Walmart wins legal battle to build in O.B.

State Supreme Court declines to hear case against retail store at Route 18 & Marlboro Road

Staff Writer

Plans to bring a Walmart Super Center to Route 18 and Marlboro Road are moving forward again after the state Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the Old Bridge Planning Board’s approval of the project.

After nearly three years of being tied up in the courts, the 150,000-square-foot retail store appears to be just a little over a year away from opening its doors at Route 18 and Marlboro Road.

“We’re very close, within days, to issuing the construction permits for the Walmart,” Mayor Owen Henry said. “We’re hoping to have a groundbreaking within four to six weeks.”

William Wertz, director of community and media relations at Walmart Stores Inc., said the company is currently reviewing bids on the project ahead of awarding a construction contract.

“We hope to begin construction in early fall and have the store completed in the fall of 2013,” he said.

According to Wertz, Walmart will be hiring 250 to 300 associates to staff the new store.

“We are very pleased to be moving ahead and bringing jobs, economic development and lower prices to customers in the community,” said Wertz.

In 2009, the Old Bridge ShopRite at Route 9 and Fairway Lane, owned by Shakoor Supermarkets, filed a lawsuit against the Planning Board and the applicant, The Golf Center Inc., charging that the board acted improperly and overstepped its authority in approving The Golf Center’s plan to construct a superstore on Route 18.

However, the board’s decision to approve the project was upheld in both trial court and the state Superior Court’s Appellate Division. Earlier this year, the state Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the lower courts’ decisions, giving Walmart the go-ahead to begin construction for the new store.

The East Brunswick Planning Board recently approved plans for its own Walmart, seven miles north of the Marlboro Road site on the Golden Triangle property at Route 18 and Tices Lane.

The Marlboro Road Walmart will be the second in Old Bridge, joining the existing store on Route 9 south near the township’s park-and-ride.

The new store will be located in the socalled Crossroads redevelopment area of the township, where routes 9 and 18 meet. The Walmart will sit on 53 acres formerly home to Legends Golf Center. It is the only part of the 500-acre Crossroads tract that is not owned by the township. The new Walmart will be in close proximity to Old Bridge’s first and only hotel on Spring Valley Road. The four-story, 100- room hotel received approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment in April. The applicant, SAS Properties Old Bridge LLC, indicated during the hearings that it was considering franchise opportunities with four different hotel chains. The drawings presented by architect Kamlesh Shah were consistent with the designs of a Hampton Inn.

“That’s going to be an area where people are really going to see things happening over the next few months,” Henry said.

Contact Adam Joseph Drici at