Freehold Raceway Mall; Freehold, New Jersey

Freehold Raceway Mall in Freehold, NJ

While it’s not necessarily the best time to take pictures of malls (too busy; people get in the way), the Christmas season can be one of the most fun times to go shopping. Even when I worked in retail management, and found this to be the most stressful time of the year, I kind of enjoyed the hustle and bustle and the way that so many people (bar the miserable crankies of course) were in such a good mood.

That’s why I figured I’d share this set of photos taken the weekend before Thanksgiving at the Freehold Raceway Mall in Freehold, New Jersey. This huge, cavernous, super-regional mall (truly the most dominant player for all of the Jersey shore and the southeasternmost New York suburbs) was completely decked out for the holidays and packed to the gill with shoppers.

freehold-raceway-mall-01.jpgThe 1.6 million square foot Freehold Raceway Mall is anchored by Macy’s, JCPenney, Sears, Lord & Taylor, and Nordstrom and is managed by the Macerich Company. The mall opened in 1990 on the site of former stables for the Freehold Raceway, located directly across the street. According to Wikipedia, the JCPenney store was originally supposed to be a Hahne’s location, but the chain went out of business during the mall’s construction. The mall was built in phases, with its final anchor, Macy’s, opening in 1998. Also according to Wikipedia (which is of course not always the most reliable of sources, since someone could just as easily write that Freehold Raceway is anchored by the CarrotTop All-For-a-Dollar Bonanza), there are two current proposed expansions for the mall: one would add a sixth anchor and a parking deck between Macy’s and Nordstrom, along with a hotel, and the other would add an outdoor “lifestyle portion” (wow, how 2006 of them) with restaurants, a major bookstore (gee, which one?), and space for 15 other tenants.

The Freehold Raceway Mall also laid waste to a far smaller mall several miles to the north. The Manalapan Mall was a small mall that housed a Steinbach’s store and 25 other small stores. Plans originally called for a second expansion to hold a total of 100 stores, including JCPenney and Macy’s locations, but the mall was never completed due to financial problems. Steinbach went out of business in the mid-late 1990s, and was replaced by Value City, but the remainder of the mall was later cleared in favor of Target, Wegman’s, Marshalls, and other big box retailers.

To me, Freehold is more than a bit reminiscent of the similarly expansive Danbury Fair Mall in Danbury, Connecticut, with its long corridors and high ceilings. Due to its relatively recent vintage, it’s not a terribly unique mall, but it certainly does well, and these are definitely pleasant pictures to fetch your eyes upon. The Christmas-y photos were taken by me in 2006, the others were taken by Prangeway in 2001. Enjoy!

2006:

Freehold Raceway Mall in Freehold, NJ Freehold Raceway Mall in Freehold, NJ Freehold Raceway Mall in Freehold, NJ Freehold Raceway Mall in Freehold, NJ

Freehold Raceway Mall in Freehold, NJ Freehold Raceway Mall in Freehold, NJ JCPenney at Freehold Raceway Mall in Freehold, NJ Lord & Taylor at Freehold Raceway Mall in Freehold, NJ

2001:

freehold-raceway-mall-02.jpg freehold-raceway-mall-03.jpg freehold-raceway-mall-04.jpg

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1,009 Responses to “Freehold Raceway Mall; Freehold, New Jersey”

  1. There’s a trip down memory lane. Used to go there all the time; an ex of mine lived 10 minutes away. Never got a chance to go to Manalapan Mall. From what I heard, the small chains emptied out the minute Freehold opened, so I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.

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  2. This mall is almost a bizarro copy of the Danbury Fair Mall in Danbury, CT (while I will be covering on my site in the next month). Wilmorite Company must’ve built it because if they didn’t, someone stole plans from somebody… Take a look and compare; I’ve posted a bunch at the Ames Fan Club (http://www.amesfanclub.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=768).

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  3. I used to have a friend that lived near Freehold so I knew a little about the mall, but never saw any pictures. It looks good; completely anonymous, but good.

    Hahne’s must not have started construction before they pulled out, because the JCPenney is a pretty typical JCPenney design for that period. The bubbled and arched entrance gives it away

    I’m kind of surprised about the Lord & taylor though. It looks like it’s in a one-story portion of a mall that looks two stories throughout. Anybody care to verify this?

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  4. Yep… this is definitely a Wilmorite Mall, or was.

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  5. Heads up; Macerich Group is currently renovating a slew of their previously Wilmorite-built malls. Freehold made the list… http://www.freeholdracewaymall.com/aboutus.asp

    As you can see, this mall is slated to become an outdoor *ghast* lifestyle center. Sounds a little silly, good luck to Winter in New Jersey. The 20-year old Danbury Mall, however, is staying indoor (thank god), and getting a pretty nice overhaul. I’m not too eager though, this is about a desecration of childhood memories…

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  6. Actually, if you read closely, they’re just planning on *expanding* the existing mall with a lifestyle component. These things are kind of faddish and destined to become white elephants someday, but in this case it’s not going to replace the massive–and massively successful–main mall.

