Brunswick Square Mall; East Brunswick, New Jersey

Brunswick-Square-Mall-01

I keep an eye on the comments, and I know there’s been a few stats junkies who’ve been paying attention to the ratio of malls-to-population that we’ve posted. I know there’s also been some (undeniably true) grousing that we haven’t posted anything about New Jersey in ages. Well here you go! The catch is, you get something boring. Sorry.

The Brunswick Square Mall is a really dull one, but I’m tired and I had a bloody mary a little bit ago, so this is what the vodka will let me bang out at this hour. The photoset here is also a bit old–taken November 2006–when I did a swing through New Jersey that got photos for a few other malls on the site, including Monmouth Mall and the Shore Mall.

The Brunswick Square Mall is a Simon-managed, 769,000 square foot enclosed mall located along New Jersey route 18, a little southeast of New Brunswick. The mall is more or less a modified old dumbell, with JCPenney and Macy’s as the primary anchor stores and Barnes & Noble and Old Navy as junior anchor tenants.

Brunswick Square was originally developed by DeBartolo in 1970 with JCPenney and Bamberger’s as anchor stores. There were plans in the late 1980s to turn the relatively undersized mall into a larger destination with a second level, but plans were ultimately scaled back significantly due to concerns over traffic and a poor economy. Instead, there was a much smaller expansion at the end of the 90s that brought Barnes & Noble into the center.

Brunswick Square is one of the smaller and less interesting malls in the glob of Jersey suburbia, but given the traffic-clogged nature of the region’s roads and the high population surrounding the mall, it seems to do okay (more major malls like Freehold Raceway Mall, the Quakerbridge Mall, or the malls in Menlo Park/Woodbridge kind of flank it on all sides but none are especially close). This particular area of Jersey’s suburbia is dense, busy, and overall pretty mid-market, having been developed primarily in the explosion of post-war suburbia around New York. But like most of New Jersey, there are isolated pockets of affluence scattered about, even if Brunswick Square is a defiantly plain-jane, middle of the road kinda place. I saw an old dude sleeping on one of the massage chairs here once, and that pretty much sums the place up. I doubt anyone goes out of their way to swing by this palace of excitement, but it’s close to home for an awful lot of people.

Hey, I said it was boring. But as They Might be Giants once sang:

New York has tall buildings, New Jersey has its malls
Pisa has a leaning tower will it ever fall
The ocean has the fishes
London has a tower
In Holland they have windmills , lots of banks and pretty flowers

But where…?
Where do they make balloons?

And you guys sure DO love them Jersey malls. Fill us in.

245 Responses to “Brunswick Square Mall; East Brunswick, New Jersey”

  1. Oh Brunswick Square, ridiculously close to both Menlo and Woodbridge.

    You didn’t mention the Mega Movies “Food court” – the theater decided to be smart and add some food to this food-less mall, and they somehow even managed to get a Ben & Jerry’s there.

    Weak mall but thanks for covering another Jersey one!

    [Reply]

    Caldor Reply:

    @AceJay, yeah, I have a big reserve of “dull” malls, I try and squeeze them out from time to time so I don’t have a huge stock of boring ones. There’s a reason this one sat around for 3 years before it was posted… at least the photos aren’t *new* anymore!

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    AceJay Reply:

    @Caldor, Oh don’t worry, nothing’s changed :v

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    Jonah Norason (Pseudo3D) Reply:

    @Caldor, Even though traffic is often slow, I have a small stockpile of articles I’d like to premier. This includes Memorial City Mall, Post Oak Mall, and a few others. All in Texas. It even has a small, practically dead mall in Huntsville, Texas.

    [Reply]

    Jonah Norason (Pseudo3D) Reply:

    Furthermore, although a few are explored in Southern Retail, I plan to swing through Houston to take pictures.

    [Reply]

    Caldor Reply:

    @Jonah Norason (Pseudo3D), we can definitely take them though I can’t promise any timeframes for getting content up… I have a lot of stuff in a backlog that I’ve been sitting on awhile. That said, the more bundled up you can make what you send in (edit to send the best 20-30 photos, include as much background information as possible in a similar format to what we usually post), then the quicker and easier it is to post, which means we tend to get to it more quickly. And of course, we do love submissions since we can’t be everywhere at once and it’s kind of fun to see things through someone else’s eyes from time to time. You can mail anything to caldor@labelscar.com.

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  2. I remember Brunswick Square from when I went to Rutgers. It was never a big regional draw, and the only people I knew who didn’t think it was “cheesy” were those who grew up in East Brunswick (which was surprising, since EB is one of the more affluent towns in that area). I certainly felt that way, and it looks like not much has changed. In almost any other metro, this would be the mall that is doomed to die. But if anything, Brunswick Square may be one of the rare malls that actually benefits from overdevelopment. There is so much traffic on all the major highways in the area that 1) any big-box store on one commercial strip is also on all the others, and 2) getting to another, bigger mall takes longer than the maps indicate. Brunswick Square may not be much, but when people are faced with the prospect of sitting on 1, 9, or 287 to go elsewhere, it’s enough.

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  3. I’m told the theaters used to be McCrory.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Bobby P. (TenPoundHammer), True! And the McCrory’s used to have an outside entrance….when the movie theatre expanded to MegaMovies (they were right next to McCrory’s), they moved into their space and also took over their outside entrance.

    They also had a Roy Rogers in Brunswick Square…right up to about 2000!

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    NYR Reply:

    @mallguy,

    Roy Rogers was actually still open until mid-2003, when it closed. I worked security dispatch in this mall back in ’02-03, and the Roy Rogers still did fairly decent then. However, it wasn’t very clean, which probably was the reason it shut down.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @NYR,

    And I miss that Roy Rogers, believe it or not, however, the ‘Fixins Bar’ was a health hazard!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Health hazard? That must have been one nasty fixins bar. But I begin to wonder about most fast food joints & those fixin stations.

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  4. This was one of the closest malls to me growing up. Back in the day, its interior was hideous-looking: large flourescent lights, bland white and pink tile, fake trees. The renovation about 10 years ago definitely cleaned up the interior. I agree…nothing too exciting here, but the MegaMovies was expanded from a 5 screen movie theater (before that it was a two screen). On any given Friday or Saturday night, one will see loads of local teens here, considering that EB and Spotswood do not have downtowns to speak of.

    Their plans to renovate and expand in 1989 (about the same time Menlo expanded, Bridgewater opened and Freehold opened) were very impressive and I think it definitely would have served the area well had they followed through. EB did not want to deal with the extra traffic it would bring and the construction that would have plagued Route 18 and Rues Lane by the mall.

    I am surprised that they have Hollister here, but I’m also surprised they don’t have a Gap.

    [Reply]

    DayGlo! Reply:

    @mallguy, There was a Gap at Brunswick Square until sometime in the mid-90s: http://www.nytimes.com/1997/11/16/nyregion/shopping-around-beginnings-they-re-everywhere-but-they-didn-t-used-to-be.html

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @DayGlo!,

    I remember it…right across the way from Roy Rogers and the movie theatre on the JCPenney wing. It was definitely an “old-school” Gap. They clsoed that location when they decided to move to the 18 Central Plaza a little farther up Route 18. That Gap lasted up until last year.

    Surprisingly, Brunswick Square isn’t the only mall without a Gap…Bridgewater Commons also does not have one! Due to space issues they were forced out and reopened 5 years later at the Somerset Shopping Center, a power center 1 mile south of the mall.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Ahh! long time no post.

    If I remember correctly the theatre was owned by Movie City a locally owned circuit. When this theatre was replaced, the rest of the theatres were baught by Clearview Cinemas AKA Cablevision. The Edison location on Oak Tree Road was sold & regained the Movie City name.

    As far as the mall goes it remineds me of the former New Rochele Mall wich was opened in 1967. Both malls had similar architecture, with pink tiled floors & transim windows above the storefronts to bring in more natural light. You saw that in malls of 1960s & early 70s vintage including Walt Witman & Willowbrook in Wayne. I wonder if that feature still exists since the remoddle.

    I think it took me only 15 minutes to become board &thaught that the trip was a total waist of time.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, East Brunswick back in the 80s and early 1990s had three movie theatres within its borders. In its early years, the movie theatre in Brunswick Square was a General Cinema. Movie City 5 was in the strip mall on Route 18 and Hillsdale Road just south of Brunswick Square. I’ve seen many a movie there growing up. They had this creepy overflow lot in the back of the building due to its lack of light, and you had to go through a slim alleyway in the mall to get around to the front of the building. It closed a few years after the Brunswick Square movie theater expanded to five screens. The old Movie City 5 is now a furniture store. There was a 3rd movie theatre in East Brunswick, the Loews/Sony Theatre Twin, on Route 18 just north of Tices Lane. That closed when Loews opened their New Brunswick 18 screen theatre on Route 1 on the site of the old US1 Flea Market. The old Movie City 5 in Edison was a second run movie house a few years this decade and then closed…it is now desserted (as is most of Oak Tree Center, sadly).

    I am sad they never did the two level expansion. There was talk that they were either going to bring Lord and Taylor in on it, or bring the stand alone Sears on Route 1 down to the mall. If they had replaced the two lights on Route 18 that serve the mall with overpasses and place a median on Rues Lane, traffic would have been fine.

    One change they did do recently is they changed the lights in the parking lot, making it a lot brighter at night!

    Brunswick Square was always kind of dark on the inside (and they never had fountains either)…the renovation did a better job of bringing in more natural light, but it still could use more. At least those God-awful florescent lights are gone.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I also stopped over at Mid-State Mall on that same trip. Holy crap what a mistake! That was one of the creapyist strip centers I’ve ever sene!

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, When was your trip? I ask because MidState Mall has been fixed up a lot. The ShopRite there is one of the best in the areas, Best Buy and Staples have huge locations, New York Sports Club opened where the old bowling alley and the parking lot, thank goodness, has been redesigned and been given better lighting. There is also a stand alone Starbucks. The only problem is they haven’t found a tennant for the Borders (which was never renovated) that closed in 2007.

    Talk about Dead Strip Malls on the Route 18 Corridor, that goes to 18 Central. Used to have Kids R Us, The Wiz, Office Max, The Gap that left Brunswick Square and a really old-school Barnes and Noble. Office Depot later opened there and closed.

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    Bobby P. (TenPoundHammer) Reply:

    @mallguy, here’s a 2001 page on Mid State: http://www.siteride.com/srpl/p_snapshot.pl?subNum=10215000464

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    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, It’s been well over a decade since I’ve gone to Mid-State Mall.

    Thanks for the update. Glad to see that center get the TLC it needed & did it ever need work. Kind of reminded me of a Wess Craven movie set. LOL

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    Ken Reply:

    @mallguy, There used to be a large bathtub style fountain
    in the middle section of the mall. It a had 2 shower heads on each
    end. There was lots of foliage around the fountain as well. I think
    they took it out in 1983. I loved sitting at the fountain with my
    grandmother when I was a kid. I’d get a soft ice cream cone from
    Hot Dogs & More. When they took the fountain out they
    planted trees throughout the mall with corresponding
    skylights.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Ken, Really? I can’t believe I have no recollection of that fountain!

    Looking back, teh soft serve was probably the only thing I’d eat at Hot Dogs N More…some nasty, Subway-like smells came out of that restaurant!

    And up until a few years ago, the Subway in Brunswick Square had a really nasty smell…no surprise there, as most of them do.

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    KBG Reply:

    @Ken, I think my dad installed that fountain. As a young child, I used to go to the area malls with him before the stores opened when he had to do some work. It was sort of creepy-cool to be the only people in there. I remember one time when we went up on the roof of Bambergers. At the time, I thought I was the luckiest kid ever! Lol.

    [Reply]

    Ken Reply:

    @KBG, That’s awesome! I always wanted to go up on the roof of Bamberger’s. There was a security shack up there. Do you have any pictures of the fountain?

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Ken, I second the motion for pics of the old Brunswick Square fountain! Again, I can’t believe I don’t have any recollection of it!

    [Reply]

    Al Smith Reply:

    @mallguy,

    They had fountains in 1970 when they opened. But only in the center, They did away with them when they did the first remodel when they added the much needed skylights.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Al Smith, What year was the renovation to which you are referring?

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    Sliknik Reply:

    @mallguy, Do you happen to remember the name of the steak place in the Brunswick Square Mall that was like a cafeteria? It was there in the 70′s and early 80′s. On the Macys wing of the mall.

    [Reply]

    Ken Reply:

    @Sliknik, York Steakhouse

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  5. It is also very nice to see that Macy’s had been renovated and modernized to look like the rest of them in the area. I remember back in the 1980s when a car crashed into one of the entrances in that Macy’s!!!

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  6. I also remember that up until the mid 1980s, they had some of the most awesome Christmas decorations around! They set up Center Court to look like an oversized Christmas village…at one end was Santa in a sleigh and at the other end was ‘Rudolph’s House” where a talking Rudolph animatronic would “Sit at his window and talk to the kids and everyone passing by.

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  7. I like the JCPenney. That’s about it.

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  8. The JC Penney somehow looks better than the usual brutalist stores of the 70s, despite the bulky proportions–the brick may be part of it. The mall sounds like it started out with the usual cheapness and lack of imagination that DeBartolo put into most of their malls, and had what little character stripped out by Simon, which seems to be their usual pattern.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Rich, That JCPenney has not been renovated EVER! It still looks like it did when it opened.

