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PRINCETON, NJ-Construction has started on a project to upgrade Princeton Shopping Center, a 50-year-old, 225,000-sf property on 25 acres a few blocks from this city’s downtown area. The shopping center is owned by George Comfort & Sons of New York City, and the renovation is being designed by Rosen Johnson Architects, also based in New York City.

Princeton Shopping Center is considered an early example of the town center-style retail property. Designed as a “California-style” mall and completed in 1956, the center consists of six one- and two-story buildings arranged around a two-acre rectangular village green-style courtyard. “It’s a haven for area residents and a staple in the community,” says a spokesman for Rosen Johnson.

Working with George Comfort president Peter Duncan and EVP Dana Comfort, Rosen Johnson has designed a renovation plan that includes a general renovation of the buildings and grounds. “Taller, illuminated sign bands conceal rooftop equipment and provide ample space for the merchants’ logos,” says the architect’s spokesman.

The sign bands are being coordinated with tenant signage and directional graphics. Also, the entrance portal on N. Harrison St. is being treated with new lighting and signage. A new vaulted skylight will illuminate a once-dark passageway from the entrance to the central lawn, and perimeter walkways and breezeways between buildings are being upgraded.

A new landscape plan is redefining smaller courtyards, and the central lawn will get new plantings. All site lighting, graphics and seating areas will also get major upgrades. Cost of the renovation has not been released.

After renovations and tenant additions in 1987, 1992, 1997 and 2000, the current makeover does not include any substantial changes to the tenant mix. The property is currently listed with just three vacancies totaling less than 17,000 sf, with asking prices ranging from $33 to $38 per sf. Major tenants include McCaffrey’s Supermarket, Eckerd Drug, New York Sports Clubs and Ace Hardware. Other national tenants among the current roster of 50 include PNC Bank, T-Mobile, the UPS Store, Quiznos Subs and Radio Shack, among others.

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