The former ITC Center Crossing South retail center in Morris County has a recently updated look – and improved outlook – that current ownership hopes will attract investors.
Black Lion recently announced listing trophy shopping complex The Gardens, located at 10-50 International Drive in South Flanders, for sale with an asking price of $86 million.
With anchors including Lowes, Michael’s, TJ Maxx, HomeGoods and Ross, the complex spans 378,000 square feet and is being marketed for sale at 98% occupancy, according to Black Lion.
The listing is the largest asset brought to market to-date from the real estate investment and development firm led by Robert Rivani.
“We saw the potential of this prime asset and took a big risk to acquire the struggling property that was on track to lose some of its biggest tenants,” Rivani said in a statement. “Black Lion incorporated our strategic and out-of-the-box flair to renovate the plaza and brought it near full occupancy. We attracted an impressive roster of long-term tenants and increased the value by 80% in record time.”
Since then, the site received several million dollars in upgrades, according to Black Lion, including to the façade, roofs, landscaping, lighting and exterior florals, helping it to secure notable retailers, including the aforementioned HomeGoods and Ross as well as Boot Barn, Fitness Factory, Sketchers, Chipotle and Panda Express.
The listing for The Gardens is held by President and Principal Danielle Brunelli and Investment Sales Specialist and Principal Mario Brunelli with R.J. Brunelli & Co. That Old Bridge-based firm not only negotiated the sale to Black Lion, but was retained following that transaction to continue as exclusive leasing agent at the nearly 50-acre property.
Located between Interstate 80 and Routes 206 and 46, Black Lion says the center attracts shoppers from Roxbury, Ledgewood, Chester, Hackettstown, Netcong, Mount Arlington, Dover and Randolph.
According to data from Placer.ai, the center got more than 306,000 visits in August 2023.
Since its inception, Black Lion says it has transacted more than $600 million in deals nationwide. In addition to New Jersey, the company has purchased, improved and resold retail shopping centers in California, Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin and Florida.
Fun City Adventure Park, an indoor family entertainment brand, plans to open its second location in New Jersey.
The New England-based chain signed on to lease a 36,500-square-foot anchor position formerly held by Dick’s Sporting Goods at Union Lake Crossing – a 393,000-square-foot shopping center in Millville – and is expected to open mid-2023, according to property owner Irgang Group.
Among other features, the indoor park is slated to include trampoline courts, a ninja course, a ropes course, a zipline, dodgeball, basketball, bumper ball, a foam pit, playground and arcade.
After making its Garden State debut over the summer in Blackwood, Nick Zhang, the company’s general manager said, “We look forward to bringing our diverse blend of recreational activities to the greater Millville-Vineland market.”
“Union Lake Crossing’s strong tenant mix, easy access and wide geographic draw made it a logical spot for our second New Jersey location,” Zhang commented.
Irgang Group CEO Mark Irgang said, “Fun City adds a new dimension that should drive more traffic to our existing tenants, lengthen the time of shopper visits and bolster Union Lake’s appeal to new tenants – including restaurants and other complimentary uses.”
Fun City was represented on the lease by Don Mace, vice president at Keypoint Partners, while Union Lake was represented by a Metro Commercial team led by Executive Vice President and Principal Joseph Dougherty.
The company currently operates 20 locations across seven states extending from Maine to New Jersey. Additionally, Fun City has 13 more sites under construction or with signed leases, including initial locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Illinois and Kansas.
Fun City joins a lineup of tenants at Union Lake Crossing that includes ShopRite, Kohl’s, Target, Ross, Dress For Less, PetSmart, Staples, Boot Barn, Famous Footwear, Party City and Five Below.
The center also has several fast casual dining options, such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Sonic.
In a separate development, Irgang Group, a Nyack, N.Y.-based real estate investment and management firm that acquired Union Lake Crossing in November 2021, announced it appointed R.J. Brunelli & Co. LLC as exclusive leasing agent for the 43.39-acre site.