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  9. The picture – funny enough, the Wakefield Mall (RI) Waldenbooks ISN’T on the list, the one at the Warwick Mall is. I’ve been to both, but as a kid I got a lot of books at the one in the Warwick Mall, especially once one of the independent pharmacy/convenience stores in my town shut down its basement-level book department and moved it to a much smaller space upstairs, cutting the selection. Also remember the Jordan Marsh bakery in that mall. Mmmm. Blueberry muffins.

    Haven’t shopped in a Waldenbooks in years, though. And I pretty much only shop at Borders with coupons or sale items. Or to pick up a hard-to-find magazine. Pretty much the same with Barnes and Noble. Still go to independent bookshops, though.

    [Reply]

    Caldor Reply:

    @PaulC, haha, yeah, I actually wrote this article before I saw the list itself. I picked the Wakefield Mall shot more because it was one of the clearer shots I could find with a Waldenbooks logo in it, but… oops! It makes sense they’d keep that one since there’s no big box book stores in south county RI yet, and there’s a population there that probably still buys books (given proximity to URI etc.).

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @PaulC, Speaking of Waldenbooks, there used to be one in Brunswick Square that had the lime green interior until about 2 years before Barnes and Noble opened. Once B&N opened, Waldenbooks lasted for about another year and then closed.

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  10. It’s so nice to see a New Jersey mall profiled on Labelscar again. (It has been over two years since the last New Jersey mall was profiled on this site.)

    While Brunswick Square Mall may be relatively tiny, its anchors are quite large: according to Wikipedia, JCPenney is 223,626 square feet, while Macy’s is even bigger at 244,000 square feet.

    To Mallguy, it appears that you have actually made a mistake. (This is hard to believe since you are correct almost 100% of the time.) Specifically, this mistake refers to JCPenney: it does not look exactly like it did when it opened, since the hardware, appliance, electronics, sporting goods, and automotive departments no longer exist. (The entire chain dropped those departments in the 1980′s.)

    Please forgive me for my rudeness, but it would be most appreciated if Labelscar could profile another New Jersey Mall in the near future. In fact, there are so many really fascinating malls (not yet profiled here) from which to choose, including Bridgewater Commons, Garden State Plaza, The Mall at Short Hills, Menlo Park Mall, and The Shops at Riverside.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Max,

    Sorry you took me literally, lol. If you look at other JCPenneys in NJ, they have been renovated at least twice, now many of them have the white marble-like tiling in the store (and green in the mens department in some stores). Brunswick Square still has the ugly white flooring, nearly the same lighting it has had since its opening. Even the Burlington Center JCP is more modern-looking than Brunswick Square’s! The only other JCP that seems to have not been noticeably renovated is Quaker Bridge.

    Mind you, I haven’t been in the store in about a year, so I’ll stand corrected if they have renovated.

    I do agree with you and will second your request for Labelscar to profile additional NJ Malls! You covered most of the good ones, but Livingston Mall, Rockaway Townsquare and Quakerbridge would work as well.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Bring on the New Jersey Malls! They are winners just like the 27-time world champion New York Yankees!

    [Reply]

    AceJay Reply:

    Cherry Hill’s JC Penney is incredible. Worth a visit if you haven’t seen a fancy one yet. Hell, CHM is worth a visit by itself.
    And QB’s JCP hasn’t been renovated because they were SUPPOSEDLY going to do that whole expansion which involved tearing that JCP down and building a brand new LEED-certified one, lol.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @AceJay, Funny you say that…I went to Cherry Hill Mall yesterday since their amazing expansion. I wrote about it on the CHM thread.

    If Brunswick Square were to ever expand, I have a feeling that all the local malls (Woodbridge, Menlo mostly) would expand, renovate or remerchandise in response so they don’t lose those Southern Middlesex shoppers.

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  11. Honestly most malls are pretty boring, which is why you see so many die. What makes some tick that are (like this one) and others get euthanized and eradicated…including some that seem pretty cool. I’ve had my share of boring malls in my portfolio. Malls in most of the south are were overall plain, simple and dumpy. I think the thrill for me is to find one that has held onto its 70′s/early 80′s vintage, which tends to be difficult to find but surfaces from time to time.

    I just try to cover what I can and let the architecture and design (or lack of) speak for itself. I just wish that the more interesting malls had held on longer. The most fascinating mall projects of the 70′s either got drastically modified into something generic or died off because they were too awkwardly laid out, small or dated when a standard, but more contemporary mall opened nearby. It seems to me the most interesting malls are found in one of two circumstances: mountainous terrain or limited land to build on, both with an inspired architect. Think Cinderella City (lack of land) and Asheville Mall (steep terrain).

    This is just a classic example of a plain, simple mall with a few interesting brutalist trappings on the outside. The Penney’s reminded me of a cross between the demolished Cumberland Mall store of one of my posts and the bulky mother ship appearance of the alive and well Northgate Mall store I covered on a more recent one.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @JT,

    Retail competition is so intense in NJ that it seems everyone is updating something. This is why very few NJ malls become Dead Malls. During this decade alone, at least 18 of NJ’s almost 30 indoor malls have been expanded, remerchandised or renovated. Everyone benefits from the result.

    Brunswick Square may be small, but it has tried to keep its store selection as updated as possible, considering its size, and they did another great thing by renovating the interior. (I wish somebody had pictures of the hideous interior…the only old Brusnwick Square pics I have are of its impressive Christmas sets in the early 1980s) It serves the locals’ purpose of having the basics and being convenient.

    There’s always my hope that Simon decides to expand Brunswick Square to having a 2nd floor and a 3rd anchor (this will also lower the vacany rate along route 18…currently the corridor with the 3rd highest retail rents in the state), but I don’t think EB wants it and with the economy the way it is, Simon’s not jumping either.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Simon put all of it’s projects on hold at least for now. I agree an expantion is in order, but what should be added that is destenational & doesn’t already exist there or even in the metro area at large.

    The questions I posted above are challenging, but if anyone can answer them you can.

    [Reply]

    JT Reply:

    @mallguy, I disagree on having a third anchor. Mall anchors as a whole are really struggling, and with so few to choose from any restructuring or bankruptcy would hurt a mall if it loses one of three anchors. In fact, I feel that no department store anchors are safe. I’m of the opinion right now that only 1-2 department stores should anchor a mall like they did originally. Junior non-department store anchors are okay, but they should be planned carefully.

    The malls today in the greatest danger of failure are ones that put a high emphasis on their department stores…typically, these are the ones with 3-6 department store anchors built before consolidation fever in the mid-00′s aside from a few superregionals. The lucky ones were the ones that got those anchors knocked down in the bubble. The ones who waited too long got stuck, and it is a worrisome scenario. I say that as I am watching a mall with 4 of 6 anchors actually open with apparently no plans to deal with the vacancies.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @JT, I can see your argument in this economic time, but what happens in the rest of the country isn’t always the case in NJ. In Brunswick Square’s case, there is a stand alone Sears in New Brunswick….the mall would offer more if that Sears were to move to Brunswick Square…Lord and Taylor would be nice too, but with their status now, I don’t think that’s realistic.

    Speaking of vacancies, on the other end of Middlesex Co, the former Fortunoff in Woodbridge Center is still vacant and they have a big banner facing route 9 advertising the number to call to lease it.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, What about Willowbrook. If the zoning allows, a hiper-market or similar consept could solve the vacancy. After all that is quite a large store.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I assume you mean the Fortunoff vacancy? Haven’t heard anything and “the new” WTC looks like it’s in trouble…they tore the mall down and Dick’s I think pulled out.

    Believe it or not, back in the late 1980s/early 1990s, after the rejection of the Brunswick Square expansion, there were some that worried Brunswick Square was going to turn into a Dead Mall. A lot of stores were closing and about the same time, Bridgewater Commons, the new Menlo Park and Freehold Raceway Mall all opened. The 1st movie theater expansion and the eventual renovation and expansion w/ B&N and MegaMovies saved it.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Yes I ment Fortunoff.

    I assume WTC=World Trade Center?

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    AceJay Reply:

    @SEAN, lol no Wayne Town Center :v

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @AceJay, My bad. It’s been a while since I’ve been on that thred, I was brainlocked.

    I don’t remember where I read it, however I saw an article reguarding Route 18 & it’s traffic issues a few days ago. I think NJDOT wants to widen the road from Route 1 through EB for aditional public Transit service & mixed use development in the mall area as well as the EB Transportation Center.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Really? NJDOT just finished a massive widening project, C/D addition and overpass construction (aka New Brunswick kickback) on Route 18 in New Brunswick. The Route 1/Route 18 intersection rehab is down the road, but I haven’t heard about changes further into EB. Two years ago, they finished a project reconfiguring the jughandles and lights on Route 18 between Tices Lane and Highland Drive. I would be surpised if Route 18 is futher widened in that area…as it is now, it has no shoulders and getting the land for the project may take a while. If anything should be done on Route 18, the Naricon Place/Tower Center Blvd, Edgeboro Rd/Old Bridge Turnpike and Rues Lane intersections should be changed to overpasses/grade separated interchanges…and if Brunswick Square is ever expanded, the current Route 18 light should be made into an overpass.

    On the EB Transporation Center (aka “Golden Triangle”) they built a large (and needed) parking deck and moved the transporation center. They were planning on a transit village on the site, but the developers who wanted to build apartments/condos there pulled out with the economy. I think further plans with the Golden Triangle are on hold.

    I can’t believe I forgot about this one, but about 2-3 years ago, Simon planned a “Bistro Row” at Brunswick Square, facing Route 18, to compete against the upcoming Summerhill Square lifestyle center (which is still not finished), further up Route 18.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Perhaps the widening that was already done on 18 was part of that project? I’ll bet anything the state is waiting until ecconomics improve to start building again. After all it wouldn’t be NJ without some developer getting paid off. Meanwhile the state is trying to expand it’s transit village program, why not EB do to it’s central location & large transit center.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Here is a link about the legal wrangling going on with the Golden Triangle in EB . Things are messy there between the developers and the township and I do believe that site is underutilized.

    If it ever will be developed, it will definitely give Brunswick Square a run for their money and I hope Simon continues to keep watching.

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    Rich Reply:

    @JT, malls and even large strips came later to the South than the rest of the country, which may explain the blah-ness. Even by the late 60s, the template was in place and developers with a national scope (and no imagination) like DeBartolo were inascendence. The same retailers turned up in very mall and often, only the largest super-regionals had anything interesting. Over time, it’s just gotten worse, with the exception of some upscale malls.

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  12. my husband lived less than a mile from Brunswick square when he was a kid. He went on his first date at Movie City, and used to go to Farrels Ice cream at the mall.

    He said Farrels was awesome, and they would sing and perform for birthdays….also if you ate a whole gallon of ice cream they sounded a bell or whatever.

    Also this mall looks eerily like the other 70′s developed Debartolo mall…Ocean County Mall in Toms river NJ…another one level mall…I love that mall! Its a weird shape. Used to be a Dumbell til like 92 when they made the food court area.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @mandy_Reeves,

    Yes, Ocean County Mall was a DeBartolo mall…and it had an almost identical interior to Brunswick Square (and they used to have 2 fountains, albeit small), prior to the 2003-04 renovation…now OCM is a lot nicer.

    Farrell’s was awesome…I’ve been to many a birthday party there during my childhood.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @mallguy, I cannot believe I forgot this update…I was in CA last year and observed that Farrell’s has come back, in Mission Viejo (they’re also in Hawaii). Wish they would come back to NJ!

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  13. Brunswick Square back in its day also had the distinction of having some unique eateries…next to JCPenney facing route 18 used to be Farrell’s (also was in Paramus Park)…an “All-American” resaturant/ice cream shop with decor that looks like it would fit in perfectly at Disney’s Main Street USA…I went to many a birthday party there back in the day. They also had chains of the York Steakhouse (also was in Monmouth Mall), which was a Ponderosa-like cafeteria style steakhouse which had an interior that looked like something out of the mead hall depicted in Beowulf.

    Brunswick Square also had Bun N Burger (a short order hamburger place with a very large counter) and on the downside, they had “Hot Dogs N More” which was known for offering some of the craziest hot dog toppings around (I still remember some awful smells coming out of the place).

    Where Olive Garden is today was Victoria Station, a steakhouse resaurant that had a very distinct design. Diners ate in boxcars and traincars that were attached to the main building of the restaurant.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @mallguy,

    Speaking of the York Steak House, they are apparently still open in Columbus, Ohio. That was a pretty cool restaurant back in the day and it would be one I’d like to see come back.

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  14. I don’t know the Brunswick Square mall. But, I like the exterior design of the JC Penney store, based on the photograph. I know it is big and rectangular, like the typical mall anchor store, but there’s something more going on in that design. Kind of an international style vibe, warmed up with some brick.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @James, It’s a much better design than Macy’s there. I always found Macy’s in Brunswick Square to have one of the ugliest exteriors going!

    [Reply]

    James Reply:

    @mallguy, I agree. The Macy’s is very ho-hum (based on the photo), but the Penney’s design seems to suggest the use of an actual architect. Like someone actually cared what the building would look like.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @James, It’s sad that JCPenney doesn’ t look as cool on the inside as it does on the outside…and up until last year, the inside of Macy’s was just as ugly as the outside.

    [Reply]

  15. Great post!!! Thanks for covering a NJ mall. I suspect there are a lot of mall fans in NJ. The Farrell’s was classic. I thought the “Hot Dogs N More” was called a “Hot Sam” at one point. Roy Rogers had their fixins’ bar, and at one time there was a ‘The Children’s Place’ which had a play area, slides and things. Great memories.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @newbrunswick,

    Hot Sam was just off center court on the Macy’s wing…it was a small pretzel place. I remember the Children’s Place too!

