, NJ-Ruth’s Chris Steak House has agreed to become part of the retail mix at the mixed-use Princeton Forrestal Village here, has learned. The Heathrow, FL-based eatery chain will design and build what company officials term “a New Orleans-style building” totaling 12,000 sf on a freestanding pad site. Terms of the agreement with owner Gale Real Estate Services were not disclosed.

Princeton Forrestal Village is an approximately 770,000-sf mixed-use property, about one-third of which is retail. That retail portion is currently undergoing a $40-million redevelopment and repositioning that is turning its former largely outlet mix into a more upscale variety.

“The area has a rapidly growing and wealthy residential segment, plus a huge and increasing corporate sector,” Matthew Harding, president and COO of the North Plainfield, NJ-based Levin Management Corp., leasing and management agents for the retail portion of Princeton Forrestal Village, tells “There are 140,000 executives and white collar workers within seven miles. Ruth’s Chris is exactly the right kind of tenant.”

“This is an important and strategic addition for the property,” says Fred Knapp, VP of property management and asset manager for Gale Real Estate Services of Roseland, NJ, a subsidiary of Mack-Cali Realty Corp. “Adding a nationally known restaurant like this as an anchor tenant helps keep the positive momentum going.”

In the Ruth’s Chris deal, Levin’s Ethan Goldsmith represented landlord Gale Real Estate Services, and Glen Beyer of Metro Commercial represented the eatery chain.

The Ruth’s Chris announcement caps a week in which one of the property’s retail anchor tenants officially cut the ribbon. Can Do Fitness and its affiliate Koi Spa have just opened for business, occupying 63,000 sf of the center’s former food court and anchoring the west end of the Village’s core retail street.

“Similar to a supermarket anchor in terms of its traffic draw, Can Do is expected to attract upscale professionals and local residents,” Knapp says. “The physical redesign of the center and leasing efforts have been carefully coordinated to achieve a striking new image.”

“This opening is a much-anticipated addition,” Harding says.

Several other new retail tenants have either opened recently or are set to do so. Among them are Salt Creek Grille, home furnishing retailer Luxe Home Company, wedding retailer Exquisite Bride, jeweler Silver Shop and Tre Piani Restaurant’s new Tre Bar expansion.

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