The real estate brokerage is now offering 10 spaces at the center, ranging from 1,945 square feet to 15,000 square feet, including a pad site and endcap unit that each have potential for a drive-thru.
“These remaining spaces present tremendous opportunities for tenants to open in a high-traffic, high-visibility power center that attracted over 4.5 million visitors in the last 12-months,” said Mario Brunelli, vice president and principal of the brokerage. “We are already in discussions with a number of prospects.”
Targeted categories include quick-serve and full-service restaurants; home improvement, home décor, women’s apparel and bedding retailers; as well as a gym/health club and chiropractor, according to R.J. Brunelli.
An area representative is looking to roll out double-digit VIO Med Spa franchise locations in central and southern New Jersey and the Philadelphia market, with R.J. Brunelli enlisted to serve as exclusive real estate broker.
The Old Bridge-based firm announced the appointment Nov. 1, which is expected to result in the launch of 16 locations across the target regions over the next five years.
According to the firm, area representative Elio Vecchiarelli of Red Bank has exclusive rights to the region south of Interstate 287 in New Jersey as well as neighboring Philadelphia. Further details regarding the specific locations of the spas were unavailable.
R.J. Brunelli said Vecchiarelli plans to operate multiple VIO Med Spa locations while recruiting franchisees to develop additional spas across the territory. VIO seeks high-exposure locations with 1,700 square feet to 3,000 square feet and at least 22 feet of frontage in prominent shopping centers located in upper income trade areas.
According to R.J. Brunelli President and Principal Danielle Brunelli, preferred venues include lifestyle centers or a trade area’s strongest power center.
“I am excited to represent VIO Med Spa in central and southern New Jersey and Philadelphia, as this is a fairly new concept for the retail landscape in our region,” Brunelli said in a statement. “With more and more women and men spending money on treatments that make them look and feel younger, med spa services should be offered in convenient, easily accessible and highly trafficked locations.
“As a 41-year-old woman, I have no shame in saying I recently went for my ‘Birthday Botox’ and woke up feeling fabulous this morning,” Brunelli continued. “I look forward to working with Elio and his franchisees to introduce VIO’s highly professional concept to consumers in our markets.”
Under a separate partnership, the brand is expected to make its New Jersey debut soon in Paramus at the Bergen Town Center. Additionally, Vecchiarelli has plans to open a Monmouth County location in partnership with Suzanne Moore.
“We have an aggressive strategic growth plan to introduce the VIO brand to major trade areas throughout our region,” Vecchiarelli said.
According to his LinkedIn page, Vecchiarelli has been a European Wax Center franchise owner since 2011 and is managing member at Blue Lion Insurance Advisors LLC.
VIO Med Spa was founded in Ohio in 2017. The all-inclusive spa offers customers cutting-edge technologies and therapies from the wellness and aesthetics industry, such as facials, injectables and skincare through its 15 open spas located across six states. R.J. Brunelli said the company expects 50 additional spas to launch by the end of 2023, with a total of 170 committed nationwide.
R.J. Brunelli serves as exclusive tenant representative for more than 20 retail, restaurant and service chains across counties in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania for brands including Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, Gregory’s Coffee, European Wax Center, Asian Food Market, New Jersey Spine and Wellness and Bridgestone.
R.J. Brunelli recently completed six leases for retail sites across the Garden State for recognizable brands including Dollar Tree, European Wax Center and AT&T.
In the northern part of the state, national discount retail chain Dollar Tree signed for a 11,642-square-foot endcap unit at The Shoppes in Parsippany in a former Retro Fitness space. The store is set to open at the 54,700-square-foot center located at 1470 Route 46 W. in the second quarter of 2022, R.J. Brunelli said.
President and Principal Danielle Brunelli and Senior Sales Associate Pete Nicholson represented Dollar Tree; the landlord was represented by Darrin Hiban of Tri State Commercial Inc.
The Old Bridge-based firm is the state’s exclusive leasing representative for Dollar Tree.
At The Promenade in Summit, Senior Sales Associate John Lenaz secured two street-front leases.
