Middletown Town Center
The Middletown Town Center is a planned mixed-use complex in Middletown, New Jersey. It is very highly criticized because of traffic concerns along Route 35, and the fact that it will be located in one of the only open space areas in Middletown. The plan has been around since 1993.
The town center would feature up to 750,000 square feet (70,000 m2) of retail space; 250,000 square feet (23,000 m2) of office space; 4500 parking spaces, 4 single family homes; 220 townhouses and apartments; and set aside space for a school to be leased to the Township.
The development will create 2,909 permanent jobs paying annual wages of $74,600.00.
The concept plan for the school calls for a 600-student school that would house a central kindergarten and special needs pre-k students, which would free up room in the existing school district.
There would also be work on roadways to improve traffic in the area. There will be 11 entrances onto the property, 4 entrances from Kanes Lane, 4 entrances from Kings Highway East, and 3 entrances from Highway 35. The plan is to include an additional lane on the northern side of Highway 35 and provide a double left turn lanes and jug handles to carry traffic across Route 35 at Tindall Road.
Criticism and controversy
The Town Center is under heavy criticism because of traffic concerns, and the use of open space.
Mountain Hill LLC, the developer of the project, has been criticized for counting grass parking medians and retention basins as open space.
The proposed Town Center would be 3 times larger than the Holmdel Town Center and 6 times larger than The Grove.
Another concern is the threatening of a small strip mall, home to "The Evil Clown", a giant sign previously used to advertise the Food Circus Grocery Store that used to be on the site. The "Evil Clown" is highly covered by the Weird NJ Magazine.
A group against the town center has a logo with the words "Town Center" with a line through it. Posters of this are popular around the Middletown area.