NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Borough residents will have another location to grab a cup of coffee with the pending arrival of Starbucks in the Village Shopping Center.
In a joint announcement made by Mayor J. Brooke Hern and the shopping center owner, Starbucks has entered into a long-term lease to open a store front on the north end facing Springfield Avenue, which has long been occupied by Prudential Realtors.
Prudential will remain in the shipping center moving to a new location, Hern said.
“We are poised for great changes in our downtown,” Hern said. “It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with Urstadt Biddle (shopping center owner) because they share our commitment to strengthening our local economy, attracting more consumers and putting shoppers on the sidewalks in New Providence.”
Equally enthusiastic was shopping center President Willing Biddle. “As a new owner, we have really appreciated the warm welcome of the mayor and members of the Borough Council who share our vision to attract the best quality tenants to the town,” Biddle said. Urstadt Biddle has a longstanding relationship with Starbucks and owns numerous shopping centers that contain Starbucks facilities including in Connecticut and New York.
Another official commented that the addition of Starbucks would build upon a strong existing tenant mix and expressed thanks to Prudential for their willingness to relocate within the center to accommodate Starbucks.
"I am thrilled to have Starbucks coming to New Providence. I'd like to thank the folks at Urstadt Biddle properties for their hard work in wooing Starbucks to come here. They deserve all the credit. To the best of my knowledge, the Mayor and Borough Council were not involved in the negotiations to bring Starbucks to the Village Shopping Center," said Councilman Gary Kapner.
However, wooing of Starbucks to New Providence has a complex history dating to a decade ago, according to Mayor Hern.
Hern said that prior to seeking elective office, he stopped in a newly opened Starbucks in East Hanover that began a long quest to bring Starbucks to New Providence.
Hern claims that while waiting in line, he noticed several corporate officers on a visit to the new site. Striking up conversation, he said he turned the chance encounter into an opportunity to develop a relationship that would lead to an on-going effort to attract Starbucks to New Providence.
“Every time I saw a store go vacant, I called Starbucks to let them know,” Hern recalled. After he was elected to the Borough Council in 2004, he said he contacted local landlords to help arrange for site visits.
Over the years, Hern said, he walked Starbucks officials through several vacant store fronts while extolling the great opportunity the borough represents for an iconic coffee shop to become part of the local business community.
“Starbucks is a destination and I recognized how much our local businesses would benefit from the draw of Starbucks,” the mayor said.
In addition to Starbucks, other changes are taking place in the shopping center. The former Chen’s Restaurant is undergoing extensive renovation to house Dim Sum Villa.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated since it was originally published this afternoon as further information was provided.