Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield said it plans to build up to nearly 1,400 residential units as part of the major redevelopment and diversification of its large mall in North Jersey, one of the flagship U.S. properties that the global retail landlord decided to keep and is now looking to spruce up.
Paris-based URW and its co-developer Mill Creek Residential, based in Boca Raton, Florida, have kicked off the process of seeking local approvals from the Paramus Planning Board for their reimagining of the Westfield Garden State Plaza, one of the largest malls in New Jersey and a top-performing mall in the United States. The next borough hearing on the development is slated for Oct. 5.
URW, the owner and operator of shopping malls and other real estate in Europe and the United States, unveiled plans for the mall’s transformation into a mixed-use property in May 2019, with Mill Creek coming on board in August 2022. The vision is to create a town center, a community hub for a sprawling suburb, with new residences and green space complementing Garden State Plaza’s existing retail, dining and entertainment offerings.
The first phase entails the construction of about 575 luxury apartments that “will be integrated with the shopping center via a one-acre town green for residents, visitors, and shoppers to enjoy, and will also introduce a main street outdoor district featuring restaurants and everyday conveniences and services,” according to URW. An additional 809 residential units are on the horizon, the company said.
URW is one of a number of large retail landlords — a group that includes Simon Property Group and Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust — that are busy diversifying their malls by adding new uses such as multifamily housing, fitness centers, hospitality properties, office space and healthcare locations. The goal is to attract foot traffic for the site’s retailers and other tenants.