By Ron Leir
Now it’s official: lawyers for the Wakefern Corp. and the Belleville Center LLC have signed off on a lease for the operation of a new ShopRite supermarket at the north end of Belleville.
The lease agreement will be recorded with the Essex County Courthouse but terms of the deal will remain confi dential until ShopRite begins paying its rent to the landlord, according to Charley Patel, managing member of Belleville Center, LLC, of Flushing, N.Y.
Clutching a copy of the 123-page lease document he received Aug. 17, a relieved Patel said he was “very happy” about fi nally landing an anchor tenant for the Washington Ave. shopping plaza.
“It’s been almost two years since we started talking to ShopRite,” Patel said.
And it’s been nearly twice as long – 22 months – since the former supermarket tenant, Pathmark, moved out, Patel recalled.
While the lease negotiations have now been settled, tenant and landlord still have one fi nal hurdle to overcome – securing Belleville Planning Board approval of a site plan application filed by the landlord.
That hearing – for which no opposition is anticipated – is now scheduled for Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. in the second-floor chambers at the Municipal Building, 152 Washington St.
Documents filed with the Planning Board show that the proposed ShopRite at Belleville Center would occupy 61,058 square feet within the 72,119 square foot Belleville Center shopping center.
The remaining space will be filled with three of the existing tenants: Kelly’s Liquors will take up 4,872 square feet; Pizza Hut, 2,865 square feet; and United Check Cashing, 1,476 square feet.
Another tenant, KFC, has relocated.
Although no land use variances are required for the project, Township Construction Official/Zoning Officer Frank DeLorenzo has listed a number of conditions that the applicant must satisfy to secure site plan approval. To that end, the property owner must:
• Repave and restripe the shopping center parking lot.
• Repair the deteriorating curbing around the islands.
• Submit a landscaping plan.
• Replace perimeter fencing for the parking lot, preferably with “decorative” fencing.
• Submit a lighting plan for the lot.
• Clean up debris and vegetation overgrowth around the lot and screen in the dumpster area.
• Repave the north loading dock.
In the meantime, the landlord has obtained permits from the township building department for some interior demolition designed to separate some of the space that former tenants occupied to create a clear separation from the ShopRite and to move the liquor store to another part of the building, according to Dave Owens of Kan Management, the landlord’s managing agent.
“That work should take two to three weeks,” Owens said. By that time, he added, “we would hope to have building permits for the new liquor store.”
Patel said that Belleville Center would, in addition to meeting DeLorenzo’s conditions, erect a new pylon sign at the entrance to the parking lot and enhance security by installing new surveillance cameras around the building and in the basement level by the garage. Inside the building, Patel said, Belleville Center will install new flooring and energyefficient lighting. “We’ll be going green,” he said. Patel said that ShopRite plans to install a new elevator in the basement that, he said, will allow customers to take shopping carts from the main floor to the garage below.
The Belleville ShopRite will be operated by personnel from Nutley ShopRite, which, in turn, is part of the Wakefern ShopRite cooperative, headquartered in Paramus. Lawyers for the cooperative had to approve the lease terms.