BERKELEY – A new supermarket is one of the buildings expected to be built on the former Beachwood Mall site, along with fast food and retail.
The Beachwood Mall is the large property on the northern edge of Berkeley. It borders Beachwood, but is actually in Berkeley. After the last tenants were kicked out, it remained dormant for years, rotting and dangerous.
M&M Realty Partners was named the redeveloper, a venture of two developers, Edgewood Properties and JMP Holdings. They’ve been bringing their plans before the town. They are still negotiating with potential renters, so there are no specific tenants named yet, Business Administrator John Camera said.
Phase One, which could begin this spring, includes two buildings set at 2,340 and 3,550 square feet, as well as 14,400 square foot for retail/restaurant.
Phase Two includes 2,340 square feet for fast food, 83,000 square feet for the supermarket, and two retail spots set at 135,000 and 44,124 square feet.
This stretch of Route 9 used to have a Foodtown anchoring the Bayville Commons. This is the shopping center that has Bubbakoo’s Burritos and M&T Bank in an anchor close to the street.
Then, the ShopRite opened south of them in Berkeley Plaza. This caused the Foodtown to close. It was replaced by another food store, but that was short-lived.
The difficulty in redeveloping the Beachwood Mall location is that it is expensive to clean up the land. It is not just the former mall property, but the former asphalt plant behind it. Estimates for the clean-up have been in the tens of millions – so high that many developers passed on it.
The township designated this as a redevelopment area, which means certain incentives would be given to the right builder. Recently, a number of extra uses were added, including warehouses, recreational, a gas station, and solar fields. This doesn’t mean that any of those things are definitely coming here, it’s just that the options were thrown open to attract more tenants.
Years ago, the redeveloper intended on making a mix of commercial, office/professional, and residential buildings. They had planned big box spots, pad sites, and a downtown walkable feel.
However, the economy is far different now, officials said, and big box stores are no longer able to anchor sites.