Clarion, MRP Industrial Break Ground on Final Phase of Burlington Center Mall Redevelopment in New Jersey

by John Nelson

BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. — A partnership between industrial development firms Clarion Partners and MRP Industrial has started construction on the final phase of The Crossings, a redevelopment of the former Burlington Center mall located in the Philadelphia suburb of Burlington Township. The last phase comprises 500 multifamily units, including affordable housing options, that are set to open in late 2025.

The new apartments will cap a six-year effort by Clarion Partners and MRP to transform the 800,000-square-foot enclosed regional mall into a mixed-use destination. In addition to the planned multifamily component, The Crossings will feature more than 2.5 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space, approximately 135,000 square feet of retail space and a 153-room hotel at full build-out.

Clarion Partners and MRP expect The Crossings to support 1,400 new jobs at full capacity, including 900 in the warehouse sector and 500 in retail and hospitality. Moonbeam Capital Investments, the Las Vegas-based owner of the former Burlington Center mall, assisted in the redevelopment efforts.

“The Crossings was made possible by the cooperation of Burlington Township and County elected officials, who recognized the opportunity to transform a blighted shopping mall into an integrated, vibrant and economically viable mixed-use development that satisfies the needs of a wide diversity of stakeholders,” says Dan Hudson, managing principal of MRP Industrial. “We believe that The Crossings will serve as a national model for smart growth strategies that involve public-private partnerships working together to achieve goals that best meet the needs of the community.”

The retail component was developed in partnership with Ferber Co. and features freestanding outparcels housing tenants including Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, Raising Cane’s, Panera Bread and SleepNumber. Discount Tire is expected to open soon.

Walmart and Maersk are prominent industrial tenants within the development. A fourth and final 210,000-square-foot warehouse/industrial will be constructed on a pad-ready site in the future based on leasing pace, according to the developers. Additionally, negotiations are currently underway to determine the hotel developer and operator.

The Crossings is one of several mall redevelopments underway in New Jersey. Others include Kushner Cos.’ redevelopment of Monmouth Mall in Eatonton; Pacific Retail Capital Partners’ redevelopment of Bridgewater Commons in Bridgewater; and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s transformation of Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus.

JLL, tracking 153 mall redevelopments, reported that 46 percent include a mixed-use component that includes retail. Capital One Shopping Research forecasts that “as few as 150 malls will be in operation in 2032,” which is a stark drop as the firm estimates that there are 1,150 malls operating today. Capital One Shopping Research also reported that 2 million square feet of mall space was demolished in 2022.

The Rouse Co. opened Burlington Center in 1982. The mall housed more than 100 stores and department store anchors including Macy’s, JC Penney and Sears. Clarion Partners purchased the former mall in 2019 from an affiliate of Moonbeam Capital, which previously purchased the property out of foreclosure in 2012.

Clarion Partners, headquartered in New York City, has nearly $77 billion in assets under management and has developed more than 250 million square feet of industrial space since its founding in 1982.

Baltimore-based MRP Industrial has delivered more than 32 million square feet of space since 2013.

— John Nelson

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