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Whole Foods Named as an Anchor During Final Planning Board Approval of Route 206 Shopping Complex

By Barbara A. Preston | December 3, 2018

The Montgomery Planning Board gave final approval to Madison Marquette — a $6 billion commercial real estate company based in Washington, DC, and operates in 24 states — to build a shopping complex with 1,499 parking spaces just north of Princeton Airport on Route 206.

The complex will include Whole Foods, LL Bean, a Panera restaurant with a drive-through, and an Ulta Beauty cosmetics store, along with a combination of other shops and restaurants, a theater /entertainment building, a bank, and a daycare facility on what is now an empty farm field just north of Princeton Airport.

Madison Marquette downsized the originally proposed square footage of the Montgomery shopping complex from 318,000 sq to 281,829 sq at the Planning Board's final approval meeting in November. The company also owns Princeton MarketFair, a 246,000 sq ft mall on U.S. Highway Route 1.

A one-acre outdoor community space for public events such as movie openings in the summertime and ice skating in the winter will be a focal point of the complex, to be called Montgomery Promenade. The project also includes 34 single-family detached homes which will be built behind existing homes on Route 518.

Along with final approval came several variances: Whole Foods will be allowed to have three signs instead of two; and there was a minor variance related to shrubbery for the drive-through area of the Panera restaurant.

The board determined a variance will not be needed for the four-foot Ulta Beauty cosmetics store sign. Ulta is slated to share a building with Whole Foods. (47,451 sq for Whole Foods and 11,534 for Ulta).

Franks Theater, which originally signed for a multi-plex movie theater, bowling alley, and bar, filed for bankruptcy. Madison Marquette now is looking at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, according to the developer. Alamo Drafthouse theaters have servers that deliver meals, drinks, and local beer directly to patrons' seats.

Alamo menus feature burgers, pizzas, salads, snacks, and desserts prepared from locally sourced ingredients."Need a free refill on your popcorn or soda? Raise an order card and we’ll get it taken care of quickly,” according to the Alamo website.

Other tenants include, to name a few: Garys Wine & Marketplace; a Kiddie Academy; and a PNC Bank with drive-through.

Montgomery Township Committeeman and Planning Board member Ed Trzaska said: “This is the culmination of eight years of hard work. I would like to thank our professionals and township committee colleagues for being part of this effort."

"Also, bringing Whole Foods to Montgomery, along with other top retailers, is truly amazing," Trzaska said, "and has made the years and years of meetings and planning sessions worth it.” ■

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