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WEST WINDSOR, NJ-TIAA-CREF has hired Madison Marquette to manage and lease two Princeton-area shopping centers, including a property the latter owned until recently. The two assignments add up to a total of 447,000 sf of space, and both properties are in line for upgrades.

The larger of the two properties is MarketFair Shopping Center, a 240,000-sf complex recognized by many in the industry as an early iteration of the modern lifestyle center. Built in 1986, MarketFair is currently anchored by Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, Anthropologie, Smith & Hawken and Barnes & Noble. Other tenants added more recently include P.F. Chang’s, which operates on a pad site, Huserad Furniture and Acorn.

MarketFair is also the property in the assignment that was once owned by Madison Marquette. The Washington, DC-based firm teamed up with Principal Real Estate Investors to acquire the asset in late 2003 for a reported $70 million, and subsequently sold the single-story structure to TIAA-CREF this past fall for $92 million, or approximately $383 per sf.

“While it remains a strong retail destination, we believe there is significant opportunity to strengthen its position in the market through a strategic remerchandising program,” says John-David Franklin, vice president of leasing for Madison Marquette. “Future leasing efforts will focus on enhancing the merchandising mix by potentially adding more fashion or other types of retailers.”

The second property in the assignment is Plainsboro Plaza, a 207,000-sf open-air center in nearby Plainsboro. The current anchor is a Superfresh market, and other tenants include Ace Hardware, Peebles, PNC Bank, New York Sports Club and a CVS pharmacy.

“Plainsboro Plaza’s retail offerings are no longer meeting the needs of the Plainsboro community,” Franklin says. “We are planning a significant remerchandising program that will greatly enhance the center’s appeal to the many nearby residents and office workers. Plainsboro is an increasingly affluent and growing community.”

“We look forward to working to maximize the value of our investment in both of these properties,” says Mark Wood, managing direct, real estate asset management for TIAA-CREF. “We’re confident we will add long-term value for our clients.”

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