For Kushner, another big moment for $500M Monmouth Square project in Eatontown

900K sq. ft. transformation of Monmouth Mall will create contemporary community hub with residential integration

Bye-bye, Monmouth Mall, and hello, Monmouth Square. On Friday, real estate developer Kushner officially broke ground on a transformative $500 million-plus project that will turn the old Monmouth Mall in Eatontown into a modern, open-air town center that will redefine the area. When all is said and done, Monmouth Square will boast 900,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space — including a Whole Foods Market — an expansive public green, a network of pedestrian pathways, 1,000 residential units and medical office space.

“This notable project will serve as a model for transforming underused malls into vibrant community centers that cater to residents’ lifestyle needs. We are turning the traditional mall concept inside out, creating freestanding, easily accessible retail and dining spaces seamlessly integrated with a public green and new luxury apartments,” Laurent Morali, CEO of Kushner, said.

Monmouth Square represents a bold initiative by Kushner to “de-mall” the historic Monmouth Mall, once one of the nation’s largest of its kind with over 60 years of service to the community. Despite its former success, shifting retail trends and changing consumer preferences have led to the need to reconsider the highest and best use for this well-located real estate.

This latest endeavor by Kushner begins with the demolition of approximately 600,000 square feet of retail space, shrinking the retail footprint by 40%. Lord & Taylor, the first department store to be razed, closed its location in 2018 prior to filing for bankruptcy protection, while JC Penney, which shuttered its space in 2022 as part of the retailer’s shift to an online marketplace, also will be demolished. Whole Foods Market is slated to move into space currently occupied by Barnes & Noble, which will be relocated to a new retail building in the town center. The remaining retailers, including AMC movie theater, Macy’s and Boscov’s, will remain open during construction.

Located at 180 Route 35, less than one mile from Exit 105 of the Garden State Parkway, Monmouth Square has been expertly designed by residential architect Minno + Wasko Architects and Planners and retail architects from Benoy and the Dietz Partnership.

In addition to the retail, dining, medical and green spaces, the innovative mixed-use destination will include 1,000 apartment residences with a distinct mix of offerings, a portion of which will be under Kushner’s newly launched Livana brand, designed to meet the demand for sophisticated rental options and an aspirational lifestyle. Project interiors have been designed by Stonehill Taylor.

Monmouth Square will feature a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom homes, complemented by a rich array of upscale lifestyle amenities and social spaces. These include a 40,000-square-foot clubhouse inclusive of a fitness center, spa/wellness space, juice bar/café, coworking lounge, media room, library, pickleball court, half basketball court, golf simulator, children’s room, pet spa and TULU room.

Nicole Kushner Meyer, president of Kushner, expressed her enthusiasm, stating: “Monmouth Square represents a transformative vision that will significantly enhance Eatontown and the surrounding area. We are committed to creating a destination that not only elevates the quality of life for residents, but also positively contributes to the fabric, appeal, and economic vitality of the entire community.”

Michael Sommer, chief development officer for Kushner, added: “Monmouth Square reflects Kushner’s strategic investment in Eatontown and Monmouth County that will also help shape the future of retail and residential spaces. This project is about more than just modernizing infrastructure; it is about fostering a vibrant, sustainable environment that enriches the experience for residents and visitors alike. We are excited to lead this innovative endeavor, setting a new standard for adaptive reuse and community development.”