Lakewood Township's Planning Board today approved development of a massive retail shopping center in the Cedarbridge Corporate Campus.

In 2017, a for-profit corporate arm of Beth Medrash proposed a 187,000 sq foot mall project known as Lakewood Shopping Village on this site, which fronts Avenue of The States, adjacent to the existing Cedarbridge Commons/ Chase Bank shopping center.

As the news was first broken here on FAA News, a reduced plan has now been revived plans for this site.

The new proposal, submitted by Mark Chopp of Tower Park Equity, is for a total of 3 buildings with a total of 116,000 sq feet of retail shopping space.

The application was represented by Attorney Miriam Weinstein Esq. and Engineer Jason Burneyko P.E. of NewLines Engineering.

The Site Plan depict 3 driveways intersecting Avenue of the States; a 30 foot wide right-turn only egress driveway in the eastern corner of the site, a 33 foot wide right in/ right out/ left in driveway, and a wide multi-lane full movement driveway at the intersection of Avenue of the States and Boulevard of the Americas.

The architectural plans depict that each building will contain retail shopping stores on the first floor and storage space for the individual stores in the basements. Building 1 will contain 10 stores, building 2 will contain 15 stores, and building 3 will be a smaller pad site.

Board Chairman Moshe Neiman noted that this would be a great location for a banquet hall, and urged Mr. Chopp to consider this suggestion.

Board Member David Helmreich commented that there is no direct access from each store to their storage space below. Mr. Chopp responded that this design mirrors the design of the nearby Avenue of The Shoppes retail center which he also built and that operates fine.

A total of 571 off-street parking spaces, including 14 ADA spots are proposed. 26 of the proposed spaces will be for electric vehicles. Therefore, 597 spaces are counted as proposed. Based on the Township's requirement of 1 parking space per 200 sq feet of retail floor area, a total of 582 spaces are required. Board Member Moshe Raitzik requested additional parking. Mrs. Weinstein and Mr. Burneyko pushed back, saying that the proposed parking will be adequate.

The traffic study commissioned by the developers and done by McDonough & Rea Associates recommends upgrading the Avenue of The States/ Boulevard of The Americas intersection (which will be the main entrance to the new shopping center) with a new traffic signal, and the the New Hampshire Avenue/ Boulevard of The Americas intersection with an eastbound left turning lane and a multi-phase traffic signal system.

Traffic Expert Scott Kennel assured the Board that the Township has just approved installation of this traffic signal and the shopping center will not open until the traffic signal is operational.

The traffic study also asserts that peak hours for retail shopping traffic are different than the peak hours for school bus traffic, and that much of the retail shopping center traffic will be "passers-by" who are anyways on the road for other reasons and they happen to stop in to the shopping center, as well "internal traffic" from residents who are already shopping or working in the Cedarbridge Corporate Campus.

As such, the traffic study concludes that "the subject application can be approved and operate compatibly with future traffic conditions in the surrounding area."

As Lakewood's Township Committee has already amended the zoning ordinance to make the proposed use as well as the size of the buildings permitted by-right, this application was presented as a permitted use with no bulk variances. The application only requested a number of submission waivers including from providing an Environmental Impact Statement and a Tree Protection Management Plan.

Curiously, an Affidavit of Ownership was submitted with the application, however the name of the owner was left blank.

The Board also approved a Subdivision of 3 lots for future site plans. In May 2022 the Township Committee approved sale of another parcel of land in the area for redevelopment. FAA News has learned that plans are underway for a 171,900 sq foot mixed use building, as well a 32,840 sq foot retail building at that location.

Unlike when Beth Medrash Govoha proposed their original shopping mall plan, tonight no members of the public commented on this application.

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