Envy Lash Studio recently opened its second location – occupying 1,202 square feet – at the mixed-use property, which includes 15,600 square feet of retail space along with 22 apartments overhead. Meanwhile, The Shape of You spa expects to open its doors in March 2022 in a 1,257-square-foot space at the property.
R.J. Brunelli, which is exclusive broker for retail space at The Promenade, also represented both tenants in the agreements.
Elsewhere, Brunelli signed two new leases for European Wax Center franchisees, for which the firm is exclusive leasing representative in the state.
Located at the Hillsborough Promenade on Route 206 in its namesake city, European Wax Center is expected to open its 1,984-square-foot inline space in June 2022 at the Kohl’s, Weis Markets, Lowe’s and Home Goods-anchored site.
Shane Wierks of Jeffery Realty represented Hillsborough Promenade.
Further south in Glassboro, a third quarter opening is anticipated for European Wax Center at Collegetown Shopping Center. There, the brand signed for a 1,672-square-foot endcap space in a pad site building.
Less than a mile from Rowan University, the 248,000-square-foot center is anchored by Lidl, Ross and Esporta Fitness. Valerie Pettine of Metro Commercial represented Collegetown Shopping Center.
Finally, the firm said it signed AT&T for a 3,726-square-foot endcap unit at 1882 Hooper Ave. in Toms River. R.J. Brunelli serves as exclusive broker for the new, 12,600-square-foot center being developed by March Construction.
“As construction on the building moves forward, we currently have several prospects interested in the remaining 7,100 square feet of inline space,” said Vice President and Principal Mario Brunelli, who represented the landlord on both the AT&T and Pizza Hut leases.
Pizza Hut will occupy the site’s other endcap; both it and AT&T anticipate summer openings. Jack Kahn Realty represented AT&T on its lease.
On Jan. 4, Old Bridge-based R.J. Brunelli & Co. LLC announced it brokered the sale of Morris County’s ITC Crossing South Shopping Center in December.
According to the announcement, Black Lion Investment Group purchased the 373,612-square-foot Mount Olive property. R.J. Brunelli represented a group of 26 tenants-in-common property co-owners in the transaction.
The firm also said it was retained by Black Lion, a commercial real estate firm led by 31-year-old industry entrepreneur Robert Rivani, to continue as exclusive leasing agent at the 46.72-acre property located at 10-50 International Drive S.
“We are beyond enthusiastic about the potential for growth at ITC Crossing South,” said Rivani, president of Black Lion, in a statement. “In true Black Lion style, we are going to add tremendous value for our current and future tenants by investing in a full scale renovation that has never been seen before in this trade area.”
ITC Crossing South is anchored by Lowe’s, TJ Maxx, Michael’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, PetSmart and Old Navy, and shadow-anchored by Walmart.
According to R.J. Brunelli President and Principal Danielle Brunelli, the firm is in negotiations to bring a national retailer to the center’s remaining big-box space, a former Babies R Us store totaling nearly 38,000 square feet. In November, the firm announced it completed a lease with Rita’s Ice at the property, one of several over the past year.
“At a time when a number of power centers are still struggling to back-fill vacancies arising from the wave of retail bankruptcies in 2019 and 2020 and the pandemic, the current 88%-leased rate at ITC Crossing South testifies to the quality of this real estate and R.J. Brunelli’s ongoing efforts to keep our tenant mix in tune with the needs of this market,” said Carol Scott, managing director of Los Angeles-based National Asset Services, which had served as asset manager for the center’s former owners. “These factors clearly contributed to the multiple offers we received for this property.”
R.J. Brunelli Vice President-Investment Sales/Principal Mario Brunelli was the sales agent on the transaction, Danielle Brunelli was the listing agent.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story indicated that when ITC Crossing South sold in 2017 the purchase prices was $5.8 million. That was incorrect; ITC Crossing North in Mount Olive was sold for $5.8 million in 2017. The article was updated at 6:51 a.m. EST on Jan. 7, 20222.
Old Bridge-based R.J. Brunelli & Co. announced a number of recently completed deals on Nov. 22, including a pair of 1031 Like-Kind Exchange property sales and several retail leases.