    [Reply]

  16. 50 comments in under a week….I guess we all like our Jersey Malls, lol! Let’s see more!!!

    [Reply]

  17. More New Jersey malls? I need to submit more Texas malls, to balance things out!

    [Reply]

  18. This entry has special resonance for me, as Brunswick Square was my local mall growing up. I spent many Saturday afternoons going to York Steak House or Farrell’s with my family, followed perhaps by a movie or some pinball at Fun-N-Games. I bought many of my early favorite records at Harmony Hut – and later, when I discovered new wave, made the trek across the street to Record Setter, which was located inside a tiny house and had a decent selection. Oh, sure, I knew that Brunswick Square was an underdog; that point was more than clear when we’d visit Woodbridge Center or Quakerbridge. But I loved it anyway.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @mike, Yes! Fun-N-Games…that lasted well into the 90s. Funny how times have changed…now Woodbridge is the underdog to Menlo Park and Quakerbridge is the underdog to Oxford Valley.

    It’s nice to see Brunswick Square had held its own over the years and found its niche.

    [Reply]

  19. I’m surprised nobody has mentioned something fairly obvious–or maybe it’s obvious only to me. BSM is a prime example of what Simon can do with a mall if they really care about it.

    When I was at this mall in 2002, it was fairly dark and smelled funny. While not a dead mall, vacancies were higher than normal. Fast forward six years to my next visit. To my surprise, BSM was absolutely beautiful. Good crowds, no more funny smell. True, it’s far from perfect–the Spencer’s was small and cramped and the Charlotte Russe looked like a bomb had hit it–but it looked to me like Simon invested a great amount of pride and money into this mall.

    As someone said upthread, if BSM were located anywhere but Jersey, it would have most likely been toast years ago.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Debbi,

    Yeah, that smell is definitely gone! I used to think it was Hot Dogs N More and then Subway (in its early years), but overall, the mall looks a lot nicer…now they’ve been trying to add in soft seating. It also helps when one of the major anchors renovates after all of their area counterparts have.

    And if Simon really, really cared about the mall, they would further expand it.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, How much acreage is there for some kind of an expantion. Could structured parking be added to allow for an increased footprint. If so, what anchors or junior anchors could come in despite the fact that Menlo Park & Woodbridge are so close by. Having said that… you already pointed this out that Woodbridge is slipping & is GGP able to sign top tier tennents with there finantial situation

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    It’s a tight squeeze in the back, but the parking in the back can be made into a deck, for sure! If they ever brought a 3rd anchor in, Sears would work fine (they have a stand alone store on Route 1 in New Brunswick…I’m surprised they haven’t pushed to move in), as would Lord and Taylor, but I don’t think they’re currently in a position of expansion.

    B&N and MegaMovies already work as junior anchors. I would like to see a 2nd floor on the mall, as well as more sit-down restaurants, possibly even fronting route 18 in a ‘Bistro Row’ format used in Cherry Hill.

    Another interesting note: the Route 18 Corridor (of which Brunswick Square is a part) is in the top 5 of most expensive retail rents in NJ (last I read, it was at #3)

    [Reply]

    Debbi Reply:

    @mallguy, Maybe they’re not expanding it just yet because they *do* care about it and waiting because the time is right. Better to be patient with these kind of things.

    I’d be sad if Woodbridge slips. It’s still just about my favorite mall, ever, as much as I love Menlo Park and Freehold Raceway Mall. It’s always occurred to me that only because it’s in Jersey it does as well as it does–if it were located anywhere else, it would have been a goner years ago.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Debbi, Economic times are not good, but as Brunswick Square was the closest mall to me when growing up, an expansion would be nice to see :) And if there were an expansion, improvements would have to be made on Route 18 near the mall.

    I think the future of Woodbridge Center will be determined by what is done with the vacant Fortunoff anchor. It is sad to see the state WC is in these days. Also, if you haven’t been in the vicinity of Woodbridge and Menlo in a while, NJDOT has fixed up Route 1, while in my opinion, the fixup wasn’t enough, traffic moves a lot better on that highway!

    [Reply]

    Debbi Reply:

    @mallguy, I’m coming up for the holidays on Tuesday night, so I might just get to see it for myself on the drive back from the airport. Although short of getting rid of half the cars in Jersey, traffic will never be smooth enough, LOL.

    What’s the vacancy rate at WC these days? I’m anxious to see how my favorite NJ malls are doing. (Do I dare venture into the FRM thread? LOL!)

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Debbi,

    I honestly don’t get to WC very often because there is a safety issue there and I prefer others over it, but I do know that the vacancy rate is actually pretty low, except for the former Fortunoff.

    All the area malls (with the exception of Monmouth Mall) are doing pretty well…

    [Reply]

    Debbi Reply:

    @mallguy, How badly is MM doing? With Seaview Square gone, it’s hard for me to imagine them as a dead mall. Eatontown/East Long Branch aside, the demographic is middle-to-upper-middle.

    I’m wondering how the Shoppes on Route 18 (or whatever the place was called) is doing. Although I’ll get to see for myself (sort of, I’ll be driving by past midnight) on the way home from the airport tomorrow night.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Debbi,

    With Long Branch, you would be surprised! Amazing what they have done there, especially Pier Village…take a ride down Ocean Blvd, you’ll be in shock! Still some not too nice areas of LB, but overall, the city has made strides! MM is struggling (vacant Boscov’s anchor and hasn’t been replaced….I was there last weekend and posted about going in the MM thread), but surviving…the fact that they just opened a new B&N is promising.

    On Route 18, the Shoppes at Old Bridge (at Route 9 and route 18) is complete and doing very well. Summerhill Square (the former Meyer’s) is not complete…only open so far are a Toys R Us/Babies R Us combo store (the TRU @ Lohemann’s Plaza has closed as a result). Also, MidState Mall on route 18 is doing well, except for a vacant former Borders. The 18 Central Mall is pretty much dead (where The Wiz and Kids R Us used to be).

    [Reply]

    Debbi Reply:

    @mallguy, I’m surprised and pleased to read your report on The Shoppes at Old Bridge. When I visited, I thought for sure the place was DOA.

    I’m not too surprised to read your report on Long Branch. :) I knew about Pier Village and how it’s bringing back LB from the death spiral they went thru after the boardwalk burned down over 20 years ago. On an OT note, I’d love to see LB go a little old school and bring back some of the amusements; alas, as we all know the town government looks down upon those residents who stuck there through thick and thin.

    As long as it’s just the Boscov’s and everyone isn’t leaving the mall in droves, IMHO this is just a temporary bump for MM.

    Driving down Route 18 wasn’t exactly in my plans, but we’ll see if I can take a detour. :)

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Debbi,

    I am so incredibly impressed with the resurgence of Long Branch. Pier Village just expanded out to Ocean Blvd (new apartments and a new botique hotel…no retail this time) and is doing very, very well. With their leases, they require the retail and restaurants that open to have year round hours. The developers have been successful in making PV a year round destination…mind you it’s a lot more quiet in the winter, but people still do come.

    The residents of LB actually had a victory…the city tried to use eminent domain to expand the Beachfront North condo development and those on that block challenged the city and won. They do want to rebuild the Pier, but amusements/rides/etc aren’t planned. MM is worrying me and we all mentioned in that thread how we’re concerned Vorando isn’t stepping up, but I appreciate your optimism.

    Shoppes at Old Bridge started slow, but is doing well. There are plans to build a second Walmart in OB just north of the Shoppes on Route 18, but I don’t see it happening.

    Speaking of the route 18/Brunswick Square corridor, the one store (actually a really nice supermarket) that I would love to see open up is Wegman’s, but I don’t see it happening soon due to economic issues.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Another interesting note: the Route 18 Corridor (of which Brunswick Square is a part) is in the top 5 of most expensive retail rents in NJ (last I read, it was at #3)

    Are Paramus & The Mall at Short Hills the other two?

    Debbi, I know where your comeing from. My main issue is that Menlo Park being two miles away from Woodbridge & several stores do overlap. Does that raise a red flag?

    In Paramus on the other hand as a conparison the answer is a resounding no, but that is a unique situation there.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Route 4/17 in Paramus is #1 and Route 10 between Livingston and Parsippany (Livingston and Short Hills near one end of that corridor) are #2. I think 23/46/3 from Wayne-Clifton and Route 22 round out the top 5.

    And in Woodbridge and Menlo, some stores do overlap (Macy’s speficially) but a very different atmosphere in the 2 malls has developed as a result of the demographic the two malls go for; Menlo going more upscale and Woodbridge going more midrange. I don’t think the overlap is a problem. Route 1 is less of a factor these days in deciding between the malls.

    Brunswick Square is successful because of the convenience factor to Southern Middlesex County and northern Monmouth County.

    [Reply]

    Debbi Reply:

    @SEAN, I don’t really think so, stranger things have happened. For years in Monmouth Mall, I remember a Wet Seal and a Contempo Casuals existing together…and not even in different wings, we’re talking less than 1000 feet apart! It wasn’t until Wet Seal started having financial problems that CC went bye-bye.

    Anywhere but NJ, that might be problems, but we Jersey folk, as said before, can be quite loyal to our malls. Plus if both stores are doing well, why fix what isn’t broke.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Debbi, Funny how malls in NJ function vs everywhere else. Paramus/ Hackensack, Woodbridge/ Menlo Park, Livingston/ Short Hills… I just find it amazing how the dynamics play differently here. I guess Jerseyites love there malls.

    [Reply]

    Bobby P. Reply:

    @SEAN, I think the only example of that in Michigan is in Troy, where you have Oakland Mall and Somerset Collection about 4 miles apart. Both are very close in size (pushing 1.5 million each) and both have Hudson’s->Field’s->Macy’s among their anchors. Oakland is more of a mid-range mall (Sears, JCPenney, Borders, Famous Labels) with white-bread tenants such as Victoria’s Secret, American Eagle, Foot Locker, etc., while Somerset is more upscale (Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks are the other anchors). There is maybe a 10-15 store overlap besides the Macy’s. (Oakland Mall itself is maybe two miles from the now defunct Universal Mall.)

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Bobby P., In NJ, back in the 80s and the early 90s, malls were a lot smaller and little overlap existed (example GSP: Macy’s, JCPenney, Gimbels/Hahnes/Nordstrom; Paramus Park: A&S, Sears; Riverside: Bloomingdale’s, Saks; Bergen Mall-Sterns, Obrachs/Steinbach)…once the malls grew (GSP, Menlo, Short Hills, etc) and Federated condensed/merged, the malls were able to survive because of traffic patterns, consumers’ inability to drive in it (that is why Brunswick Square does so well) and locations.

    They will continue to survive as long as their marketing strategies stay consistent and they stay as modern and current as possible….I wait to see what the wrench called Xanadu does in North Jersey (if it ever opens, lol).

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Bobby P., BTW, I have seen pics of Somerset Collection and, WOW! What a nice mall…looks as if it rivals Short Hills out here.

    [Reply]

    Bobby P. Reply:

    @mallguy, Yeah, that’s Michigan’s main “upscale” mall. It has the only Needless-Markup in the state, as well as the second Saks (which predated the mall), which is now the *only* Saks in Michigan after the one at Fairlane Town Center (a replacement for a downtown store in Detroit) demoted to Off Fifth and subsequently closed.

    Somerset also had the state’s only Nordstrom until new ones opened at 12 Oaks Mall and Mall at Partridge Creek, both fancy malls in their own right. Besides them, Livonia’s Laurel Park Place and Grand Rapids’ Wodland Mall are the only upscale malls in the state.

    [Reply]

    Debbi Reply:

    @SEAN, It is and it often crosses my mind. If WC had been located almost anywhere else, we’d be reading its obituary now. Because it’s in NJ, it’s doing well, same stores and all.

    So when does Woodbridge Center get its own page? ::hint::

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Debbi,

    I second that hint (and I have pics of the former fountains in WC…as I have them from QB, Willowbrook, GS Plaza and a few others in the area.)

    I would add to your hint with Menlo Park, Short Hills, Bridgewater Commons and Garden State Plaza)

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Bigger hint-King of Prussia, Stamford TC, Danbury Fair, & Roosevelt Field as well. I was at the latter over the weekend & going to the former this weekend. Phili will never be the same again.

    BTW, I wonder about the status of Fairlane Town Center. Since Lord & Taylor & Sacks both left, how much trubble is Fairlane in right now.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Agreed…I wonder what that vacan’t Macy’s/Stawbridges/Wanamaker’s will be. Last I was out there this summer, it was still undecided.

  20. Mallguy, When I find out what’s going on there I’ll post it here. KOP is on of about thirty malls I would call ressession resistent. GSP is another one that fits into that catagory. Brunswick Square, I’m not sure on that one unless Menlo Park & Woodbridge are also factored in as a block.

    Happy Thanksgiving BTW! Debbi too!

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Happy Thanksgiving to you as well! I agree. Most of the NJ malls are recession proof…Brunswick and Menlo are both fine. Right now, the only one I’m worrying about most is Monmouth Mall. Woodbridge can go either way, depending on what happens with the vacant Fortunoff.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I wonder if a restaurant row & cinema complex could work in the former Fortunoff at Woodbridge. Yes, Menlo Park has a 12-plex theatre, but it is a sloapped floor set up unlike Mega Movies wich has stadium seating auditoriums. Yet MP is just a few miles away from WC & most of the large theatre circuits are in contraction mode right now especially AMC & National Amusements.

