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SPRINGFIELD, NJ-Echo Plaza, a 66,000-square-foot shopping center here, took another step toward its upgrade with the signing of No Body Denied Health Club to a 21,500-square-foot lease. Levin Management Corp., the exclusive leasing agent for the property, arranged the deal for owner Larken Associates. Earlier this year, Larken acquired the center along with the adjacent 41,000-square-foot Echo Executive Plaza office building for $16.3 million. A new entity, No Body Denied is opening its first location. It was represented by Joseph D’Agostino of Lance Bram Commercial Brokerage.

“We chose Echo Plaza for our initial location because that area is in dire need of a new health club,” said Ken Carrier, founder and principle of No Body Denied, in a statement. “We plan on expanding quickly with additional clubs in Northern New Jersey, and what better place to brand our name than at Echo Plaza on Route 22. This is the best location I have ever seen for a health club in my 19 years in the fitness industry.” Under way is a renovation program that will entail a new exterior façade and roof, tenant signage, a marquee sign and exterior landscaping.

The center is also situated near the Garden State Parkway in Union County. No Body Denied will occupy space formerly utilized by Big Lots, and will join a tenant roster that currently includes Outback Steakhouse, Sherwin Williams, Echoqua Italian Bistro and Chen’s 22 Chinese restaurant. Echo Plaza is surrounded by a population base of 103,000 with an average household income of $139,943 and a median household income of $99,243.

“Situated on Route 22 in one of New Jersey’s most heavily traveled commercial corridors, Echo Plaza’s location was key to our decision to acquire the property,” says David Gardner, president and CEO of Larken Associates, in a statement. “The acquisition was part of our long-term plan to reposition undervalued assets in the New Jersey marketplace, and No Body Denied is a key element of our plans for this property.”

Levin’s Ethan Goldsmith said that health clubs make ideal anchors because of the retail traffic they generate. “Because this location is in a high-traffic area with solid demographics to begin with, Echo Plaza will be very attractive to national and regional tenants as the repositioning and re-tenanting process continues,” he states.

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