Mario Brunelli, vice president of investment sales and principal of the brokerage, handled the property sales: one in East Brunswick and the other in East Orange.
In East Brunswick, he represented WOW Plaza III LLC, the property owner, in selling a 25,000-square-foot freestanding building to KHC Development Inc. of New York for $4.93 million at a 7.6% cap rate.
Jersey Strong fitness center has occupied the space for more than 10 years, according to Mario Brunelli, who also represented the tenant on its new long-term lease to remain at the site at 762 Route 18.
R.J. Brunelli is the exclusive leasing representative for Jersey Strong in the state.
In Essex County, Mario Brunelli represented East Orange Retail Holdings LLC in its $2.9 million sale, at a 7.4% cap rate, of a 12,682-square-foot Dollar Tree Building. Real estate investor Arie Wilensky acquired the property.
Dollar Tree has been a tenant at 325 Central Ave. for six years, the firm said, and will continue to operate at the site.
“Both sales were executed as 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges, under which the sellers immediately use the proceeds to acquire other properties,” Mario Brunelli said in a statement. “These tax-advantaged transactions have fueled the tremendous upsurge we’ve been seeing in commercial property sales.”
Also in East Brunswick, Senior Sales Associate John Lenaz leased a 1,460-square-foot space near Route 18 to a nationwide staffing company. He represented both the tenant and the landlord.
With clients including Williams Sonoma, Simos Insourcing Solutions joins a 13,500-square-foot strip at 85 Main St. that also features a 7-Eleven, among other local tenants.
R.J. Brunelli is the exclusive leasing agent for the site.
Sales Associate Peter Miller also recorded a new lease, which will see Performance Strength Academy expand its footprint to 13,852 square feet in the Yardville section of Hamilton.
Under an earlier deal brokered by Miller, the fitness facility opened at the Dover Park Plaza property at 3 Sunnybrae Blvd. in an 10,490-square-foot inline space. It’s addition of an adjoining 3,362-square-foot space at the plaza – where R.J. Brunelli serves as exclusive broker – is anticipated to open in the second quarter of 2022.
In Morris and Somerset counties, firm President and Principal Danielle Brunelli completed leases for Rita’s Ice and a European Wax Center franchisee.
She represented the landlord in the 1,973-square-foot lease for Rita’s, which will bring the chilly treat to an inline spot at the ITC Crossing South Shopping Center in Flanders, where R.J. Brunelli is the exclusive leasing agent, for an expected first quarter 2022 opening.
Located near the intersection of Routes 46 and 80, the 514,903-square-foot center is anchored by Lowe’s, TJ Maxx, Michael’s and Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Meanwhile, European Wax Center signed for a 1,419-square-foot space at Riverwalk Village in Basking Ridge.
Brian Silvert of Silert Realty represented the landlord in the transaction, which expects to see the store open at the 50,000-square-foot lifestyle center at 665 Martinsville Road in the first quarter of 2022.
According to the firm, R.J. Brunelli serves as exclusive broker for 31 retail properties with a combined gross leasable area in excess of 2 million square feet, with five properties for sale. It also serves as exclusive or preferred tenant representative for 22 retail, restaurant and service chains including Dollar Tree, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, My CBD Organics, Asian Food Markets and New Jersey Spine and Wellness.
R.J. Brunelli & Co. said Sept. 29 that it recently completed a property sale, as well as a series of retail leases, that are delivering Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, multiple European Wax Centers, Crumbl Cookies, Pizza Hut and several independent retailers to sites throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Acting on behalf of property owner The Racquet Place LLP, the Old Bridge-based retail real estate brokerage sold a 3.5-acre site housing the 27,000-square-foot former NY Sports Club building in Old Bridge to a private investor. Located at 450 Highway 34, the site is situated across from the Marketplace at Matawan, whose major tenants include Dollar Tree and Buy Rite Liquor. R.J. Brunelli CEO and Principal Ron DeLuca and Sales Associate Alexis Fiori represented the seller, while the buyer was represented by Eddie Mardakhaev of Key Commercial Realty in Hillside.
