Princeton Junction is considered prime real estate. Unfortunately, the area surrounding one of the state’s busiest mass transit hubs has been mired in political wrangling and a lack of serious ideas.
But that’s about to change. The owner of Somerset-based Cyzner Properties has acknowledged that a deal to purchase the 16-acre Acme site at Route 571 and Alexander Road will be completed shortly.
Irv Cyzner is hoping to hit the ground running to beautify Windsor Plaza, the formal name for the site, once it happens. Among his plans? Possibly a high-end food store (such as gourmet powerhouse Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market of New York City), a “white tablecloth restaurant,” and a bakery.
Cyzner says a store like Balducci’s is ideal for West Windsor. “We have an affluent area and a large daytime business population,” he says. “We intend to deliver a nice, appealing shopping center for them.”
Cyzner’s involvement in developing two bank buildings for Bank of America — which has a branch at 64 Princeton-Hightstown Road, across the street from the Acme — led him to Windsor Plaza. “They suggested we look at this site,” he says. “It’s been kind of neglected and could use a complete facelift and redo.”
The Acme store has been closed for a year, and the collection of stores that remain, including Bagel Hole and Rite Aid, have not changed their outer appearances. The result has been a run-down visage that has drawn much criticism as an eyesore.
Cyzner plans to “encourage our customers there to upgrade their retail stores and to match pretty much what we’re doing to the outside.”
As for a timeline, the project is subject to township review. West Windsor Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh said late last month that a deal was imminent in the coming weeks, although he could not give details.
Shortly after the Acme closed last May, the Dreher Group, a Princeton-based commercial developer that also owns the Rite-Aid pharmacy site across the road, reportedly had been under contract to buy the entire shopping center from the Courtney family, the original owners of Windsor Plaza. Rumors circulated that Dreher was looking to bring a high-end Kings market to the center, but no such deal ever came to fruition.
The family hired a new management company, Silbert Real Estate and Management Inc. of Millington, to handle leasing of the center.