It's one of the most frequently requested stores at the Jersey Shore, and a new one could be coming to Monmouth County.

Middletown, are you ready for Wegmans?

Wegmans in Manalapan (Google Maps Street View)

The hugely popular grocery store is part of a proposal from the controversial project known as The Shoppes at Middletown.

The massive complex would run along Rt. 35 from Kanes Lane to Kings Highway East, and would include 340,000 square feet of retail shopping and restaurants, plus a housing component.

The developer, National Realty & Development Corp., announced on their website that the retail center will be "anchored by a new Wegmans and CMX Cinema, a boutique dine-in theater as well as a unique blend of specialty retail and restaurants with outdoor cafe space." They expect it to open in 2019.

Middletown Patch notes that the project has not yet been approved by the Middletown Planning Board.

The Shoppes at Middletown also faces heavy opposition from a group called Stop Village 35 and parent company Minding Middletown LLC They cite traffic and environmental concerns as reasons the development should not be allowed. The property is currently a mostly wooded area.

As someone who lives nearby, I would LOVE to have a Wegmans so close. In fact, that's really the one thing I missed most when I moved to Red Bank! I do have to agree with the opposition though that traffic on Rt. 35 through that area is already rough, and this project doesn't seem to address the problem.

I think a lot of people my age are gravitating more towards these types of places, where you can live/work/play all in one place, so the idea of it is appealing, but I feel like this will be traffic nightmare. (Especially because it doesn't take into account the new retail space planned to take over the garden center in the island on Rt. 35 at the north end of this property.)

The next Middletown Planning Board meeting is set for Wednesday, June 7th.

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