In Philadelphia, R.J. Brunelli Senior Sales Associate Pete Nicholson signed another location for Popeyes, this time for a new, 2,400-square-foot freestanding pad building at the Fishtown Shopping Center at 2427 Aramingo Ave. The chain expects to open in September 2022 at the 154,000-square-foot property (formerly known as Richmond Village), which is in the final lease-up following an extensive redevelopment. Starbucks occupies one of the other new pad sites at the center, which is anchored by an IGA supermarket, Pep Boys, Dollar Tree and Dollar General.
Nicholson represented Popeyes franchisee PN Restaurants on the Philadelphia transaction and is currently seeking additional sites for the operator in Pennsylvania. He previously represented PN—which operates Popeyes locations from Virginia to Massachusetts–on the purchase of sites in Phillipsburg and also Williamsport, Pa.
Back in New Jersey, R.J. Brunelli brokered four leases for European Wax Center in different parts of the state in its capacity as a preferred real estate representative for the franchise chain.
In Central Jersey, President and Principal Danielle Brunelli signed the chain for a 1,760-square-foot location at East Windsor Village, a 248,727-square-foot center at 70 Princeton-Hightstown Road. European Wax Center is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2021, joining a mix led by Target, Kohl’s, TJ Maxx and a Patel Bros. supermarket. John LaParise of CBRE represented the landlord on the transaction.
In South Jersey, European Wax Center leased a 1,885-square-foot space at Manahawkin Commons, a 319,349-square-foot center on Route 72, near the intersection of the Garden State Parkway. The chain is expected to debut at the Ocean County property in the first half of 2022, adding to a tenant lineup currently anchored by TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Regal Cinema, Michaels and Staples. The landlord is also in the process of redeveloping the site’s vacant Kmart space, with proposed new tenants including Ross, Burlington, Old Navy and ULTA. Brunelli represented European Wax Center on the lease, while the landlord was represented by Jim Creed of CBRE.
Brunelli also completed two leases for European Wax Center in northern New Jersey. A fourth quarter 2021 opening is planned for a 1,560-square-foot location at Pompton Lakes Towne Square, 1-55 Wanaque Ave. in Pompton Lakes. The 125,000-square-foot Passaic County center includes a newly opened Lidl, as well as such other prominent tenants as Planet Fitness, The Paper Store, Starbucks, and Hand & Stone. Matt Grundy and Curtis Nassau of Ripco represented the landlord on the transaction.
In Morris Township, a second quarter 2022 opening is anticipated for European Wax Center in a 1,452-square-foot space at Morris Marketplace, 191 E. Hanover Ave. Tenants signed for this new, 137,000-square-foot Morris County center include Lidl, Burlington, Orange Theory, Taco Bell and Jersey Mikes. Bill Lenaz and Stephen Battista of Jeffery Realty represented the landlord on the lease.
Brunelli closed her second lease this year as the preferred real estate representative for the central and southern New Jersey franchisee of Crumbl Cookies. The multi-unit operator—which is expected to open the chain’s first New Jersey location at Seaview Square in Ocean Township in the fourth quarter of 2021–signed for a 1,600-square-foot endcap unit in a new pad building at Commerce Center at Garden State Park in Cherry Hill.
A second-quarter 2022 opening is anticipated for Crumbl at the 191,949-square-foot site anchored by Costco, Petco and Duluth Trading. Commerce Center is one of four retail centers created in Edgewood Properties’ redevelopment of the former Garden State Park racetrack. All told, the four retail properties include more than 1.04 million square feet of GLA, bringing to the massive site such other prominent retailers as Wegman’s, Home Depot, Christmas Tree Shops, Best Buy, Dicks, Trader Joe’s, Nordstrom Rack, Home Goods, TJ Maxx and Barnes & Noble.
