Page 22 - RENJ June 2021
P. 22

20 JUNE 2021
 The future of retail” is now on display at the revamped Shops at Ledgewood Commons
“in Roxbury, according to Daniel Cocoziello of Advance Realty Investors.
The former Ledgewood Mall, built in 1972, has
Cocoziello, principal and managing director of development at Bedminster-based Advance Realty. “In our opinion, it’s the future of retail. There’s been a tremendous amount of foot traffic and excitement around the center.”
He said the goal at the Roxbury site — a joint venture of Advance Realty, DeBartolo Development and Invesco — is experiential retail, meaning shoppers can buy furniture at Ashley HomeStore, clothing at Burlington and coffee at Starbucks without needing to walk far.
“Once they’re there, you want them to walk around and go to different stores and maybe grab something to eat,” he said.
The key to the concept is getting
the right mix of tenants, he said,
as well as having the commitment from the surrounding community. De-malling “is a trend that everybody in the United States is looking at,”
Cocoziello said.
Rutgers University economics professor James Hughes confirmed that trend, though he added, “One size doesn’t fit all.”
“Within the broad de-malling phenomenon, we’re really seeing market segmentation,” said Hughes, dean emeritus of the Edward J. Bloustein School
of Planning and
Public Policy.
“Some of the
really obsolete
centers, either
physically or
with a tenant
mix that doesn’t
really reflect
new lifestyles and the like, are doomed, and those are going to be replaced by fulfillment centers or last-mile delivery stations or housing. ... Even within the new e-commerce world, there is some desire for some
shopping facilities, experiential facilities and the like. That won’t completely disappear. So there’ll be some winners that survive in the new world, and this may be one of them.”
Hughes said the experiential concept, emphasizing what he called the “triple F” of food, fitness and fun,
is replacing traditional shoe and clothing stores. “And that was a strategy, really, that unfolded the
last four, five years,” he said. One big example is the massive American Dream complex in East Rutherford, which went from mostly retail to about 60 percent experiential by the time the facility began to open in 2019.
He noted that Ledgewood Commons’ offerings fit well with nearby stores, in particular citing Home Depot,
in the adjacent Roxbury Mall, as a complement to Walmart.
“Walmart is a very, very strong draw,” Hughes said. “It has flourished
Newly opened Shops at Ledgewood Commons shows potential of ‘de-malling’ done right
By Marlaina Cockcroft
  Daniel Cocoziello
a complete “de-malling,” changing
the enclosed space to a 450,000-square- foot, open-air shopping center
with separate entrances to stores and a centralized parking lot — all of it anchored by a 164,087-square-foot Walmart Supercenter that opened last October.
“We’ve taken a larger, continuous structure and broken it down into different components,” said
James Hughes
 A joint venture led by Advance Realty Investors has transformed the former Ledgewood Mall in Roxbury from a previously enclosed property to a 450,000-square-foot, open-air shopping center with separate entrances to stores and a centralized parking lot — all of it anchored by a 164,087-square-foot Walmart Supercenter.
Courtesy: Ledgewood Investors LLC

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