Three adjacent projects in Stratford NJ started this week on a new Royal Farms, a new road to the Rowan-Virtua campus, and the remodeling of the former Bradlees building into an industrial use.
Royal Farms Stratford
Royal Farms Stratford will be positioned at a prime spot on the White Horse Pike directly next to the traffic light controlled intersection which serves as a main entrance into the larger shopping center property. Previously the lot was home to a building which housed a restaurant and movie theater.
The Royal Farms is likely the “biggest surprise” of the three Stratford projects that I am updating on here, because after the initial big push from Royal Farms to open up locations in South Jersey they’ve been quiet for a few years now regarding new openings.
Many likely thought we had seen the last Royal Farms opening for the counties of Camden and Gloucester.
But plans for this Stratford location were known for several years, so it’s possible that the Stratford location is more about closing out some earlier contractual obligations and not a new second wave push for the convenience store brand in South Jersey.
Stratford’s Mayor regularly publishes updates on commercial developments within the town, and even with delays on the start of this new Royal Farms location, in almost every single update the Mayor references the Royal Farms… fully with the tone that it was still going to be developed.
And last week construction crews showed up on site.
Then on July 20th the official Borough of Stratford Facebook page announced that the site work is underway to build the Royal Farms convenience store.
In my visit Friday I could see that the top surface of parking lot and remnants of prior developments were removed, stripped down to raw earth.
The Stratford Facebook post states that the effort underway now is targeted for initial site preparation, and a separate Royal Farms contractor will develop the core building/project. It is possible that we see a gap in the start of the building after the site prep work is completed.I
If you are unfamiliar with Royal Farms, they are a convenience store and gas station store in the same category as Wawa.
There are significant similarities between many of the nations convenience store gas stations chains, but in the case of Royal Farms and Wawa… Royal Farms is known for their fried chicken, and Wawa is known for their hoagies.
Royal farms is based out of the Baltimore area and has 274 locations.
in the 42Freeway core area they have locations in Bellmawr, Gloucester City, Magnolia, Blackwood, Cross Keys Rd , Paulsboro and a few others.
I am unaware at this point of the expected opening timeline for the new Stratford location.
Virtua Health College of Medicine & Life Sciences – New Road
Adjacent to the Royal Farms site and cut back through the trees, construction has started on a new road to provide a direct access road from the White Horse Pike to the Rowan-Virtua School of Osteopathic Medicine.
Last week the Stratford Facebook page also made the announcement of the start of this new road project.
Both the sitework for Royal Farms and this new road are being developed by Brandywine, who own the shopping center (minus the Bradlees building, which was recently sold)
This new roadway will come off of the same traffic light intersection I mentioned that Royal Farms is next to, and head back through the woods towards the Rowan-Virtua campus.
In my visit last week the trees had already been cleared out, crews were working on leveling out the ground and the remaining portions of the upcoming roadway.
It was reported last fall that Rowan and Virtua made a deal to create a new college for the Stratford campus called “Virtua Health College of Medicine & Life Sciences.” (Inquirer)
The campus combines Rowan’s School of Osteopathic Medicine, Rowan’s School of Nursing and Health Professions, and Virtua’s Our Lady of Lourdes Nursing School under the new college, plus a new school of translational biomedical engineering and sciences.The Philadelphia Inquirer – Nov 7, 2022
It appears a goal of the new roadway is to give the Stratford medical campus a more direct and defined entrance towards the much more heavily traveled White Horse Pike. It should provide an easier route for those looking to visit the Medical Campus.
The medical campus sits directly next to Jefferson Stratford Hospital, and those parking lots are connected… so I imagine that this new roadway off the White Horse Pike will also be available to those visiting Jefferson Hospital
That being said in my quick online searching I could not find a clear overhead depiction of the upcoming roadway and its access points.
Velocity Ventures and the Bradlees Building
42Freeway reported last month that the long closed Bradlees building was sold to Velocity Ventures with the plan of converting the building into an undefined warehouse/industrial use.
A key model of Velocity Ventures is to purchase underutilized commercial spaces and convert them into more attractive, leasable spaces.
At the time of purchase, Velocity did not have tenants signed on for the property, and are investing the money up-front to turn the space into a flexible light industrial or warehouse offering.
For the Bradlees building that means the signature angled front façade will be removed, and truck garage bays will be added to the front of the property.
Workers are on site now and it looks like they are focused on that effort to remove the protruding front façade.
Links and Locations
Royal Farms Stratford – Under Development
White Horse Pike
Former Bradlees Stratford – Velocity Ventures
222 S White Horse Pike
Stratford, NJ 08084