In Ocean County, the firm signed Pizza Hut for a 1,800-square-foot endcap drive-thru space at 1882 Hooper Ave. in Toms River. R.J. Brunelli is the exclusive broker for the new 12,600-square-foot retail center being developed by March Construction in the municipality’s Silverton section. R.J. Brunelli Vice President and Principal Mario Brunelli, who represented the landlord on this first signed lease for the property, noted that Pizza Hut will relocate from a nearby site in Brick Township. A summer 2022 opening is anticipated for the restaurant, which will focus on take-out and delivery.
Elsewhere in the state, Sales Associate Peter Miller brokered three leases for Lake Lawrence Shopping Center, at 2542 Brunswick Ave. (U.S. Hwy. 1) in Lawrence Township. R.J. Brunelli serves as an exclusive broker for the 19,319-square-foot highway center, which is anchored by Concentra Urgent Care and now has 5,700 square feet available.
Debuting this summer at the Mercer County property were Kayla’s Pretty Paws, a 2,262-square-foot pet stylist and supply store, and Greenhouse Business Center, a 1,370-square-foot shop offering packing, shipping, printing and other business services. They will be followed this fall by Sweet Threads, a 1,778-square-foot vape, apparel and CBD products shop. Miller represented both the landlord and tenant on the Kayla’s and Sweet Threads transactions. On Greenhouse Business Center (which also has two locations in Trenton), the tenant was represented by Frank Consiglio of Las Vegas-based Direct Store Services.
In Monmouth County, Fiore brokered a 2,780-square-foot lease for Middletown Dry Cleaners at the Village Mall, 1140 Route 35 S. in Middletown. The dry cleaning and tailor shop is already open at the 70,000-square-foot center, which is anchored by Bottle King. Patricia McHugh-Amecangelo of CBRE represented the landlord on the lease, while Fiore represented the tenant.
Fiore also represented the tenant on a 1,500-square-foot lease that brought the Puff City smoke/vape shop to Stahl Shopping Plaza at 152 Mountainview Blvd. in Wayne. McHugh-Amecangelo of CBRE represented the landlord on the transaction for the 32,331-square-foot Passaic County center, whose anchors include Dollar Tree and Terrain Fitness.
R.J. Brunelli & Co. said Sept. 23 that leasing is now underway for a new 12,600-square-foot retail center in the Silverton section of Ocean County being developed by March Construction of Wayne.
Old Bridge-based R.J. Brunelli & Co. was named exclusive leasing agent for the property. With all municipal approvals now complete, March broke ground on the site in Toms River in mid-September.
Located at 1882 Hooper Ave., just off the signalized intersection at Church Road, the 1.7-acre site can be developed for a single tenant or be subdivided, with targeted categories including restaurants, daycare, medical or dental offices, eyewear, bakeries, coffee shops, salons, cellular, and jewelry. In the case of restaurants, the site can accommodate a drive-thru on an endcap location.
“This easily accessible site offers high visibility on the ‘going-home’ side of Hooper Avenue, a four-lane highway which delivers a daily traffic count exceeding 38,200,” said project manager Mario Brunelli, a vice president and principal.
The site adjoins a freestanding Walgreens and other prominent retail and food tenants in the immediate area along Hooper Avenue, include Surf Taco and Bubbakoo’s Burritos (both just across the street), Stop & Shop, Burlington, Advance Auto Parts, Jersey Mike’s, Manhattan Bagel and McDonald’s. Additionally, Starbucks recently opened on a pad site in the nearby Stop & Shop center on Brick Boulevard in Brick Township.
“Beyond the residential component, as the Ocean County seat, Toms River provides this site with a robust daytime population of 7,182 within a mile and 51,607 within 3 miles,” Brunelli noted. “These figures include employees and students at Ocean County College, which is just 1.5 miles away, and such other major employers as the county government, Meridian Health Systems and the Toms River Regional School District.”
March Construction President Lou March Jr. said his company expects to turn the building over to tenants for store build-outs in March 2022, and is targeting a grand opening for next summer.
R.J. Brunelli represented March Construction on its acquisition of the site; Michael DeGeorge, owner of DeGeorge Realty, acted as the seller’s broker.
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