R.J. Brunelli & Co. LLC, the preferred broker for restaurant franchisor Muscle Maker Grill in central and northern New Jersey, announced signed leases for two new locations.

In the first deal, a Muscle Maker franchisee leased 1,500 square feet at the new 350,000-square-foot Bayonne Crossing, to be located on Route 440 and East 22nd Street in Bayonne. The center, which will be anchored by Walmart, Lowes Home Improvement, New York Sports Club, and others, will include Sally Beauty (a deal also brokered by R.J. Brunelli), Sonic, and more. Muscle Maker expects to open in the fourth quarter of 2010 in an inline location.

In the second transaction, another franchisee leased 1,100 square feet of space in a high exposure strip center located at 200 Ocean Avenue in Long Branch. The center, located just south of Highway 36, includes a Windmill restaurant. Muscle Maker is projected to open in the second quarter of 2010, during the busy summer season in an inline space that formerly housed an Asian restaurant.

According to Danielle Brunelli Albrecht, vice president of lifestyle leasing for R.J. Brunelli, leases are in various stages of negotiation for nine more locations in central and northern New Jersey, as well as Staten Island, New York.

Muscle Maker Grill typically requires 1,500- to 2,200-square-foot locations, preferably in former restaurant spaces. With its emphasis on healthy, low-calorie, low-fat foods, the fast-casual chain targets properties that include a health club or have one nearby.

The original Muscle Maker Grill opened in 1995 in Colonia, New Jersey, in a New York Sports Club–anchored center on Route 27. A franchise program was launched just over two years ago, leading to the sale of over 100 franchises in New Jersey, New York, and Florida. Franchisees are seeking locations in Rockaway Township, Hoboken, Paramus, Eatontown, and Staten Island.