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WEST WINDSOR, NJ-Madison Marquette used to own the 240,000-square-foot Marketfair shopping center here, and still manages and leases the property for current owner TIAA-CREF. And the Washington, DC-based firm is now overseeing a major makeover of the property, which is considered to be an early example of the so-called lifestyle shopping center genre.

“It’s a great retail destination, and it will soon have an atmosphere that really fits its mix of shops and restaurants,” says Mark Wampler, the center’s general manager. “We feel that the substantial improvement program will validate Marketfair as a top retail destination.”

The upgrade, the cost of which has not been released, will include new flooring and furniture, new lighting schemes, upgraded signage, plantings and paint. The physical upgrade, which is being designed by Michael Graves of Michael Graves and Associates of Princeton and New York, is slated for completion in 2009. The tenant mix is expected to be tweaked a bit through 2009, and the revamp also calls for the addition of a food court in 2010.

Built in 1986–and situated at the intersection of Route 1 and Meadow Rd. in this Princeton-area community–Marketfair recently added upscale children’s boutique Janie and Jack to its tenant mix. That chain joins a tenant roster anchored by Barnes & Noble and United Artists Theatres, supported by Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Smith & Hawkin, White House Black Market and Williams-Sonoma.

Madison Marquette picked up the Marketfair management and leasing assignment in mid-2007, several months after the company and partner Principal Real Estate Investors sold the property to TIAA-CREF for a reported $92 million, or about $383 per square foot. Madison Marquette and PREI had previously acquired the single-story shopping center in late 2003 for $70 million.

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