    Maybe you have more insight on this as far as what GGP is working on. Target?

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, They’ve got nothing going apparently. When one drives past the mall on Route 9, once can see a big banner on the former Fortunoff that says “Anchor for lease, call (and the #). Considering there is a Target across the street from Menlo Park and one 5 miles up routes 1&9 in Linden, I doubt they would go to Woodbridge.

    I do think a Restaurant Row and cinemas would work. WC has some good restaurants, but not to th level of Menlo.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Where’s Macerich! They would get Woodbridge into shape faster than my ability to type this message. LOL

    At least get a Borders or something to make that mall a little less depressing. It feals as if the mall needs a giant Zoloft. Mallguy do you know any mall psychotherapists? LOL

    I know a lot of posters here rail about Simon & at times it is deserved, but you must agree that they got Menlo Park right. Also Newport Center has been moving in the right direction as well as Brunswick Square. However BS needs a bit of a push to bring it inline with it’s piers.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Borders would be a very good addition to Woodbridge, considering there isn’t another Borders around for 12 miles. If they had one similar to Freehold Raceway Mall’s, that would be a good thing. Macerich did wonders there and would do wonders with both Woodbridge and Monmouth Mall, which is on more life support than Woodbridge.

    Simon didn’t buy Menlo until about 2003 and they have done a good job there. They have also done well with Brunswick Square, but I don’t think we’ll see anything new there until the economy improves.

    [Reply]

    Debbi Reply:

    @SEAN, Belated thank you. :-) Hope your Turkey Day was happy too.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Debbi,

    So what were your impressions of NJ’s ever evolving retail scene this Thanksgiving weekend?

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Debbi, yes turkey day was good. What malls did you hit & what was happening. I’m sure things here are better then the malls in the WPB area.

    As for me, I went to KOP Saturday. It wasn’t as busy as I thaught it would be despite black Friday being a zoo from what I was told. Even Bahama Breeze restaurant located across the street from the mall wich normally has an hour wait on any given weekend was somewhat quieter then the past few times I was there.

    [Reply]

    Debbi Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Sorry to say, I didn’t get to check out the malls. I only really had access to a car at night, after the malls were closed, and no way was I going near one on Black Friday.

    I did get to drive by MM on Friday night on my way to Long Branch…nice sign, LOL. But sad to see Compact Disc World packed it in last summer. I give them credit for hanging on for as long as they did. Guess that just leaves Totowa now.

    Also the Shoppes at Old Bridge….good to see things are happening there, and that it will end up being a complement to BSM, not competition.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Debbi, Oh well, next time.

    While visiting NJ did you have any Dunkin Donuts coffee? LOL Personally I thaught you calling DD’s coffee the most overrated on the planet absolutely one of the funnyest lines I’ve ever read on this blog. *claps hands*

    The next time you come back you have to check out what some of the malls have been up to. Or in a few cases what they have not been doing to stay rellevent.

    You here me WoodbridgeCenter?

    [Reply]

    Debbi Reply:

    @SEAN, I don’t need to go to NJ to have DD coffee, plenty of them here, although at least their presence isn’t as obnoxious.

    LOL, glad you liked my comment. :)

    Next time I’m back, I definitely want to check out the local malls, though Woodbridge might be a stretch.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Debbi, I get it. Woodbridge is a stretch for anyone. when you figure your other options in the area. Woodbridge & Brunswick Square are near the bottom of the NJ mall food chain vs Garden State Plaza & Short Hills for example. Although to be fare Woodbridge was near the top at one time & could be again if somebody cared enough to do an extreme makeover. Hmmm! ABC how about it. LOL

    Happy Holidays to you!

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Despite being near the bottom of the NJ mall food chain, Brunswick Square was quite crowded with Christmas shoppers today. Last week, I was also at Willowbrook and Short Hills and both were very crowded for midweek evening Christmas shopping. Additionally, I happened to be in NYC last week and despite the cold, 5th Ave in the 50s was as crowded as I’ve ever seen it!

    Even though the stores are getting the shoppers out, many are emerging from the stores empty-handed, as I’ve seen more shoppers without shopping bags and purchases than with…just a sign of the economic times, I guess.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, IN NJ there is an old saying about malls, “if you open it they will come.” LOL I just made that one up. Good to see Brunswick Square with high foot traffic. How were Menlo Park & Woodbridge performing.

    I guess if Menlo Park is doing well, you could say they’re on Target. Or at least across the street. LOL

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    You’re batting 1000 with these today, lol.

    In terms of foot traffic, Menlo has been doing very well this holiday season. Weekends have been very, very busy. And getting to the mall is a lot easier now that the Route 1 construction is finished and as a result, one does not see GSP South Exit 130 backed up for 2 1-2 miles.

    Not sure about Woodbridge, since I really don’t go there often. I’m one of those people that do not find it too safe these days. Woodbridge was one of the malls I frequented when I was growing up, so I’m rooting for its renaissance one day soon enough.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, My mall growing up was the Galleria in White Plains. Now I try to avoid it unless I need to go there to visit My friend Paula who is the marketing director. She also does the Westchester as well. She really knows her stuff.

    Today I’m a Westchester/ Roosevelt Field/ Garden State Plaza/ Menlo Park/ King of Prussia shopper. LOL Life has it’s challenges. Now if that doesn’t cause laughter, then I give up!

  21. In terms of expanding Brunswick Square, if I had my way, I would make the entire rear parking area parking decks, add a 2nd floor on the mall, improve the center court by making it larger and more square-shaped, put a food court adjacent to Center Court and attaching to MegaMovies, make the whole route 18 side a restaurant row/lifestyle area and even consider building a small wing off center court/route 18 which I would anchor by either a relocated Sears or new Lord and Taylor. Roadwork would have to be completed by making Rues Lane an overpass interchange, the light on Route 18 a flyover ramp/overpass into the mall and maybe put a light or two on Rues Lane to access the mall.

    Just my little Brunswick Square fantasy, I guess, lol.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, See if you could get some funding from Goldman Sacks for such a project. LOL I’m totally onboard with this. one adition rent some parking spaces as a park & ride to get as many cars off the road durring rush-hour as possible.

    I know the Transportation center is not all that far away, but it is better than a parking lot that is 98% empty durring the week. Willowbrook does this & could you imagine if other malls followed the same trend? there would be a lot less traffic congestion on the road.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Yeah, a 3rd Park and Ride for EB, lol (the 2nd being Neilson Plaza at Tower Center next to the Turnpike). It could work with a furher expansion of the parking lot.

    [Reply]

  22. The security gaurds are so sweet and helpful. especially this one guy…something hanrahan or something. Hes so great at his job and he should be in charge. the extra money i guess he would get wouldnt hurt either. he is by far the best mallcop they have

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Jen, And they have a lot to deal with because Brunswick Square, more so than the other area malls, has a “teenager problem” since all the East Brunswick, Old Bridge and Spotswood kids eventually find their way to this mall since those towns have no central downtown area.

    [Reply]

  23. Walked through the mall last night and noticed that the Deb shop and the Thriftway DrugStore were holding store closing sales

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @mike,

    Noticed that too, but I’m not overly surprised….the mall already has similar stores to Deb and drugstores are leaving malls nowadays (CVS, RiteAid and Walgreens…2 locations of each are in very close proximity to the mall).

    Despite its size the mall still gets a crowd, especially Barnes and Noble on the weekends.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, What do you call a tight corner in a Barns & Noble store? *Jeopardy! think music plays in the backround*

    Anyway the loss of Deb & the drug store is not a big deal. I’m sure those spaces are already spoken for.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I’d have to say a “Nook” (And that “Nook” is another reason why they are shellacking Borders in sales) Speaking of B&N, the one in Brunswick Square is small, as compared to area B&Ns in Menlo, North Brunswick and Holmdel, but it does very well and is always busy!

    Yeah, I’m not concerned either. The past few years, Brunswick Square has been doing pretty well and consistently has a low vacancy rate.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, *Applause*. You the man!

    Any chanse Brunswick Square has new restaurants added in the near future?

    Oh, speaking of restaurants, you will be amazed with the number of recent & near future restaurant openings here in Downtown White Plains.
    Buffalo Wild Wings open
    5 guys February
    Anthany’s Coal Fired Pizza open
    Cheeburger Cheeburger March
    Serafina
    Panera Bread open
    Chipotle recently anounced
    Wesstchester Burger Co. open

    All this spands less than a year.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I haven’t seen or heard about anything new in the past 2 months in Brunswick Square…or on Route 18 for that matter. Hooter’s did open up about 4 miles north on Route 18 about a year ago though.

    And speaking of new restaurants, Short Hills is finally getting a Cheesecake Factory.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, It was just a matter of time for Short Hills to get a Cheesecake Factory. I’m a bit surprised it’s not Grand Lux Cafe though. Grand Lux fits that mall perfectly.

    If I’m on 18 I’m passing up on Hooters & going to stuff Yer Face instead

    J! E! T! S! JETS! JETS! JETS!

    Time to reset Big Ben’s clock. LOL

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, For years, I was expecting a Grand Lux there, but I don’t think they’ve opened new locations in a while. I’m hearing it’s going to be outside the Macy’s mall entrance near JFK Parkway or in the soon to be closed Johnny Rocket’s with an expansion.

    Stuff Yer Face is not on Route 18 anymore…now “Gusto Grill” (pretty good restaurant and different bar atmosphere than Stuff Yer Face). It still is in New Brunswick on Easton and Hamiltion though…they have one of the best beer selections in Central Jersey!

    J!-E!-T!-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! for sure! On to the Big D!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, LOL I ment I would drive over to Stuff Yer Face & forget about Hooters on 18 all together.

    If you ever go to Grand lux at all, try the pork ribs $25 or the glazed sammon $21. My gf had the former & I had the latter.

    On Mike & Mike this morning, Greeny Picked Pittsburgh hoping it helps the JETS as he is the kiss of death with his picks this season & Golic went with the JETS although he really wasn’t strong in his convictions.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Speaking of Hooters, they are being sold to Chantleer a Charlotte NC based private equity furm. I just saw the article & no price was disclosed.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I went to Grand Lux Cafe in GSP two years ago and thought it was pretty good.

    It seems as though many more are jumping on the Jets bandwagon now after their win in NE last weekend. We shall see what happens on Sunday.

    [Reply]

  24. any idea what they’re opening where bennigan/fuddruckers used to be? i see the bennigan’s lot was is sold.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @bsm4life, There’s a controversy going on about that now.

    [Reply]

  25. The JCPenney at Brunswick Square is FINALLY getting renovated. So overdue! Not sure if Sephora is opening in there, but they are in the Freehold JCP (and renovating that one…which really doesn’t need a renovation, if you ask me)

    [Reply]

  26. I ran across a very old photo which I strongly suspect is an interior shot of the Brunswick square mall. Does anyone possess a tenant list from the early seventies?

    Photo is on a facebook group so I dont know if this link will work

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=235766439798199&set=o.54327291195&type=1&theater

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Al Smith, That is not Brunswick Square. I’m going to take a guess and say that’s the old Menlo Park. Still trying to figure out which area of the mall it is.

    The old Menlo Park Mall was 1 floor. Alexander’s was on one side (about where the current center court is today), made a straight route to Macy’s (then Bamberger’s) after passing a 2 level Woolworth and a one level JCPenney, then wrapped around Bamberger’s. There used to be a side entrance in the mall to Bamberger’s as well, where a small fountain was located, but that entrance was closed off in the early 80s. That pic, I am guessing is in between where the old fountain was and the central area where the mall entrance to Macy’s Bambergers was located. It’s looking toward the Bamberger’s/Macy’s Court.

    Brunswick Square pretty much looked the same until its much needed renovation in 1999. Still wish they would’ve gone through with the expansion planned here in the late 80s/early 90s.

    [Reply]

  27. Was in Brunswick Square yesterday and for a mall its size, you’d expect it to be more quiet than Menlo or Freehold, but it was as busy as I’ve seen it in a very long time!

    In the mall, the much needed JCPenney renovation is complete. It has also been announced that Crazy 8 and Panera Bread are coming…I’m very happy to see Panera at Brunswick Square! They are also building a third mall entrance directly from the parking lot and I’m guessing it’s going to be next to JCPenney to the rear parking lot.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Panera will do well at Brunswick Square. The malls they tend to enter are strong mid-tier level properties. However most Panera’s tend to land in strip centers if not in stand alone sites.

    They have been on such a growth mode it’s been incredible to watch. Infact the “fast casual” restaurant segment is the fastest growing right now followed by the “Better Burger” & ” new age pizza catagories.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I will be curious to see if this Panera has outside access, considering it’s located next to/a part of the old Farrell’s, which had outside access. The space, after Farrell’s closed, was subdivded into a bank, a childrens store (both with outside only access) which I believe recently closed.

    EB residents have been wanting Panera for the longest time and no longer have to drive to the next towns (Old Bridge and North Brunswick) anymore for it.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, The Panera’s I’ve sene in malls have outside access. The Westfield Trumbull is interesting in that it is technicly outside on the upper level, but from the mall you take an elevator from inside the food court.

    I left a pair of articles on the FRM thred for you.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Of the other two Paneras in malls that I recall seeing, Paramus Park has outside access, Mall in Columbia did not.

    Will check them out.

    [Reply]

  28. Brunswick Square received a big restaurant coup in that a Tilted Kilt will be soon opening at the mall, next to JCPenney and the upcoming Panera Bread that will soon open.

