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Montgomery Promenade Hopes to Break Ground Soon on Route 206

By Barbara A. Preston | August 2, 2022


The new potential developer of Montgomery Promenade on Route 206 by the Princeton Airport will appear before the Montgomery Township Planning Board on Monday, August 22. They are asking for final approval on their two-phase plan to build a massive shopping center with a Whole Foods supermarket.

Above is the architect's rendering of the sign for Montgomery Promenade.


Madison Marquette, initially submitted plans for a shopping center on the 53.5-acre field next to Princeton Airport in 2005. The developer, who also built Princeton MarketFair on Route 1 and helped to revitalize Asbury Park, then added 34 homes to the plan. The years ticked by — a recession slowed the project, then shoppers started buying many things online rather than in brick-and-mortar stores. The COVID-19 pandemic made things worse. Madison Marquette dropped the Montgomery project.


Can Montgomery Township support another shopping center?

Montgomery Township has three shopping centers by the corner of Routes 206 and 518 — which is the busiest intersection in the township. The Montgomery Shopping Center, anchored by ShopRite, is 155,000 square feet and has a couple empty store fronts. One of its anchor stores, Walgreens, closed this year. It is managed by Hilton Realty in West Windsor.


Princeton North Shopping Center, a 92,000 square-foot strip center anchored by Princeton Fitness and Wellness Center, was renovated in 2009 and has 450 parking spaces on about 10 acres. Managed by Kent Builders Management LLC in Tenafly.


Finally, there is The Village Walk at Montgomery, a new mixed-use community billed as "Downtown Montgomery" and owned by a Montgomery family, Pugliese Properties. The Village Shoppes will house a 90,000-square-foot mix of national, regional and local restaurants, cafes, retail stores, and service businesses. A new three-story commercial / residential structure will replace the single story strip mall. It will have 52 residential apartments (including 11 affordable units) on the second and third floors, with commercial / retail space on the first floor.


A development firm out of Atlanta, Georgia proposes that Montgomery can support an additional 287,000-square-foot “town center.” SJC Ventures' proposal would contain retail, restaurants, a theater and entertainment building, a bank, a daycare facility, and a Whole Foods.


SJC has a contract to purchase the 53.5-acre field next to the Princeton Airport on Route 206. The new developer, who is doing business under the name Princeton Promenade LLC, appeared before the Montgomery Planning Board in December 2021, asking the board to help them speed up the "town center" at the corner of Route 206 and Route 518 in Montgomery Township.


SJC is a bit cautious, and plans to build the shopping center in two phases. Phase I includes 11 mixed-use retail buildings of about 162,200 square feet and 29 residential dwellings. Phase II contains five mixed-use retail buildings of about 125,500 square feet and five residential dwellings. Princeton MarketFair, for comparison, is 246,000 square feet.


Brick-and-mortar retail to make a come-back

A recent report in GlobeSt.com reports that "brick-and-mortar retail is at last finding its place in the sun."


"For years, even prior to the pandemic-induced recession, we saw closings and bankruptcies as internet sales grew and certain long-familiar brands, unable to adjust to new modes of shopping, fell by the wayside," according to Jonathan Hipp, principal, U.S. Capital Markets and Head of The Net Lease Group for Avison Young. "The problem only escalated during the depths of the pandemic, when quarantine protocols forced shoppers to turn to their keyboards."


However, people have a "strong desire to congregate, to get out and about," he says. "The social nature within all of us draws us to the long-touted retail experience, and investors and developers are responding. We're betting on the consumer's need to congregate once again."


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In addition, Montgomery has many new residential units in the pipeline.


SJC will appear before the Montgomery Planning Board on Monday, August 22, at 7 pm. They are officially seeking approval for an Amended Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan for phase 1 of the project and for “Final Major Site Plan” for phase 2.


The meeting will be held in the new Montgomery Municipal Center, Chambers Room, located at 100 Community Drive in Skillman.




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