A redevelopment plan is in the works again for the old Pennsauken Mart site on Route 130.

Camden County officials are close to finalizing an agreement with a developer to build apartments on the vacant 35 acres, said county spokesman Dan Keashen.

"It's pretty transformative," he said in an interview Wednesday. "We're finally there."

An announcement is expected possibly as early as Thursday.

Details about the proposal were not available. The plan calls for retail space as well as apartments to attract young professionals and young families.

"The redevelopment of the Mart site would mean a lot to the Pennsauken community, besides the economics," said township spokesman Frank Sinatra. "To see something grow there with potential to be a new Pennsauken landmark would be a real boost."

The popular South Jersey shopping venue closed in January 2006 and was demolished a year later. Since then, there have been several plans to redevelop the land, now covered with weeds.

There were grand plans to build condos and townhouses, which replaced a plan for a minor-league hockey rink and conference center. Those plans were scrapped, mainly due to a sluggish economy at the time, officials said.

The most recent proposal was for "Renaissance Walk" and KMS Development Partners, a subsidiary of Keating Cos. of Philadelphia, was selected to build the residential component. It was supposed to have been completed by 2012.

Camden County took over the Mart property in 2003 with a $24 million redevelopment grant from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

The Pennsauken grant was one of the first the CRDA awarded to a New Jersey municipality outside Atlantic City. The grant was later reduced to $16.5 million.

Keashen said most of the grant funds were used to acquire the site, tear down the buildings, and conduct an environmental cleanup.

The Camden County Improvement Authority plans to return about $3 million to the CRDA - about half of the proceeds from the sale of the property - for use in Atlantic City, Keashen said.

"We understand and empathize with the challenges the city is going through and are pleased we can provide a financial contribution to it by finalizing this deal," Keashen said.

The redevelopment project will likely be a major disappointment to former Pennsauken Mart merchants and their customers who have long hoped that the shopping center would be revived.

"The proposed redevelopment is the best for the location today," Sinatra said.

Located at Routes 130 and 73, the Pennsauken Mart attracted customers from the region. Its 120 stores offered a variety of things - liquor, clothing, food, jewelry repair, shoe shines, tailoring, pets, and an arcade.

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