    Tilted Kilt is an Irish Pub with “Hooters-like waitresses/bartenders” wearing kilts and white blouses. I have been to the location in Orlando on I-Drive and not only is it a lively place, but the food is really good. This is a big get for Brunswick Square!

    [Reply]

  29. A little Brunswick Square update…the Tilted Kilt is doing BOOMING BUSINESS at Brunswick Square…I’ve gone a few times and every time I have, it’s been absolute wall-to-wall! The parking lot in the vicinity of TK, after the mall has closed for the evening is Black Friday full! After Hurricane Sandy, Brunswick Square didn’t get back to business until Friday and even then, some places were greatly hampered…Tilted Kilt was one of them. Even though, they still did business, serving beer, cash only, on the patio!

    It’s opening was the completion of the new additions to the mall…TK, along with Panera Bread and a new mall entrance next to JCPenney, facing route 18. Absolutely amazing the amount of business Tilted Kilt has brought to Brunswick Square!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Are there other area malls where Tilted Kilt would do just as well as Brunswick Square if not better in your mind?

    FYI Roosevelt Field is planning a new expantion ajacent to Macy’s & will include Neiman Marcus . If I were a betting man, I would suspect that the Cheesecake Factory would move from there current location at the sourse since Nordstrom Rack & Sacks Off 5th just jumped ship & opened next to RF in a new shopping center with Trader Joe’s.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I think Tilted Kilt would go well in any mall and I’m honestly surprised they chose Brunswick Square first, considering it doesn’t have as high a level of traffic as Menlo Park, Freehold Raceway Mall or Garden State Plaza. It isn’t too far from Rutgers, which is an advantage. The only other TK in NJ is in Hoboken (not in a mall) and prior to Brunswick Square, the only one I’ve been to is Orlando on International Drive, which is stand-alone.

    I heard about the Roosevelt Field (guessing NM is tired of waiting for The Shops at Oyster Bay to get going) and that would not surprise me! When is that expansion supposed to be done?

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Acording to management at Roosevelt Field & several articles, the expantion will be completed in 2015. the expantion includes several elements including a new food hall & noted Neiman Marcus. The two level wing will extend from the side of the Main entrance of Macy’s, back through the rear parking lot towards the office buildings that flank the far portion of the ring road. this includes the Disney & Bose stores on the main level.

    Don’t be surprised if remaining tennents at The Mall at the Source like Cheesecake Factory & H & M are offered new leaces at RF, or current RF tennents will have the option to relocate within the mall to make room for the new stores that will be comeing in at that time.

    H & M already has a store at RF, but it is rather small compared to other stores in the chain. the same thing is happening at KoP where H & M is opening a giant store thursday in the plaza & as a result, the small plaza location will be closing. But the one in the pavillion may remain open as KoP has several stores & restaurants with duel outlets that do well.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Found this piece in the Garden City Patch with most of the details despite being somewhat dated.

    Roosevelt Field Reps Delve Into Redevelopment Plans
    Highlight new design and additions to the Garden City-based shopping center.

    in Garden City Patch – By Emily Wood April 28, 2012 at 01:53PM

    New restaurants, renovated and redesigned space, and a Neiman Marcus store will be coming soon to Roosevelt Field Mall.

    Roosevelt Field General Manager Nadine Nakamura was on hand at the Council of East Meadow Community Organizations’ (CEMCO) meeting last week to give an overview of the project and answer questions pertaining to the redevelopment.

    Roosevelt Field was built in 1956, and underwent renovations in 1993 and 1998, according to Nakamura.

    “We are sorely due for an upgrade,” she added.

    The new Neiman Marcus will be added to the mall near Macy’s. Seasons 52, a restaurant, is now open, with The Capital Grille and Havana Central slated to open by the year’s end. There are plans to renovate the AMC movie theater at the property to a “premium movie theater,” Nakumura said.

    “It’s definitely going to be a much more upscale theater in keeping with all of the amenities of that area,” she said.

    Additional pedestrian areas near the restaurants are going to be constructed to beautify the location.

    “Between the Macy’s and the grand entry of the property, you can’t walk between them,” Nakamura said. “We want to be able to have an area that is comfortable for customers to traverse. We will be having more greenery in the area, possibly being able to turn this into something that could be an events space as well.”

    Nakamura said space for small shops is going to increase by about 7,000 square feet, with Neiman Marcus accounting for an additional 100,000 square feet.

    She added that the food court will also be relocated to the area by Dick’s Sporting Goods in the “north court” on the second level. It will go from its current approximate 1,000 square feet to 1,200 square feet. The former food court will be converted into small stores.

    Nakamura said that they are hoping to begin work on the food hall, which is the first part of the construction, in early 2013. Neiman Marcus is scheduled to be completed by 2015. The redevelopment, which is privately funded, will cost Simon Properties, the owners of Roosevelt Field, approximately $250 million.

    “This will be a phase project and we will be moving in different sections and trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. A lot of the work will occur at night,” she said, noting that they want to minimize the impact of construction for everyone in the surrounding area.

    Richard Bivone, who is consulting on community outreach efforts for the project, said that the application for building is currently filed with the Town of Hempstead as an “as of right.” He said that this means “the submission, if everything is engineered, will be approved as of right, which means they get a permit.”

    “The other thing that I think is very important, especially for this particular project, is what it brings to Nassau County as far as jobs are concerned,” said Nakamura, adding that the project should provide about 2,800 construction jobs and 300 to 400 long-term retail jobs.

    Jaime Sumersille contributed to this article.

    FYI Capitol Grill & Havana Central have opened.

    [Reply]

  30. I was in Brunswick Square on Black Friday and this place was wall-to-wall! Tilted Kilt continues to be crowded and continues to bring an added after-hours crowd to the mall that is already large for its size, due to a Barnes and Noble, Ruby Tuesday and a 13 screen movie theater! Brunswick Square seems to be doing just fine!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, It is interesting to see the dynamics between Brunswick Square, Menlo Park & Woodbridge Center despite the fact THAT Simon owns Brunswick Square as well as Menlo & nearly got Woodbridge when they pushed hard for GGP last year . Now of course the DOJ would never allow Simon to own all three malls in a small geographical area even though they serve distinctive market segments that by chance happen to be in close proximity to one another.

    Hope you had a happy thanksgiving, but watch how often you tilt your kilt! LOL

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, About 15 years ago, there was a fear that Brunswick Square would be a dead mall, but with the addition of the large movie theater, the renovation and Barnes and Noble, it regained stability. Macy’s and JCPenney also put money into upgrading/renovating their stores! And Tilted Kilt has done wonders!

    Brunswick Square is far enough away from Woodbridge and Menlo (and even farther when you consider traffic levels on Route 18 and Route 1) that they won’t take business away from one another.

    It’s also interesting to note that Route 18, as a retail corridor, has been doing better…far from perfect and there are still some noticeable vacant storefronts, but better.

    LOL, it was a good Thanksgiving and I hope it was for you too!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Thanksgiving was fun.

    I cant imagine what Tilted Kilt is going to be like once the Giants make the playoffs. Considering what they did to Aaron Rogers, they have a good chance to go back to the Super Bowl. Oh! speaking of the Giants, When myGF & I went to KoP on Saturday, we were wearing our Giants sweatshirts in the mall & got several comments & yet none of them were from Eagles fans. We did the same thing after the Yankees beat the Philly’s in 2009. Interestingly the comments came from other Giants fans as well as fans of the Steelers, Bucks & Saints.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, FYI The 12-screen theatre in nearby hazlet was just sold to Cinemark along with 31 other theatres that were under the Rave Cinemas brand. In adition, 16 Rave theatres were recently sold to Carmike & 4 others have been taken over by AMC. The story is that the remaining Rave locations will be sold or closed.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Found this video. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-NYfp0Vo10&w=420&h=315

    If someone in the try-state area hasn’t gone there yet, check it out. The food is simple, but is a lot of fun & worth the money.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, It also made Man v. Food, on the Travel Channel! A great place!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6otbUX6Or4&w=560&h=315

    It most recently aired 11-28-12. It was because of this show, that I go there every so often. Interestingly, it doesn’t pay to drive as parking is a challenge around there. I find it easier to take the train & walk the block & a half even though I board at NYP & ride for 50-minutes.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Weekend parking is a lot better…unless it’s football season. But yes, it’s an institution!

    Sad they closed the one south of Brunswick Square Mall…

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, They closed Stuff Yer Face in EB? You Don’t say! [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycnF0Xgozao&w=420&h=315

    Actually I knew that, but I just wanted to drop in this game show gem hosted by Tom Kennedy. The quality is a bit iffy, however you’ll understand it apon viewing. The object is to communicate a clue in sentance form & leave off the last word. This last word is ment to sound similar in part to a famus person, name or place, but have no direct relation.

    Back on topic.

    Was at GSP today & at Roosevelt Field yesterday. I noticed despite the black Friday madness & current traffic volume in these malls, it semes there’s been a noticeable drop in sales activity in many stores over the past week or so. A few store managers I know mentioned the same thing as well as a news item on WPIX-TV. My guess is that christmas sales keep getting frontloaded to make the news look healthier for retailers than they actually would otherwise be if sales were evenly distributed throughout the holiday period.

    I wonder what you have been seeing in your mall visits as of late. Perhaps you are aware of other trends that I’m missing?

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Here’s an early christmas gift curtisy of the Wall Street Journal.

    Malls Get Facelift to Pull In Shoppers.

    By KRIS HUDSON

    The sprawling Roosevelt Field mall on Long Island, anchored by Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Macy’s, ranks among the 20 most-lucrative malls in the U.S.

    But Roosevelt Field’s owner, Simon Property Group Inc. still intends to spend roughly $300 million in the next two years to improve the shopping center. The overhaul will add a Neiman Marcus Group luxury department store, expand the mall’s dining choices and upgrade its movie theater with lounge seating and full menus.

    After decades of retail construction, the era of new-mall development in the U.S. is drawing to a close. Much of the country is overbuilt, and online shopping has crimped many retailers’ store-opening plans. In an attempt to keep shoppers coming—and to squeeze more revenue out of established locations—mall owners and retailers are shifting to renovations.

    “There are very few markets that aren’t already served by sophisticated retail,” said Rick Sokolov, president of Simon, the country’s largest mall owner. “Making what you already have as good as it can be is the best way to go.”

    If overhauls are done right, their returns can be higher than from new developments. Landlords and analysts say the improvements can generate annual income of as much as 10% to 12% of the cost of the upgrades. By comparison, new development typically yields returns in the high single digit range.

    For example, Taubman Centers Inc.’s 2007 redevelopment of its Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, Mich., which added a wing anchored by Nordstrom, yielded a 10% return on the project’s $63 million cost, according to Taubman.

    Simon will spend roughly $300 million to renovate Roosevelt Field.
    .Retail Recipe
    The country’s top malls typically have a combination of the following:

    Annual sales per square foot of $550 or more
    More than one million square feet of space
    High-end department stores such as Nordstrom, Saks, Bloomingdale’s or Neiman Marcus
    Small luxury retailers of jewelry, accessories or fashion, such as LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Tiffany or Michael Kors, as well as high sales stores such as Apple
    A given metropolitan area that has no more than three or four high performing malls, sometimes only one
    Location in an affluent suburb or a major downtown, such as Chicago’s Water Tower Place mall
    Built within the past 10 years or renovated and expanded in that time frame
    Big public spaces, such as children’s play areas or center courts for live entertainment
    Source: Green Street Advisors and Envirosell Inc.
    .As they renovate, mall owners are incorporating the lessons they are learning about how to succeed amid the explosion of online shopping. For all the hand-wringing among store owners about sales lost to the Internet, many are figuring out ways to exploit the natural advantages that stores have over computers.

    Mall owners are adding more restaurants, upscale movie theaters, supermarkets and other tenants that offer goods and experiences that can’t be found online. In their renovations, some malls also are reconfiguring more stores to have direct access to parking lots, so shoppers can dash in and out for quick service rather than having to traverse the entire shopping center.

    General Growth Properties Inc. the second-largest mall owner, has earmarked $1.5 billion for redevelopment projects, including 17 that it started this year and another eight to begin in 2013. In one of its largest projects, the company is planning to raze a Sears Holdings Corp. store at its flagship Ala Moana Center mall in Honolulu and replace it with small shops that collectively would pay more in rent than single department stores.

    Meanwhile, CBL & Associates Properties Inc. which owns 93 U.S. malls, had redevelopment projects in various phases at 20 of its properties this year. Westfield Group owner of 47 U.S. malls, intends to ramp up its redevelopment efforts, spending $3 billion over the next three years, compared with the $800 million it spent in the past three years.

    Mall owners are being selective about centers to upgrade. The retail-property industry has a long history of throwing good money after bad by trying to save shopping centers facing tough competition and growing vacancy rates.

    These days, most redevelopment is taking place at the country’s top-performing malls, like Roosevelt Field, which is packed with holiday shoppers scrambling to complete their gift lists. Only 289 of the country’s 1,070 malls are considered to be in this category because they generate median annual sales of $535 a square foot, compared with the industry average of $370.

    Green Street Advisors, a real-estate research firm, estimates that Roosevelt Field, in Garden City, N.Y., generates average sales of $1,040 a square foot, thanks largely to the demographics of the market it serves. More than 1.8 million people live within 10 miles, and the median annual household income is $116,302 in that area, more than double the average in the U.S. of $50,502, according to Simon.

    Returns also have proven to be more attractive for landlords that have invested in strong properties rather than weak ones.

