Since February, the demolition at Route 37 and 166 has been taken shape with widespread demolition and rebuild of 100,000 of combined square feet of retail space.
Emerald Apartments tenants have been living right next door to it all. A went up to the south. A large-scale stormwater basin for the plaza was dug yards from the backyard fenceline.
The ShopRite construction is over, but there's still a restaurant pad to build and the realignment of Presidential Boulevard. There's customers coming to ShopRite and .
We asked some local residents and staff at Emerald Apartments and Terrace View how the experience has been during construction.
“It’s been a long time coming. We had to get through the pain to get to the pleasure,” said Betsy Tiazkun, Emerald and Terrace View employee.
With the easy access to the grocery store, Tiazkun said that it even increased the number of renters.
“All the activity is a wonderful thing for the community,” Tiazkun said.
On Nov. 16, ShopRite opened for business. Access to Presidential Boulevard is blocked for the time being while the intersection from Old Freehold Road is re-aligned. Since the only entrance to the Presidential Blvd. apartments is through the Crossroads Center, security helped direct traffic.
It's been an inconvenience, Tiazkun said, but “It’s been bared with...good things are going to come.”
Property Manager of Emerald and Terrace View Apartments, Jolene O’Leary, pointed out the easy access to shopping as a contribution to the community.
“It’s good for residents! Especially for the residents who don’t drive,” said O’Leary.
Tiazkun agreed, saying besides an obvious convenient location, the store stocks convenient, pre-cooked meals: “Residents won’t even have to cook.”
However, there's been dirt, noise and detours. ShopRite came down in late March through April.
Tiazkun said none were permanent. “We lived through the dirt, but it will wash away,” said Tiazkun.
Tracy McFarland has been a tenant at the Presidential Blvd. apartments for three years. While waiting for her son's school bus to arrive, she said it's actually increased neighborhood traffic. Plaza customers are using the roads thinking it's an exit.
“It’s good for business, but for living here, people think they can cut through the plaza,” said McFarland.
Some unfamiliar with the area cut through the apartment complex, thinking an exit will be on the other side. Instead, it just gives McFarland a good laugh with all the cars that drive around in circles trying to get out the same way they came.
It's been a bit hard navigating around during the detour. “As the construction progresses, we’ll able to get out of here easier,” she said.
The construction has caused slower traffic for those simply exiting their residence on their commute to work, she said.
“It’s only bad temporarily until they’re done with all the construction,” said McFarland.
With a reconfigured Old Freehold Road and Presidential Boulevard, plus access points along Route 166 and 37, she's hoping the plaza's design will alleviate the traffic she experiencing during construction.
“I have hope that the traffic with Route 9 will calm down,” she said.