FLEMINGTON – The borough council is expected to vote on a redevelopment plan for Liberty Village on Monday evening.
The redevelopment plan for the 23-acre site is “designed as a new, diverse residential neighborhood that provides economic support to the downtown borough, while matching the scale and character of the borough, creating an environment integrated and coherent building â.
The plan provides for âdiverse housing optionsâ in multi-family units and / or townhouses that accommodate a mix of income and household sizes.
Although no total number of residential units is specified, the plan recommends that 15% of rental units be reserved for affordable housing and that 20% of units for sale be affordable.
The plan recommends that red brick be used as the main component when a building facade faces an area accessible to the public. The facades of the buildings must be clad with stone veneer, brick, fiber cement board or cast stone. Vinyl coverings are prohibited.
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Adopting a redevelopment plan is one of the first steps towards a new construction of the country’s first shopping center which has seen difficult times with most of the storefronts empty.
Once the redevelopment plan has been approved after examination by the Urban Planning Council, the borough may seek a redevelopment for the site of route 12 at the southwestern limit of the borough.
Then, the project must pass before the examination of the site plan before the Planning Council, and a developer agreement must be negotiated between the builder and the borough.
When Liberty Village opened four decades ago in 1981, it was very successful and was expanded in the late 1990s.
Every weekend, especially during the holiday season, the parking lots were full as shoppers from across the metro area flocked to Flemington.
But as more retail space has been built in Raritan Township and central Jersey and retail models have changed for online shopping and discount stores, Liberty Village has experienced a steady decline.
The 168,836 square foot mall was owned by Simon Property Group, one of the nation’s largest mall developers, which also owns Menlo Park, Rockaway Townsquare and Quakerbridge malls and malls in Tinton Falls and Jackson.
Namdar Realty Group purchased Liberty Village in 2019. Namdar is a privately held commercial real estate investment firm, owning and managing over 51 million square feet of commercial real estate across the United States.
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Mike Deak is a reporter for mycentraljersey.com. To get unlimited access to her articles on Somerset and Hunterdon counties, please register or activate your digital account today.