    Simon, for example, is redeveloping 25% of its top malls in terms of sales per square foot, 10% of its mid-class malls and none of its lowest-performing malls, according to Green Street. “That’s where you get the biggest bang for your buck—when you take good and make it great,” said Cedrik Lachance, a Green Street analyst.

    For Simon, owner of 159 U.S. malls, the redevelopment push has the company planning to spend more than $1 billion in each of the next three years revamping its best properties.

    “The more compelling we make our properties, the better they will be able to compete with all other forms of retail distribution,” Mr. Sokolov said.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Here’s a post Christmas bonus video curtisy of Aventura Mall. Pay close atention to the fountains!

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LHmBHXri0I&w=420&h=315

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I’ve actually never been south of Tampa in the state of Florida. Aventura Mall looks like quite an impressive place.

    I was recently in Florida (Orlando…the lure of “the Mouse” is too much) and did happen to stop at the Mall at Millenia, which happens to be one of my favorite malls outside of New Jersey. And on the subject of fountains, they have a lot of them there, both inside and out! As in the past, Millenia is beautifully decorated and I was there early in the day, so it wasn’t overly crowded, but I have, in the past, seen it pretty wall to wall.

    [Reply]

    Graham Reply:

    @mallguy,

    I dont think the Mall at Millenia has a lot of fountains at all! It opened in 2002. by this time many mall developers would have been more concerned about the coast to maintain and operate a plethora of fountains like we saw in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. That’s why so many older malls no longer have them as well. The Gardens Mall, which is Forbes other Mall other than Millennia has many more fountains left over from its development in 1988 which they did not remove. Another mall near The Gardens, the Mall at Wellington Green which opened in 2001 does not have really any, similar to Millenia.

    Millenia has that open space in the center with all the lights if i recall.

    mallguy Reply:

    @Graham: Millenia is the mall on I-4 and Conroy Road, 2 exits north/east of Universal Studios, with Macys, Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus. There are about 9 fountains there, albeit small, but it’s still nice to see (2 in the food court, 4 by the entrance, 2 in center fourt) There are about 4 more outside by the center court and food court entrances.

    On the subject of Florida and Orlando, Altamonte Mall in the 1980s (north of Orlando) had a rather huge fountain court, prior to its renovation, and Orlando Fashion Square had about 4 or 5 dispersed throughout the mall…today I think they only have one.

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, You haven’t been south of Tampa? Well let me tell you about what is now the city of Aventura.

    The city started development in the 1960′s, but started really growing in the 70′s with highrise condos. the 3.3 square mile area that sits on the intercoastal waterway, was part of unincorperated Miami-Dade County wich also included Bal Harbor, North Miami Beach & other sections. In 1983 the cities developer Turnberry Associates http://www.turnberryassociates.com developed a mall on the Main north south road Biscayne Boulevard, at NE 195th Street with 1.2 million sq ft & 4 anchors Macy’s, Sears, JC Penney & Lord & Taylor. The mall was on par with GSP & other like NJ Centers.

    The 90′s were a booming time for both the mall & the city as a whole as Aventura was able to officially incorperate in 1997 as other areas ddid the same. As for the mall, BIG changes were on the horizon. A multi-phased project doubled the malls square footage, added a new Bloomingdale’s, a relocated Burdine’s, a 24-screen AMC cinema, new restaurants & retailers. The renovations were capped off when Nordstrom took the place of Lord & Taylor when they left the market. Development continued throughout the city until the housing crisis hit in 2008 & is slowly in recovery, but it is obvious that far too many housing units were built.

    Many of the cities residential highrises, office buildings & government center encircle Aventura Country Club as they sit on the road of the same name & many of them have direct water access with there own slips.

    Biscayne Boulevard is dotted with several retail centers including Lohman’s Fashon Island that contain most of the cities big boxes & restaurants, but Lohmans recently relocated into a freestanding building. This has caused something of a local issue regarding the centers name.

    In nearby Bal Harbor there’s an outdoor mall called Bal Harbor Shops that will rival even the Mall at Short Hills for designer goods. It’s anchored by Neiman Marcus & Sacks & recently anounced a rather large expantion of it’s own late last year.

    Some web sites for you to check out for more information.

    http://www.aventuramall.com
    http://www.cityofaventura.com
    http://www.balharborshops.com

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Correction…

    http://www.turnberry.com
    http://www.balharbourshops.com

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Yep, never south of Tampa. I’ve heard of Bal Harbor Shops and seen pics – looks pretty impressive! The call of the Mouse is pretty strong to pull me to Central Florida first! Of the ones I’ve been to, Millenia is my favorite – reminds me of a cross between Short Hills and The Westchester! The energy in Millenia is ever-present. Florida Mall has gotten a lot larger over the years, but I rarely go there when I’m down. Hadn’t been to Altamonte Mall or the Orlando Fashion Square in years, but I remember them in their pre-renovation state.

    In Tampa, I really like International Plaza! Also quite reminiscent of Short Hills, and it’s no surprised considering it’s a Tabman mall.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, As we know malls inside & out, we can spot a Taubman design instantly. If you reread the Woodfield page, there’s an explamation on what the Taubman design is all about. Speaking of Woodfield Mall, I put a comment there not too long ago refering to the fact that Simon baught it from a pention fund & shockingly Taubman has no ownership interest anymore.

    You need to take a trip to see Aventura Mall & the areas around it. This includes…
    The Shops at the Waterways on the intercoastal
    Bal Harbour Shops
    Fashion Island just south of Aventura Mall

    A spin along Country Club Drive a loop road where many residential highrises & the cities government center can be found. This is esential in understanding the cities layout & street grid. The links above should get you started.

    Aventura Mall is almost the size of King of Prussia Plaza, South Coast Plaza & MOA minus the amusement park & is one structure unlike SCP & KoP wich are two seperate buildings linked by bridges. A portion of it is outdoor while most of the center is enclosed similar to FRM, but on a much grander scale.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, If I had a car when I visited Chicago, I probably would have gone to check out Woodfield. (I did get to the MagMile malls though) Will check out that comment. The first time I went to Fair Oaks when I was young, I remember thinking how much it was a carbon copy of the Mall at Short Hills!

    I always manage to check out the malls if I’m in a new city (recently did it in Chicago, Atlanta and Charlotte) and do stop in KoP, Tysons, Fair Oaks and Columbia if I pass by. Will definitely check those places out if I get to South Florida.

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, In Chicago a car isn’t nessessary to go to Woodfield as the Blue line of the CTA COMES CLOSE with a stop at Rosemont & from there it’s a quick hop by bus as the whole trip from the loop is about 45 minutes as I recall.

    Interesting how malls like Brunswick Square, Menlo Park & Roosevelt Field Do not share similar signiture features as they were aquired by Simon over several years from different owners. Now compare that with Taubman & there shared common atributes such as flooring, granite planters, curved glass ellevators, glossy railings & contrasts of white with black trim.

    Now the Malls in each Simon aquizition share atributes such as Rockaway Townsquare & Roosevelt Field with there tiled floors along with The Westchester & Menlo Park with there over the top brick facing, generus skylights & oddly shaped courts from RTKL.

    GGP has the same thing as you can recognize a Rouse property from the rest of the portfolio as prefab construction was used in those malls, & don’t get me started on Westfield.

    Rich Reply:

    @mallguy, @SEAN: Rosemont is easily close to 45 minutes from the Loop and a bus to Woodfield is probably a half hour or more.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Rich, I could have been mistaken regarding Rosemont, but I remember routing a trip to Woodfield from the loop & it was a total of 45 minutes as the CS person at the CTA told me. Perhaps I’ll try it again & see what I get.

    AM Reply:

    @mallguy and @Rich, Rich is correct that you’d have to allow yourself at least 45 minutes to get out to the Rosemont stop, if you were coming from downtown on the Blue Line. From there(and not accounting for waittime while transferring to a bus or NW Tollway traffic, but interestingly it runs at 30 min intervals on weekdays, and every 45 mins on Saturday and Sunday), you can take the Pace #606 Northwest Limited out there, which is about an additional 30 minutes from Rosemont to Woodfield Mall. http://www.pacebus.com/sub/schedules/route_detail.asp?RouteNo=606

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, If I remember correctly, Rosemont is the stop before ORD and Woodfield is less than 10 miles from ORD. (did not use CTA to the Loop…I took a cab) As I said in the thread on the Chicago malls, I was very impressed with the MagMile vertical malls.

    Brunswick Square is originally a Simon mall and sans the carpeting of Rockaway, Livingston and Quakerbridge, the tile design/color is similar to the 2nd redesigns at Livingston and Rockaway (both were redesigned in the early/mid 1990s before they were Simon malls)

    In the original Rouse malls (Woodbridge, Willowbrook, Columbia, White Marsh, Paramus Park) there are many common elements such as skylights, railings, lighting, flooring and fountains (if they’re left)

    The original Wilmorite Malls also have a very common look…Freehold, Danbury Fair pre-renovation come to mind.

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, You could add renovations to the Macerich malls as well. As you stated Freehold & Danbury, but you can also add Queens Center to that list.

    Yes Rosemont is one stop from O’hare.

    Another interesting note on Simon mall design, look at Brunswick Square in the suburban setting vs Newport Centre in the high density urban areas of Jersey City. The former has low density sprawl while the latter has highrises for as long as the eye can see. Even more residential buildings have been added recently near the PATH station so as to make it a real neighborhood & not just a cluster of office towers as there are plenty of those headed down towards Exchange Place.

    Rich Reply:

    @mallguy, It’s not 10 minutes by bus. Unless you have short headways at each end, it’s a long trip to see fairly generic mall. The Macy/Marshall Field on State Street is a more impressive shopping edifice.

    mallguy Reply:

    @Rich, I did visit the Macys/Marshall Field on State and was very, very impressed. What a beautiful building both inside and out! Much more impressive than Macy’s in Herald Square and I think that’ll continue to hold true even after the renovations at Herald Square are complete.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I remember when Newport Centre was first built/opened. Most of that area had been torn down and there were maybe one, two factories still left…the mall was the only thing that stood in the area. Over 25 years later, it’s impressive to see what has been built there now; one of the most dersirable neighborhoods of Jersey City!

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, What really makes that community desireable is three fold.

    1. Hudson River views.
    2. Access to Manhattan & other localities via PATH & HBLR trains, Sandy not withstanding.
    3. Improving retail options both in & around the mall.

    I stated this on the FRM thread a long time ago, that the mall doesn’t completely reflect the real wealth that is concentrated in that part of Jersey City. To be fare, Newport Centre has made some strides in that rehlm & has not delt with high vacancy rates. Just surprised that Lord & Taylor didn’t open there & Kohl’s did when Macy’s moved into there present location.

    One of the really interesting structures can be found near the walkway along the Hudson. It’s a three towered apartment building where all the towers share the first several floors & the corners of the lower portion appear to be mitered. When you see it, you’ll know what I’m trying to describe.

    chrisoneal Reply:

    @mallguy, the tilted kilt is good businesswise for the mall, but the food and service are both terrible there.a awesome place to watch a game and have some beers with your buddies but to eat food forget it.im glad the mall has done some upgrades which was much needed

    [Reply]

  31. Since most malls have them & it’s the holiday season, here’s a Twisted Christmas tune curtisy of Bob Rivers.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n22-Xk4MTEc&w=420&h=315

    [Reply]

  32. @ Mallguy, Dave & Buster’s: IPO withdrawal won’t impact growth
    The company trimmed its losses in the third quarter and plans to open more units next year

    Dec. 11, 2012 Ron Ruggless

    Dave & Buster’s Inc. trimmed its losses in the third quarter, but executives expressed no immediate plans to restart a public offering that was withdrawn earlier in the fall, saying on Tuesday that the withdrawal won’t impact growth.

    Dallas-based Dave & Buster’s, the privately held operator of 60 big-box entertainment/restaurant units, reported a net loss in the quarter ended Oct. 28 of $1.6 million, down from $4.4 million in the same period last year. Revenues in the third quarter rose to $131.1 million from $120.3 million in the prior year, with food and beverage revenues increasing 6 percent and amusements and other revenues climbing 11.8 percent over the prior-year quarter.

    Steve King, chief executive of Dave & Buster’s, told analysts, who represent holders of senior notes, that the October withdrawal of the IPO filing would have little impact on the company in the year ahead.

    “While we had sufficient demand from the market to execute an IPO, market conditions had become increasingly volatile,” King explained. “And as a result, we elected not to accept the offer presented to us by our underwriters.”

    Dave & Buster’s originally filed IPO plans in July 2011. In September, the company said it expected an offering of 7.69 million shares to price between $12 and $14 a share, or between $92.2 million and $107.7 million.

    “Although we are open to considering a possible IPO at a later time,” he said, “our continued status as a private company will have no impact on our ability to execute our strategic plan, including our new-unit growth plans for the foreseeable future.”

    King said the company still plans to open four to six units in 2013, and the company targets 10 percent new-unit growth in the years beyond that. One new store opened in Orland Park, Ill., during the third quarter of 2012, the company said, and a new, relocated flagship store in Dallas opened earlier in December.

    The company said third-quarter same-store sales increased 3.9 percent. “Our comparable-store sales increase of nearly 4 percent was markedly better than the industry-wide benchmark for casual dining, which was essentially flat for the quarter,” King said.

    On dealing with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, King said the biggest impact is likely to come in 2014. “We have begun working on how we might manage this,” King said. “Realistically, most retailers and restaurants are going to have to work on hours and looking at the proportion of part-time people that they have versus full-time people.”

