State officials have pledged $223 million to the long-awaited Luxury Point at Sayreville project — the massive retail and lifestyle complex planned for a 440-acre Brownfield site along the Raritan Bay and Garden State Parkway.
The $1.2 billion project, which calls for 8 million square feet of commercial and residential space, has been approved for a multiyear tax-reimbursement grant under the state’s Economic Redevelopment and Growth program. The award is critical for developer O’Neill Properties and state environmental regulators, who have spent years and millions of dollars remediating the site under an ambitious redevelopment project.
The approval came May 16 during the Economic Development Authority’s monthly board meeting, an agency spokeswoman said. Executives from the King of Prussia, Pa.-based developer were not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
The closely watched project calls for a sprawling mixed-use development along one of busiest stretches of the Garden State Parkway, anchored by a retail “fortress mall” that would feature Times Square-like electronic billboards and signage. The mall would include nearly 1.8 million square feet, including a 200,000-square-foot store for Bass Pro Shops, along with 2,000 residential units, a hotel and other retail and commercial buildings.
The project’s current schedule calls for construction on its first retail phase to start by June 30, according to a memo to EDA board members. All told, the developer projects it will generate some 5,400 construction jobs and 3,900 permanent jobs upon full build-out.
The EDA estimates tax reimbursements under the $223 million ERG grant would begin in 2018 and be fully paid out by 2025, the memo said.
The award comes six months after the EDA approved a $390 million ERG grant for the long-stalled American Dream Meadowlands project in East Rutherford, another planned destination retail and entertainment complex. The tax break was the largest ever of its kind.
The Sayreville site is familiar to many, sitting under the Driscoll Bridge as the Parkway widens to a sprawling 15 lanes through northeastern Middlesex County. It’s also known for the complex environmental cleanup that has taken place for some 15 years, after serving for decades as the home to a National Lead paint pigment manufacturing facility.
The EDA memo called it the “single largest Brownfield redevelopment project in New Jersey's history.” Tax revenue generated by the site will be used to repay up to $30 million in remediation funds, a deal that must be satisfied before the state makes any payments under the proposed ERG grant.
Brian O’Neill Jr., a vice president with the development firm, said last spring that it was close to finishing remediation on a major piece of the property. That would make way for leasing and construction for retail sites such as Bass Pro, a Regal Cinemas theater and other anchor tenants.
A brochure describes Luxury Point as the "only luxury shopping destination between Short Hills and Philadelphia, in a core market that is underserved." Its developers expect to draw shoppers from as far away as Princeton and southwest Brooklyn, N.Y.
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