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BAYONNE, NJ-Construction is close to getting started for Bayonne Crossing, a 358,000-sf shopping center, and local officials are getting ready to issue $30 million in bonds relating to the project. The funding would cover costs tied to the site’s infrastructure and the ongoing clean-up of the former ExxonMobil refinery site. Most of the clean-up cost is being paid by ExxonMobil.

According to Nancy Kist, executive director of the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Agency, that group will go before the state’s Local Finance Board this week to try to get approval for the proposed bond issue. According to Kist, neither that agency nor the city will be liable for the debt service on the issue, because part of the payment stream from a Pilot agreement with the project’s developer will be used for that purpose.

That developer is Cameron Bayonne LLC, an affiliate of the East Syracuse, NY-based Cameron Group. The latter is a five-year-old company founded and headed by former Pyramid Cos. executive Thomas Valenti. Cameron picked up approval for its site plan and designated redeveloper status in late 2006. The project has also gotten brownfield development area designation from the New Jersey DEP.

The approved site plan calls for approximately 358,000 sf of retail space on 29 acres of a larger 55-acre redevelopment site. The plan calls for two big-box anchors of 140,000 sf and 90,000 sf respectively, and three mid-sized anchors in the 30,000- to 50,000-sf range, plus a variety of smaller stores and eateries.

While no anchors have been officially announced, Cameron is currently listing Lowe’s Home Improvement, New York Sports Club and Circuit City on its website. Other names that have surfaced include Target and Kohl’s.

Initially, Cameron had announced plans to have initial store openings in Q3 ’08. That target will be pushed back, apparently, with the company hoping to get in the ground in early 2008.

The site is located to the east of Route 440 between E. 22nd St. and New Hook Rd., in this city’s Bayonne Bay District. Once completed, Bayonne Crossing is estimated to generate upwards of 800 jobs, $1.2 million in yearly tax revenue and a projected $3-4 million in urban enterprise zone sales.

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