    He said Dave & Buster’s hopes to be in test with some ideas by the end of first quarter 2013, “So that we can measure the effects not just on the cost side but also on how we deliver from a guest standpoint and what happens with guest satisfaction.”

    Dave & Buster’s has stores in 25 states and Canada

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Hopefully one in New Jersey

    [Reply]

  33. @mallguy

    The Boynton Beach Mall had a spectacular fountain i remember as a kid with a giant butterfly in the center. I posted a pic of it on that malls page on Wikipedia. Simon removed that in 2001 or so. The Palm Beach Mall also had a cool wonderfall I remember as a kid, but it was old even by the time I saw it in the 90s. Im only 25. Think there is a pic of that on wikipedia too! That also was removed in 2000 finally.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Graham,

    Sweet! NJ malls had some awesome fountains too…namely Freehold Raceway Mall (until pretty recently), Woodbridge Center, Quakerbridge, Willowbrook and Garden State Plaza come to mind. Even Brunswick Square, at one time, had a fountain! Some had them removed or downsized. Menlo Park Mall thankfully still has theirs and Short Hills removed one while renovating the other.

    I’ve seen some pics of the old Altamonte Mall fountains and it does bring back memories.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I remember when the Galleria in White Plains had a fountain, but sadly it was removed when the first level was reconfiggured & the escalators to the food court were relocated.

    Off topic

    Do you like mel Brooks movies? if you do, here’s special surprise.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiF0M4uOhgI&w=560&h=315

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-wgjs5Pp-4&w=420&h=315

    One more for good mesure.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I didn’t know where to put this youtube video, but this is one cool mall!

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K38fcwkHGwY&w=560&h=315

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Someone mentioned Somerset collection way upthread, so here’s a walk through. It reminds me a lot of The Westchester as they serve the same demographic.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJuhiXDyfxo&w=560&h=315

    [Reply]

    Max Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Since you alluded to Somerset County, you probably have heard about the expansion at Bridgewater Commons. I never knew this, but each of its anchors is allotted space for possible expansion; Bloomingdale’s is giving up 10,000 square feet of such space in order to make room for a new restaurant. (While unrelated to the small expansion, the mall is also in the process of putting ugly solar panels on its roof.)

    http://www.nj.com/somerset/index.ssf/2013/02/bridgewater_approves_bridgewat.html

    Not too far away from the mall is the Pluckemin A&P, a classic Centennial that is sadly closing this month. Its shopping center is going to undergo a very radical renovation, before The Fresh Market takes the A&P’s place. Here are some great articles on this topic:

    http://newjerseyhills.com/bernardsville_news/news/old-pluckemin-shopping-center-would-get-fresh-supermarket/article_509a864a-39e0-11e2-9e0c-0019bb2963f4.html

    http://baskingridge.going.com/articles/a-p-closing-in-bedminster#photo-13130666

    http://blogs.mycentraljersey.com/bridgewater/2013/01/28/landmark-food-market-to-shutter-its-doors/

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Max, News to me on Bridgewater Commons, but not at all surprised. I know that A&P and I’m not surprised they’re closing that either. With the Kings just down the road, which just renovated, they need to stay current.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, That’s news to me as well. So Bloomingdale’s is having space carved out for a restaurant? Hmmm, interesting considering that location is fashon only.

    As far as The Fresh market is concerned, it is a huge upgrade from A & P. I shop there almost once a week & the food is great.

    @Max, FYI when I was refering to Somerset, it was the upscale mall in Troy MI. Thanks for the above links though.

    [Reply]

    Max Reply:

    @SEAN,

    I am sorry for the confusing way I wrote my post, but the restaurant will not be part of Bloomingdale’s. Apparently, the mall set aside 40,000 additional square feet in the event that Bloomingdale’s ever wanted to expand; Bloomingdale’s is not interested in expansion and instead has decided to give back 10,000 square feet of that space to the mall (which the mall will use to make room for a new restaurant). (I also read that Bloomingdale’s has no desire to use the remaining 30,000 square feet, and will likely give the rights to that space back to the mall at a future date.)

    I actually wish that Bloomingdale’s would use that 40,000 square feet to expand, as that location does not sell home merchandise. However, since many of the newer Bloomingdale’s locations are smaller in size (and are fashion only), it does not surprise me that the chain had no interest in expanding the Bridgewater store.

    As a side note, while Macy”s and L&T also have the option to expand, I highly doubt they will ever find a need to enlarge their stores. Of course, I have no idea as to why the mall chose to expand near Bloomingdale’s as opposed to near the other two anchors. (Perhaps it was because the most wealthy customers will likely be at that wing of the mall.)

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Max, I’m not at all surprised they are “giving back” the space to the mall. Last visit, Bloomingdale’s has a small giftware department in what was a portion of the Men’s Department right next to the downstairs outside entrance. Bridgewater had once lacked in sitdown dining, now they are looking to further improve in that area.

    That area of the parking lot does not have a sit down establishment, so it would suit best for the parking situation. If Macy’s every does give back, look for expansion on the bottom floor, near the Macy’s mall entrance facing 202/206, as there’s plenty of parking over there.

    [Reply]

    Max Reply:

    @mallguy,

    Thanks for explaining the rationale behind the mall’s decision to expand near Bloomingdale’s.

    You may remember this, but back in 1997 there was discussion of a major mall expansion that never happened. I know that The Village eventually opened, but that outdoor shopping area is not connected to the mall.

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Bridgewater+Commons+expansion+agreement+reached.-a019568280

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Max, I would have loved to see that expansion, preferably a new 3 level wing branch off center court toward 202/206 anchored by Nordstrom. A parking deck between said wing and Macy’s could have alleviated much of the parking challenges that expansion would have caused.

    At least the mall received the cosmetic renovation in 2004-05, as it was greatly needed!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy & Max, Thanks, now I get it. Any idea what restaurant will move next to Bloomingdale’s?

    I haven’t been to Bridgewater Commons in a very long time, however one thing I do remember is that the mall had some room to expand all be it on a tight lot. That’s why the mall is on three levels. Also the AMC theatre was recently remoddled to a dine-in location like Menlo Park & Essex Green.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, It’s going to be a more upscale restaurant, we know that much. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Legal Sea Foods or Brio

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I was thinking along the lines of Seasons 52, Bravo or Capital Grill, however I cant argue with your choices either.

    Allan (AM) Reply:

    @Graham, It’s too bad Simon seems to have a tendency of removing them from most of the malls they were once in. I still miss the original one Lincolnwood Town Center used to have. Also the last time I went to Orland Square(2009 or 10?), I don’t recall seeing one inside there, not even in its food court area. :( Circle Centre(in Indianapolis) also didn’t have one, when I visited in 2012.

    [Reply]

  34. We’ve sene our share of toddlers at the mall, however did you ever see one in a duet?

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apEZsglPp8I&w=560&h=315

    The little girl is flat out adorable.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Considering that song comes from the Muppets, I wonder what Statler and Waldorf would say about it.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I’m of the opinion that they would dislike it & would make that adorable little girl cry.

    Here’s a 1996 version with Sandra Bullock. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5Mc55P1i9g&w=420&h=315

    There’s also a 2006 version called “The Polamalu Song.”

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N_tupPBtWQ&w=560&h=315 Just for good mesure.

    MANAMANA!

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, JCPenney is laying off more workers Ron Johnson is really bringing this company down. There are articles on jcpenney updates, We were worried about Sears last year i think it will be Jcpenney going out all together. This reminds me of this happening to caldor Alexanders etc. We will be in a mess at many malls if someone dosent act soon.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, I agree with you to a point. It just depends on wich mall you are talking about. GSP, Roosevelt Field & malls like those will withstand a Penney’s closure. However your average mid-tier center will have a bigger challenge filling that space depending on the size & location.

    Keep in mind that there are regional department store brands like Bon Ton & Von Mour that could absorb some Penney locations or even have them redeveloped into more store spaces with restaurants & theatres.

    I saw several articles, but posting one regarding Penney’s was enough.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, OH i know but there arent many dept stores left.there might be some candidates like you said Bon Ton Belk, Lord and Taylor and Boscovs Well Roosevelt Field is getting Neimans so that mall isnt lacking aNCHORS. neither is GSP. Palisades as we been saying on getting Boscovs. I truly think Sears will survive and JC Penney will go,

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, I gave this post some thaught & what I THINK could happen is that both Sears & Penney’s survive, however both retailers will be dramaticly smaller with large numbers of store closings. I’m talking about malls that have poor prospects moving foward such as Palm Beach Mall as that Penney’s store is closing soon. Infact according to some articles I’ve been reading lately, the larger retail REITS are planning to drop marginal malls by the bucket load to investor groups to raise capital for higher quality asset purchases without the need for debt financing. As an example look at Macerich’s recent purchase of both Kings Plaza & Green acres from Vornado for $1.25Billion. That used cash on hand & refied the morggage on the other..

    In the meantime, Macerich is exploring the sale of 17 properties with 3 possibly sold this year & the remaining going at some future date. Westfield has been in the same process since late 2011, but hasn’t made any serious moves yet.

    The only dramatic move came from GGP as they have transfered some weaker assets into a new company with the Rouse name & are aquiring aditional struggling malls to turn them around.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I think we’re at leat 5-6 years away from a JCPenney liquidation, if they don’t turn around. That said, there will be closures, but I don’t see as many in NJ/NY malls. The first ones to go in our area are the “stand-alones and there a few of them left in South Jersey. I’ve also seen a few stand-alones in Florida. Malls that will lose their JCPenney are likely smaller-market malls; say Paddock Mall in Ocala FL, the Oaks Mall in Gainesville FL, Gulf View Square in New Port Richey, FL, Lynnhaven Mall in VA Beach or JCPenney in Christiana Mall. Highly doubt we’ll see a JCPenney closure at GS Plaza, Woodbridge Center, King of Prussia, Quakerbridge, Monmouth Mall, Brunswick Square or Freehold Raceway Mall unless they liquidate.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, With the trend toward consolidation (Federated>Macy’s) and the lack of extensive department stores still in business, this is a reason why we’ve seen malls transition into attracting well-known restaurants and/or entertainment establishments. If JCPenney or Sears were to liquidate, the many, many malls across the country that have both anchors will have to go this route if they haven’t done so already.

    Malls like Brunswick Square, Freehold Racway Mall and Garden State Plaza have been smart to gain entertainment and dining establishments, but even for the strongest malls, it will be a challenge to find someone to fill those possibly soon to be vacant anchors.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, You are right, but I need to make myself clear on something – I said that both Penney’s & Sears COULD shrink dramaticly, but not liquidate. The better posissioned malls you site above will keep those stores, however the struggling mid-tier malls are the most likely ones to lose such anchors. Now that doesn’t meen that there won’t be outliers either way, but that semes what is most likely to happen in my opinion.

    You are also correct in that the better opperated malls have been adding entertainment & innovative dining opptions as they saw the handwriting on the wall regarding the decreasing numbers of triditional anchors & needed to deversify their offerings. King of Prussia, Roosevelt Field, Freehold Raceway, GSP & even Brunswick Square have made strides in recent years. KoP, Easton Town Center, Aventura Mall, Fashon Island & South Coast Plaza have some of the most dynamic dining options found in any mall in the US. Some of the restaurant lineups are so tempting that it justifies flying transcan just to try them, but perhaps I’m just hungry anyway.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Point taken. I’ll also add Mall at Millenia, Lenox Square/Phipps Plaza, Tysons Corner Center, Perimeter (which is getting Von Mour to replace the closed Bloomingdale’s), Mall in Columbia and Stamford Town Center to that list.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I’m going to bring this full circle – interesting you mentioned Stamford Town Center in that a former Penney’s location was demolished to make way for a dining plaza flanked by Barnes & Noble. It was such an improvement over the original configguration, that I’m surprised that Filene’s took that space in the first place.

    The mall looks slightly less fortrase like now that one side of the mall has been opened up.

    I cant argue with the other malls you braught upTysons Corner in particular as the Silver Line opens this year & along with that Macerich & some of the larger developers in metro DC already have active plans to densify the whole area over the coming decades. I do find it odd that Macerich & GGP didn’t join forces here as the benefits to both companies are enormous with vertual no downside risk to either, or at least have Macerich buy the Galleria & give GGP a stake or a fat cash payout. As it turns out, Macerich is on the verge of selling upwards of 17 marginal malls to raise capital so they can avoid debt financing.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, That had to be one of the smartest moves made with Stamford Town Center. I haven’t been over there since that new area opened and I assume everything is still going well over there, but I thought that was the best use of a vacant anchor for that mall! Did not know that Filenes was once a JCPenney.

    On Tysons Corner, I am not at all surprised how that area will become even more dense. Still is the largest and most successful mall in the DC Metro area.

    And with Millenia, you go there after 9 and all the restaurants are hopping, and they’ve got some good choices too!

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, There are lessens here for all mall managers regarding STC, Millenia & other centers & that’s don’t be afraid of nightlife in your mall – your future survival may depend on that concept. Brunswick Square figgured it out, so did many other malls across the country.

    One other interesting center I forgot to mention is Irvine Spectrum in Irvine CA. This outdoor hybrid mall/ lifestyle center is anchored by Nordstrom, Macy’s, Target & a 21-screen Regal Cinema & contains most of the better national retailers. Some of the restaurants include Cheesecake Factory, Dave & Busters & Yardhouse.

