Work to begin in the spring on new complex in Elizabeth

Grubb Properties plans to start work in the spring on a $75million development to include apartments, shops, medical offices and a parking deck on Elizabeth Avenue.

The project, a block from Presbyterian Hospital's main entrance, is part of the real estate firm's six-year effort to revitalize Elizabeth Avenue between Hawthorne Lane and Independence Boulevard.

Grubb expects tenants to begin occupying space there by early 2010.

Specifically, the project includes:

A 78,000-square-foot medical office building.

20,000 square feet of boutique retail shops.

282 residences in Sterling Elizabeth Apartment Homes, which will wrap a parking deck.

750 parking spaces in a deck, surface lots and on the street.

Grubb Properties said a nationwide trend in demand for new medical office space and Presbyterian's strong growth were key factors in its decision to develop the offices.

Demand for city living hasn't been significantly affected by the lackluster condo market, making apartments a desirable alternative for committed urban dwellers, Grubb said.

Whole Foods Market was to be the showcase tenant on a 3-acre parcel across Hawthorne Lane from Presbyterian Hospital, but that deal didn't materialize. Now, Grubb plans a 22-story apartment tower, upscale boutique grocery, parking deck, shops, restaurants and offices on that block, said spokesman Steve Biggerstaff.

Commercial space – anchored by a boutique grocer – would be delivered in the third quarter of 2010, and the apartment tower in the first quarter of 2011.

Grubb is still working on attracting a movie theater to the Elizabeth Avenue project, Biggerstaff said.