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|With 6M SF of retail under management in New Jersey, (and more than 12M overall), we turned to Levin Management prez Matthew Harding to hear the sector’s latest. He tells us value retailers are keeping the market afloat: Levin helped a Dollar General store open in a former Drug Fair in Clifton recently and has Christmas Trees Shops coming into an empty Linens ‘N Things in Bridgewater—good news, considering there are many vacant spaces from the bankrupt Linens and Circuit City in Northern Jersey, he says.|
|Matthew (right) with colleagues Bob Decker and John Bowen. Supermarkets are also expanding, especially smaller, independent stores, as more consumers cut back on restaurant spending. Levin is helping a client purchase a 100k-SF Shop Rite-anchored center in Philly and says the chain is also looking elsewhere. Matthew adds that as consumers slim down their wallets, they’re looking toward value gyms; the firm worked with a health club that moved into a former Big Lots store at Echo Plaza in Springfield, brought another health club into a former Hollywood Video in South Plainfield, and currently has another 50k-SF deal in the works.|
|In the meantime, new construction has tapered, but renovations, including major ones, are increasing as construction prices go down and contractors are available for work. Levin recently placed The Shannon Rose Irish Pub (pictured above is the Levin team with mayor John McCormac) in a renovated Office Max store at St. Georges Crossing in Woodbridge. The state’s adoption of the Permit Extension Act will prevent permits from expiring, allowing developers to jump back in and build when the market picks up.|