DELRAN, N.J. (10/24/02)–After nearly five years in the planning stages, the Hartford Corners Shopping Center has become a reality. An official ground-breaking ceremony for the retail power center is scheduled for today. The project’s developer, ARC Properties Inc. of Clifton, N.J., recently purchased the 66-acre site from a partnership of local developer John Rahenkamp and Bergstol Enterprises. Under the new ownership, Old Bridge-based R.J. Brunelli & Co. Inc. will continue in its role as exclusive leasing agent for the property.

According to ARC, the property will have an entrance at the newly created major intersection of U.S. Route 130 and Fairview Boulevard. The 412,000-square-foot center is being built as a phased project, with a 165,000-square-foot Lowes Home Improvements and a 67,000-square-foot Shop Rite supermarket signed as the initial major anchors. Shop Rite will be relocating from its highly successful store on Route 130, just south of the project. In addition to the two major anchors, the initial phases will include approximately 100,000 square feet of retail space and pad sites. Signed tenants include Mandee, First Union Bank, Chick-Fil-A, Donatos restaurant, Mattress Giant and Cingular. Construction on the remaining 78,000 square feet of retail will commence upon completion of the first two phases. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2003.

Hartford Corners Shopping Center will serve a market with over 128,000 people within a five-mile radius. Average household income is over $71,000 within three miles and over $75,000 within five miles. Hartford Road, which also intersects with the property, leads directly into the highest income subdivisions in adjacent Moorestown, within three miles of the site.

The shopping center is the focal point of an economic revival under way along Route 130 in Burlington County. Retail activity has been stirring in Delran and adjoining communities along the highway with the influx of major new retailers such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Sam’s Club.

Commenting on his firm’s decision to acquire the site, Robert Ambrosi, president of ARC Properties, said, “We were attracted to the Hartford Corners project because it embodies an approach we value: high-quality tenants, sensitivity to neighbors, a public-private partnership to make significant civic improvements and, in the end, the creation of an attractive, productive development. As developers, we value the opportunity to join with our experienced team and local entities to be a positive catalyst for an improved quality of life in the Delran area.”

“It took five years, but the quality of the plan and tenants, and public-private cooperation made the time well spent,” said Richard Brunelli, president of the retail real estate brokerage firm bearing his name. The Brunelli firm has acted as exclusive leasing and sales agent and a strategic advisor for the site since 1997 when Delanco, N.J.-based developer John Rahenkamp began assembling and planning the property. Subsequently, Rahenkamp partnered with Bergstol Enterprises of New City, N.Y. to develop the land and secure public-private cooperation for road improvements from the township and state. “Having ARC close on the property—a large assemblage of eight different sites—and seeing site work commence are big milestones for the township, Route 130 revitalization and the entire county,” Mr. Brunelli added.

At the same time, much-anticipated road work along U.S. Route 130 is expected to get under way to help improve traffic patterns moving in and around the center’s strategic location. U.S. Route 130 is the main north/south highway connecting central New Jersey to the Trenton, Camden and Philadelphia areas. “Route 130 is a divided highway with a concrete barrier, resulting in limited points where traffic can cross. This makes Hartford Corners a very valuable site,” explained Mr. Ambrosi.

Approximately $1.5 million in funding from the N.J. Department of Transportation will help build the new intersection, as well as Fairview Boulevard, which represents an extension of Fairview Street on the other side of Route 130. Fairview Boulevard intersects with Hartford Road at the southern end of the property. The proposed connection is expected to relieve and improve existing jughandles at Fairview Boulevard and Chester Avenue. “The road improvements will also help school buses and emergency vehicles to get through the town much easier,” noted Mr. Brunelli. “This new intersection will help to unify the town, as well as improve access to the new rail line.”

For leasing information, contact Richard Brunelli, president, R.J. Brunelli & Co., Inc., 400 Perrine Road, Suite 405, Old Bridge, N.J. 08857. Telephone is (732) 721-5800.


Press contacts: At R.J. Brunelli & Co., Inc., Richard J. Brunelli, president, (732) 721-5800; at Parness & Associates Public Relations, Bill Parness (732) 290-0121.