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Business is booming

Mayor’s Message: Bernie Platt

Business continues to thrive here in Cherry Hill, with several new companies making the township home in recent weeks, and even more slated for arrival in the coming months.

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To understand exactly what I’m talking about, look no further than the Garden State Park, which just this month began filling its corporate office space, with the arrival of Farmers Insurance Company and DeVry University.

Farmers, the third-largest insurance company in the country, moved into the building at the end of October.

Last week, I toured the beautiful facility, situated above Nordstrom Rack, with the company’s executives, and met with some of the agents who work at the Cherry Hill location — one of Farmers’ first East Coast office sites.

This particular site will serve as a training and recruiting facility, employing a few dozen agents locally full-time, and training an additional hundred or so every year.

The other new tenant, DeVry University, is set to open classrooms, a library and computer labs for its students.

These latest additions mean this particular part of the development — Town Place at Garden State Park — has filled nearly all of its roughly 285,000 square-feet of retail, restaurant and office space.

The marketplace area, home to Wegmans supermarket, is set to open the free-standing Wegmans liquor store this Friday, Nov. 11.

And developers here are not finished yet: site work has begun on a PNC Bank office that will face Haddonfield Road, and construction is beginning on apartment buildings planned for the site.

The first apartment building home to 66 of the 617 total units planned is expected to be completed in the next year.

Just last week, I was at the Cherry Hill Mall with celebrity chef Bobby Flay to celebrate the opening of the newest eatery there — Bobby’s Burger Palace.

And the mall’s owner, PREIT, recently announced that another upscale eating establishment was on its way in early 2012: the Grand Lux Café, an upscale eatery in the Cheesecake Factory

A little further down Route 70, between Springdale and Old Orchard roads, construction has picked up on the 13-acre “Dwell at Cherry Hill” site — a complex of more than 200 luxury, garden-style apartments that has been in the works for several years and, when completed, will certainly fill a need within our community.

From what we’ve been told, the developer expects the first phase of construction (four or five buildings) to be completed in the next six to nine months.

I expect that the entire complex, 18 buildings in all, will be finished in a few years.

Retail and office space continues to move quickly elsewhere in town, as well — as demonstrated by recent transactions reported by Rose Commercial Real Estate.

As of the third quarter, Rose had leased 42,800 square feet of retail space in 2011.

Among its newest tenants are the Dream Car Autohaus, a classic car showroom that opened its Keystone Avenue location last weekend, the Entenmann’s Bakery Outlet on Route 70 and a number of smaller restaurants and fitness studios.

Some 16,500 square-feet of office space has been filled in that same period — including law offices on Route 70 and Brace Road, and a title company that recently moved in on Haddonfield Road.

Long story short, these recent developments, renovations and ground-breakings only reinforce my belief that Cherry Hill is a place where commerce and community thrive; where people want to come to do business.

I look forward to seeing that trend continue in the months and years to come.


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