Regency Breaks Ground on New Jersey Retail Project

Construction is now underway on Chimney Rock, a 218,000-square-foot, grocery-anchored shopping center in Bridgewater.
Chimney Rock, Whole Foods, courtesy of Regency Centers

Chimney Rock, Whole Foods, courtesy of Regency Centers

Bridgewater, N.J.—Bridgewater, N.J., will soon have a new shopping destination, courtesy of a $70 million project by Regency Centers Corp. The REIT just broke ground on Chimney Rock, a 218,000-square-foot, grocery-anchored shopping center in the greater New York City metro area.

“With their $2,700-plus a year spending power on retail alone and an average household income of $116,000-plus, these residents are actively seeking out big city convenience and small city culture,” per the Chimney Rock property brochure. Regency Centers plans to give the people precisely what they want. The early lineup at Chimney Rock is none too shabby, with the likes of Nordstrom Rack, Saks off 5th and Ulta having committed to a respective 36,000, 34,000 and 10,000 square feet. The star of the property, however, will be a 50,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market, marking the grocery store chain’s entrée into Somerset County.

The coveted retail names will be presented in a setting replete with features not often found at your typical grocery-anchored property, including fire pits and trellises. “This isn’t just another shopping center. We will create an intimate style and personality that is reflective of the needs and wants of the region,” Jack deVilliers, vice president with Regency Centers Corp., said in a prepared statement. Those needs are strong, and the numbers tell the story. Bridgewater is among New Jersey’s strongest retail markets, having recorded a vacancy rate of just under 4.2 percent at mid-year, according to a report by commercial real estate brokerage firm The Goldstein Group. The New Jersey and national vacancy rates were 7.2 and 10 percent, respectively.

Chimney Rock is on schedule to open in summer 2018.

Regency Centers has been busy with many projects this year, but the REIT’s largest undertaking was its definitive agreement to acquire retail developer Equity One Inc. in a transaction that values Equity One at $4.6 billion. The merger will leave Regency Centers with a  total market capitalization of $15.6 billion and the title of largest shopping center REIT by equity value.