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Remembering that you were a Sim City fan, the newest version was just released March 5, 13 & as you may have herd it crashed do to inadiquit server capasity. http://www.simcity.com The game looks good though & semes easier to opperate compared to Cities XL wich is a bit buggy at times. Cities XL is also going to have a new version out soon, but I don’t know when.

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Here’s a video tour of Irvine Spectrum. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws7E6JOd81k&w=420&h=315

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsOE–P1ZvE&w=420&h=315

    One more Irvine Spectrum video complete with impressive fountains!

    Sorry for the constant posting.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I’ve actually been to Irvine Spectrum Center! Was visiting San Diego a couple of years back and some friends and I drove up to Disneyland for the day, noticing Irivine Spectrum Center at the El-Toro Y. Even after Disneyland closed, the place was still hopping and lit by searchlights as well as that obelisk. We stopped at Dave and Busters, even after a full day at both Disney parks! It’s a very, very impressive outdoor mall!

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Didn’t realize you went to the Spectrum. I saw another video on it & saw the D & B sign & realized you would enjoy the postings especially the one with the fountains.

    That’s another center with an impressive restaurant lineup. As I posted above, mall managers should take a few cues from properties like these as deversification is the key to future survival.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I still can’t believe we had energy for the Spectrum AFTER DISNEY and then still had about 50-60 miles more to drive back to San Diego!

    Actually made my friends walk around to see the fountains before we went to Dave and Busters! Next time I find myself in SoCal, I will have to check out the Spectrum during regular operating hours.

    In Southern California, I also went to Horton Plaza in Downtown San Diego and Fashion Valley in San Diego.

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, The next time you go to L. A. check out The Grove at Farmers Market. Went there twice when I visited in 2005 & like Irvine Spectrum, it got busier as the night war on. Keep in mind I went on a Tuesday & a Thursday & not on the weekend. This is a personal reccamendation. It is at 189 The Grove Drive at Beverly Boulevard across from CBS Television City.

    Never been to San Diego, but have sene both Horton Plaza & Fashon Valley on YouTube. Both are nice centers, but FV has some standout qualities including the dining choices. Mind you that HP is no slouch by any means as the city took it apon themselves 30-years ago to start revitalizing a dieing downtown core. This revitalisation continues to this day with Petco Park, new housing, retail space, office towers & expantions to the trolley system.

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I forgot to ask, what is a Manamana? LOL

    [Reply]

  35. Boscov’s opens August 2013 in the former Fortunoff at Woodbridge Center.

    [Reply]

    Mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Thankfully something is opening up in that space! I expected it to be Boscovs

    [Reply]

  36. Mega movies was baught by Phoenix theatres.

    [Reply]

  37. Visited Brunswick Square for the first time in over a decade today & for a mid-sized one story mall, it covers the basics verry well. Your not going to find retailers like Coach here, that’s what Menlo Park is for. For a mall this size, there restaurant lineup & entertainment options are surprisingly good including the renovation of the Mega Movies now opperated by Phoenix theatres as noted above. The best news is the fact the mall currently has 100% occupency.

    The renovations that were done a few years ago seme to make the mall look a bit sterel to me with the off white floor tiles & white walls. then again, that is the common look these days.

    Getting there on transit is no easy task if you aren’t in New Brunswick to begin with as it takes at least two busses or a train if you are coming from points north or south along the NEC.

    [Reply]

    Mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, It’s much better-looking now, as opposed to prior to the renovations! The Tilted Kilt has brought a lot more business to Brunswick Square! Plus, Macy’s and JCPenney have both finally been renovated!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Have you sene this?

    This is a redevelopment of a rather large brownfield ajacent to the GSP’s Driskel Bridge. It includes the site of the former Amboy multiplex.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy,

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Sorry, my video link refused to post for some reason. In a nutshell Taubman Centers is masterplanning the redevelopment of several hundred acres of brownfields that includes the former Amboy Multiplex. If you go to their YouTube page, you will find it.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, I’m trying again. It’s called the point at Sayreville.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Very familiar with it. Still cleaning it up and it’s actually the former Dutch Boy paint factory. The first development will be built east of the Parkway and one of the stores already signed on is Bass Pro Shops…they’re even going to have a marina on the Raritan River!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Yeah I know, saw several articles yesterday as well as the developers own site. Should be rather easy to run direct bus service to the PABT as well as shuttle service to one of the nearby NJT stations from there.

    I assume Brunswick Square as well as Menlo Park & Woodbridge Center are close by?

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, They’re all under 10 miles away. Once shovels are in the ground, all three malls should be aware, and in the end, should be able to hold their own. We’re a few years away from this opening.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Of ccourse & they will be prepared. The goal is to build a rather large mix-use development on what was a brownfield.

    NJ Transit should offer bus service to one of the nearby train stations such as Metropark if not direct service to the PA. A key concept in residential or mixed use real estate development today is TOD Another large project under construction is Harborpoint in stamford Connecticut. http://www.harborpoint.com

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, There will definitely be bus service from Metropark (NE Corridor) and/or South Amboy (North Jersey Coast Line). As I was driving over the Edison Bridge today, (you have a clear view heading south on either the Parkway or Route 9) I got a good look to see what (if anything) is going on – they were moving some land around and I believe they’re in the wrap-up stages of the environmental cleanup.

    I may have touched on this before, but it’s interesting to know that the former Amboy Multiplex was a drive-in movie theater and the screen faced the bridge, so drivers heading south had a clear view of whatever movie was being shown.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I do remember you mentioning that regarding the Amboy multiplex. Several of the National Amusements locations started out as drive in theatres. Go to http://www.cinematour.com & enter National Amusements in the search field.

    This new development being constructed in Sayreville is I think 400 acres? It’s rather smart to put a former industrial site to productive use instead of it remaining fallow & a blight on the community.

    Woodbridge Center semes to also have acreage near the mall that could be primed for redevelopment, but as of now the areas are either empty or have mountains of dirt on them.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, This is interesting.

    Is Barnes & Noble Heading the Way of Borders?

    Aug. 29, 2013 Elaine Misonzhnik

    Recent announcement by Barnes & Noble founder Leonard Riggio that he no longer plans to buy the retail portion of the business has industry pros concerned. While the country’s last remaining big-box bookseller is nowhere near its final days, many in the retail industry were hoping the buyout would disentangle Barnes & Noble’s core business from its money-bleeding Nook venture and allow the company to find a winning formula for its stores with help from private money.

    Now that Riggio withdrew his plans, Barnes & Noble’s management remains stuck with the Nook, reversing its earlier decision to discontinue the development and production of new Nook tablets in-house. And it doesn’t look promising that the chain’s retail group CEO Mitchell Klipper, who oversees Barnes & Noble’s bricks-and-mortar stores, has sold 401,000 of his shares of the company stock in a transaction valued at more than $5 million, in the wake of Riggio’s announcement.

    “They don’t have enough money to keep putting into the Nook, and their book business is terrible because Amazon is chewing up their [market share],” says Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates Inc., a New York City-based retail consulting and investment banking firm. Riggio’s decision not to buy out the retail division means: “more losses, more deterioration, more closed stores.”

    For the first quarter of fiscal 2014, ended July 27, Barnes & Noble reported that same-store sales in its core retail division fell 9.1 percent and same-store sales at its college bookstores fell 1.2 percent, while sales of the Nook and associated content and accessories fell 20.2 percent. The company’s management expects sales to continue falling through the remainder of fiscal 2014.

    “New management certainly can change strategic direction, but we believe two basic issues remain,” wrote Stifel analysts David A. Schick, Taylor G. LaBarr and Raymond L. Stochel in an Aug. 21 note.

    “Nook investments in hardware design and manufacture are perceived as a perpetual cash burn given competitive disadvantages to Apple and Samsung, and weak device sales mean weak content sales. Both factors limit potential for Nook profitability and growth, and we believe profitability and growth are required for Nook to be valued as a going concern.”

    Not all is lost

    The good news is that Riggio’s decision to forgo a buyout of the company likely has more to do with his age (he’s 72) than with a belief that Barnes & Noble is unsalvageable, according to Davidowitz. To turn around a chain of that size, at a time when booksellers as a group are losing market share, would be a massive, multi-year project, Davidowitz notes, and Riggio might not want to invest that much of his self in the job.

    There remains a possibility that a private equity firm may come along and buy out the retail portion of the business, says Neil Stern, senior partner with McMillan Doolittle LLP, a Chicago-based retail consulting firm. But the obstacle may once again be the Nook, which today takes up a significant amount of space inside Barnes & Noble stores.

    “It’s certainly a classic private equity play, assuming you can effectively decouple those two business [retail and the Nook],” Stern notes. “Up until about a year ago, this was a very stable retail business. That is not the case today. Their most recent numbers are pretty scary.”

    Both Davidowitz and Stern believe there remains a space in the marketplace for a bricks-and-mortar bookseller. But in order to occupy it comfortably, Barnes & Noble would need to both tinker with its in-store merchandise selection, which currently runs the gamut from physical books to Nook devices and accessories to lifestyle products like gifts and candy, and to somehow downsize its stores.

    “Barnes & Noble stores are too big, because demand [for their products] is lower,” says Davidowitz. “But I think there is a need and a desire in the marketplace for a bookstore. That’s why I think private equity might be interested in it. The book business is still very much cash flow positive. The losses are in the Nook.”

    As of April, Barnes & Noble operated 674 full-line stores, of which 136 had leases set to expire next year. It also operates 686 college bookstores. The vast majority of the stores are leased, with lease terms averaging 10 to 15 years for the full-line locations and five to 10 years for the college bookstores.

    Thaughts…

    There are numerous malls around here with a B & N location as you well know, but the question is… how many if any will end up closing there books as it were. Of course we could end up with Amazon stores in there place. look at what Apple stores have done as an example, and now Microsoft is following the exact same route down to the store design.

    [Reply]

  38. Saw the new Boscov’s in Woodbridge last week & found it a bit underwelming unlike the Monmouth Mall store. But of course it’s far better than having a dead anchor. Also to my surprise I found out that the new Red Robbin there was a Charlie Browns Stakehouse.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Seemed like a very average Boscov’s, but it’s currently the furthest north in NJ and will do well.

    Went in the mall at Woodbridge the other day for the first time in a few months and was surprised to see they flattened out center court – all the planters, seating areas and fountains are gone (including the two along the sides) – just a simple flat space. Upper level in front of Sears was covered in plants…only 2 left now at the mall.

    Boscov’s will help Woodbridge Center stay competitive.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Haven’t herd from you in a long time.

    Yeah I noticed the center court construction as wwell, but didn’t know what to make of it. Perhaps they will put in a Starbucks kiosk like Freehold & Danbury since there’s enough space for one.

    I know a few people who were evacuated from GSP a few Mondays ago & thankfully they were safe. At first they had know idea just how serious the situation was since all they could see was people running. It wasn’t until someone running by this particular store said to get out. it was crazyer then the news coverage suggested.

    happy turkey day!

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, To you as well! They did put a couple of kiosks in, but closer to where the side fountains were. Under the skylight, all open space. If they did the mall in the rest of that color scheme, it would be a much brighter space!

    I’m sure it must have been scary to be in Garden State Plaza when that happened. I’ll probably get up there over the holiday season…

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Well it’s time for Woodbridge to get renovated anyway & this could be the first step in that process. After all Brookfield just increased their ownership steak & before you know it, they could own all of GGP & they wouldn’t want to let a rather large center like Woodbridge fail since there’s The Point at Sayrevill to contend with. And we know that with it’s massive size & the remeadiation required, that project will take years to be built out.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, They definitely do need to get on the ball! Woodbridge Center hasn’t been fully renovated since 1987. No movement on The Point at Sayreville, but Bass Pro Shops has committed to the project; with a full marina!

    On the subject of renovations, Quakerbridge Mall’s transformation is absolutely amazing! It’s like a new mall has been built! Would now like to see Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom open there (was the original intention), but I think with the economic challenges, that’s a few years away.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, You never know. Quakerbridge serves a wealthy area of Mercer County as well as nearby Bucks County PA. So as a result Neiman Marcus & Nordstrom may end up setting there sights there.

    Speaking of PA, I’m making my anual pilgrimage to KoP this weekend & I understand there have been several changes, but the anounced expantion combining both buildings hasn’t happened as planned.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Neiman Marcus and Nordstom at Quaker Bridge makes QBM one of the premiere malls in NJ!Noticing an upscale trend throughout the mall. Cheesecake Factory and Brio are the new restaurants, Apple and Michael Kors, among others. QBM also finally got Starbucks. Fingers crossed Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom end up there. A mega-upscale Quaker Bridge Mall also gives Bridgewater Commons a run!

    I was last in KoP last June. A new H&M and Forever XXI, if I recall. The expansion had not started at that time.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, surprisingly, KoP wasn’t as insane as you might think for black Friday weekend. Oh sure there were plenty of people shopping, but at times it was pritty calm – almost too calm unlike say GSP or Roosevelt Field witch can get nuts at a moments notice on any day of the year.

    As for the KoP expantion, the word is construction is scheduled to begin in 2014. I don’t know what happened, but perhaps there were permit issues since the area where the work will be taking place is in effect a bridge over another roadway. In adition, part of the garage atatched to Neiman Marcus & that side of the mall will need to be reconstructed.

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  39. Hi Sean I see That palisades has done a decent job\
    They arent finished yet they are putting in new elevators and new entrances and new food court seating after the holidays. They still also have to finish the fourth floor. At least its looking like a mall not a warehouse. They are keeping their customers many i have spoken to arent to happy with shops at nanuet. In Plain english ITS BORING.
    HAPPY HOLIDAYS

    [Reply]

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