Springfield Avenue Marketplace's Retail Boom
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Since opening in September 2015, Tucker Development’s Springfield Avenue Marketplace has played a major role in revitalizing Newark’s University Heights neighborhood. The retail development is now 85% leased with the announcement of seven new tenants.
Joining the 115K SF, ShopRite-anchored center is Ashley Stewart, which opened last week, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and MetroPCS, opening this spring, and Huddle House, T-Mobile, Roberto’s Pizza and Venue Beauty, opening over the summer. In addition to the supermarket, the retailers join Sarku Japan, Taco Bell and McDonald’s.
Additional retailers are in negotiation. One of the biggest boons was Ashley Stewart, which allowed the development to crack the soft-goods category, said Ripco Real Estate salesperson Jake Frantzman, who leases the retail. The store will include the plus-size clothier’s new prototype layout, which includes a social media changing room and fashion area.
“We’d love to play off of that to the extent we can with other clothing or footwear retailers,” Frantzman said of the remaining retail opportunities, which range from 890 to 5,500 SF. “We’d also love to strengthen more traditional service retailers and bring in specialty restaurants like seafood, barbecue or soul food.”
The development serves a significant residential base — largely professionals and graduate students — including those living in Tucker Development’s 152-unit luxury apartment building, 24 Jones, which is part of the mixed-use development with Springfield Avenue Marketplace. That building is 90% leased.
The neighborhood encompasses academic institutions like Rutgers University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Seton Hall University, New Jersey Medical School and Essex Community College.
The overall University Heights market is still underserved with many basic services like hair salons, fitness centers and dry cleaners, Tucker vice president of development Jeff Glenner said. Springfield Avenue Marketplace benefits from its parking lot, a rarity in Newark’s urban center.
“Given the high-density residential, mixed-use and office development happening around Newark, it’s difficult for retailers to provide parking,” he said. “This is one of the few opportunities for people to shop without needing to find a garage or street parking, so this draws additional customers and traffic. We saw the value in the site to Newark, and that’s why we invested $100M here.”
The site had been vacant for years before Tucker broke ground in 2013, Glenner added.
Springfield Avenue Marketplace and 24 Jones represent the general model of projects Tucker Development is pursuing: mixed-use destinations in dense urban areas with good transportation access. In addition to filling out its project in Newark, the developer is working on the 1M SF Hudson Lights in Fort Lee, which includes 276 residential units, retail and office; as well as 900 West, a mixed-use development in Chicago that comprises office, retail and residential.