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Signs of optimism at N.J. big-box locations

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The Goldstein Group, a Paramus retail brokerage firm, announced four recent leases of big-box space in northern and central New Jersey in what it called an encouraging sign as retail looks to rebound.

“Big-box spaces have been difficult to lease over the past few years due to the recession, but several chains have committed to opening new locations and others are once again looking,” said Chuck Lanyard, Goldstein president.

The company brokered deals in Paramus, Eatontown, Ledgewood and Oakland, including a 60,000-square-foot lease for Ashley Furniture in the former Levitz Furniture building near the Monmouth Mall, on Route 35.

A common trend has been gyms leasing buildings once called home by CompUSA, Linens N’ Things and other big chains that have closed or consolidated. Ledgewood Fitness and The Edge Fitness each signed 20,000-square-foot leases in such properties, according to Lanyard.

“Health clubs and gyms have been actively seeking spaces throughout the recession, and landlords who once weren’t enamored with their use have been happy to take them on,” he said, naming Planet Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and Retro Fitness among such health clubs.

Lanyard said other major retailers looking to lease in New Jersey include Costco, Fresh Market, Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, TJ Maxx and REI Sporting Goods.

“We are seeing this type of tenant more active, and we are currently in negotiations for several big-box users looking at existing buildings, as well as proposed renovations and ground-up developments,” Lanyard said. “There is a new wave of big-box stores becoming available due to the recent bankruptcy and store closing announcements of Pathmark, A&P, Borders Books, Kmart and Sears.”

E-mail Melinda Caliendo at mcaliendo@njbiz.com

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