Kushner Companies & Rouse Properties Announce The Heights at Monmouth

Kushner Companies (“Kushner”) and Rouse Properties (“Rouse”) announced plans for The Heights at Monmouth – a dynamic, state-of-the-art mixed-use destination unlike any other in New Jersey. The modernization of the existing mall will be led by a new joint venture between Kushner Companies and Rouse, an industry leading retail owner with an unparalleled track record of innovative shopping center turnarounds across the country.

“This long-term investment in Eatontown will transform Monmouth Mall into a 24/7 attraction unlike any other in the state,” said Laurent Morali, President of Kushner Companies. “We’re thrilled to partner with industry leader Rouse to deliver a cutting-edge project that will serve Eatontown, Monmouth County and New Jersey for years to come.”

“We are excited to partner with Kushner to execute our shared vision for The Heights at Monmouth,” said Brian Harper, Chief Executive Office of Rouse Properties. “Like us, Kushner has a proven track record of successfully identifying and unlocking the inherent value at its assets through strategic renovations and property updates. Throughout this project, we will leverage each other’s deep redevelopment and transformational expertise to deliver an innovative community-focused destination center that truly revolutionizes the way people live, eat, shop and unwind in Monmouth County and beyond. We look forward to becoming an integral part of the Eatontown community and working together with the City and its people moving forward.”

Inspired by popular open-air projects across the country like Santana Row in San Jose, California, The Domain in Austin, Texas, and the Kushner-owned Pier Village in Long Branch, New Jersey, the vision Kushner and Rouse have outlined for The Heights at Monmouth is carefully designed to engage each visitor and capitalize on the strong underlying fundamentals of Monmouth County, which bridges the New York Metropolitan region and serves as a gateway to the Jersey Shore. The transformational plan for the center includes space to house a vibrant mix of shopping, dining, entertainment, leisure and daily-use providers, the addition of residential space, and the construction of common public areas that will offer an inviting and seamless community environment.

In addition, the transformation will help ensure that Monmouth Mall, currently the single largest source of tax revenue for Eatontown and tax relief for homeowners, remains strong and viable over the long-term. Kushner and Rouse also anticipate that the immediate area will benefit from an influx of new jobs that will be created as a result of this project.

Among the notable highlights of the plan include the creation of an indoor culinary marketplace, Culinary Heights, which will feature a vast range of food providers – upscale restaurants, unique themed eateries, wine bars and tea boutiques, a public facing town square, a streetscape with prominent retail and dining options, an undulating canopied stairway at the main entrance, a curving glass monument and staircase, and an array of landscaped paths, terraces, water features, seating venues and meeting spots. Furthermore, The Heights at Monmouth will incorporate design elements that reflect the distinctive culture of Monmouth County, including regionally inspired architectural components, indigenous plants and locally sourced materials.

Rouse possesses an impressive track record of creating value for its communities across the country through strategic repositionings of its assets, which have significantly enhanced each property’s quality, appeal, aesthetics and merchandising mix. Each repositioning Rouse has completed has led to noticeable increases in sales per square foot, occupancy and customer traffic, and has considerably strengthened the long-term viability of each center.

Some of the dynamic repositionings Rouse has recently completed include:

  • Fig Garden Village in Fresno California – Since acquiring the lifestyle center in 2015, Rouse has significantly strengthened the retail lineup, bringing high-profile retailers including Anthropologie, lululemon, Madewell, Ariat, Paper Source and more.
  • The Shoppes at Gateway in Springfield, Oregon – The transformation involved recapturing unproductive space and converting the former distressed enclosed mall into an institutional quality, open-air retail destination. Over the duration of the project, Rouse executed more than 223,000 square feet of new leases with well-known national brands including Walmart Neighborhood Market, Marshall’s, Petco, Ulta, Ross, Panera, Noodles & Co. and more.
  • The Shoppes at Bel Air in Mobile, Alabama – By taking enclosed mall space and converting it into an engaging streetscape, Rouse created space for prominent new-to-market brands like a flagship Belk, H&M, P.F. Chang’s and Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. By repositioning this asset, Rouse took a dramatically underperforming shopping mall and has since transformed it into the premier lifestyle and entertainment center in southern Alabama.
  • The Shoppes at Knollwood in St. Louis Park, Missouri – Rouse demolished a significant portion of the enclosed mall space to create an institutional quality grocery anchored power center, which helped attract several leading retailers like Nordstrom Rack, TJX/Homegoods, UltaBeauty, Dress Barn, Noodles & Co., Smashburger and Panera Bread. Toward the end of the project, Rouse sold the shopping center for $106.7 million.
  • The Shoppes at Carlsbad in Carlsbad, California – In summer 2016, Rouse began the process of converting this A+ real estate but underperforming mall into a superregional lifestyle and entertainment center. Regal Cinemas opened a 12-screen multiplex at the shopping center, which is its top performing luxury theater in all of California. Dave & Busters and 24 Hour Fitness also recently opened and have experienced very strong sales. While the transformation isn’t scheduled to be completed until Spring 2018, other retailers signed to open at the property include The Cheesecake Factory, Yard House, Zara, H&M, Wokcano, Islands and many more.
  • NewPark in Newark, California – Highlighted by the construction of a two-story restaurant pavilion that features unique glass enclosed exterior facing restaurant spaces with patios on both levels, the repositioning is expected to boost sales per square foot by over $200 once complete. Rouse added a variety of high-volume restaurant tenants and a 12-screen AMC Theatre featuring IMAX auditoriums. Rouse is also in the design phase to construct 1,700 residential units at the property, which will unlock significant value and create a dynamic live, shop and play environment.

The joint venture is currently working on a site plan application and anticipates starting construction in 2018. Kushner Cos. became the sole owner of the mall after purchasing Vornado Realty Trust’s 50 percent interest in the summer of 2015.

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