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  7. Yes, the mall opened in 1990 by Wilmorite. Originally, it opened with the 2-story Lord & Taylor and Sears. JC Penney opened about a year later, then Nordstrom in 1995-ish. The Macy’s location was planned to be an A & S, but Federated killed them. It was going to be a Stern’s, but finally Federated killed them too and decided on a Macy’s. I have maps of all 3 department stores featuring coming soon logos on the location. I went opening weekend (August 1990) and the mall was deemed a failure. Almost 40% of the stores were empty, and they filled the walls with pictures of the old Freehold Raceway and the fire that destroyed it. Nobody thought the mall would be the success it has become today.

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  8. Holy S**t, it’s Irondequoit Mall with open stores and people actually shopping there (Another former Wilmorite mall built at the same time).

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  9. Steven:

    You’re right about the L&T oddity. The photo above was taken from the second floor. The design there is strange; esentially the L&T store doesn’t meet the mall flush across both levels, but instead the mall continues further on the second floor–on TOP of L&T. You can get some sense of the difference if you go to the official site and toggle between the two floors on the directory.

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  10. That first picture… looks JUST LIKE the Danbury Fair Mall. It’s even the same colours. WTF.

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  11. I can’t get over how much this looks like the Danbury Mall, even down the the carousel in the food court. Although the carousel in Danbury is a double-decker and was originally part of the Danbury Fair on the grounds where the current mall is built. It’s really uncanny. Even the fountain pics are similar. Amazing!!!

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  12. Same here. I’ve been going to Danbury Mall since I was 4; around the year this mall was built. It really shocks me to see Wilmorite barely had an original plan for this mall especially because the Danbury Fair Mall was modeled *after* the 181 year old Danbury Fair (with the glass/tent-esque ceilings, carousel). If you see one of my pictures of the center court, notice how the Haagen Dazs is on the bottom level in the same place at Danbury; except that one is on the top!

    I’ll say it again; Freehold Raceway is a bizarro, alternate world Danbury Fair Mall that sems to have only received slight interior makeup aside from it’s more insipid exterior. Nonetheless, all the more reason to make this a possible destination for this Summer. It seems the Macerich renovation, which I misunderstood, will make the mall a little more distinct from Wilmorite’s original uninspired copycat.

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  13. Hi everyone! I’m the author of the second comment on the Manalapan Mall page at deadmalls.com. I also live 10 minutes away from this mall.

    Dave is correct in saying that Freehold Raceway Mall did not open as a success–old habits die hard in this area. However, this mall did not immediately kill off Manalapan Mall–key word being “immediately”. Large sign on the surrounding highways (Routes 9, 33, and 537) aside, this is not an easy mall to find. You cannot see the mall itself from any highway, and from one entrance (Route 33), can’t even see any outposts. This is another reason why Freehold Raceway Mall did not immediately take off.

    According to my mom, who has lived in this area for over 25 years, little Manalapan Mall hung in there for a few years longer than average, being it was very much visible on Route 9. It was only the last three or four years of its life (1993-97?) that was truly its death knell.

    If I remember correctly, Stern’s was among one of the original anchors (along with Sears, Nordstrom, and JC Penney); it later became Lord & Taylor after it closed, although I could be mixing up L&T with Nordstrom.

    I can’t say I miss Manalapan Mall; if it weren’t for Freehold Raceway Mall, I would still be trekking 30 minutes to Monmouth Mall in Eatontown, or worse, the funny-smelling Brunswick Square Mall (yuck!) in East Brunswick.

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  14. Also, to answer Steven’s question: The Lord & Taylor in this mall is indeed two stories; there are mall entrances on both levels. Otherwise, what Caldor said. :)

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  15. Caldor & Debbi:

    After looking at the map, the L&T configuration does make sense.

    I’ve seen a Belk in North Carolina set up like this (except that it was three floors instead of two) and a similar setup at Bloomingdale’s in Tysons Corner Center.

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  16. Is the JCPenney store a half octagon shape? Aside from the colors, it looks exactly like the one at Westmoreland Mall in Greensburg, PA.

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  17. The malls planning to add lifestyle center components connecting some of it’s outside enterances to the mall

    should be interesting……

    Anyone know how the mall got it’s “Raceway” name? honestly I was expecting some kind of race track in the mall, lol.

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  18. okay never mind I found out about the name earlier in the post :rollseyes:

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  19. There’s an actual Freehold Raceway about a mile or so from the mall, according to Google Maps. I also have confirmed my own previous question regarding the JCPenney store.

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  20. Not even a mile–right across the highway. It’s actually easier to find than the mall, LOL.

    I’m not entirely sure on this–I’m on vacation away from the Freehold area as I write this–but portions of the adjacent “lifestyle center” may be open already. The last time I was at the mall (early December), I saw Christmas Tree Shops already open and a coming soon/now hiring sign on the entrance of Marshall’s.

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  21. I’m a local, and want to add a few things.

    The “Raceway” is not only across the street, but has its stables in a corner of the mall property. The horses/sulkies (this is a harness facility) cross over US9 to get to the track.

    The name “Freehold Mall” belongs to a strip center (not a big one) just south of FRM. They were unwilling to relinquish their name when FRM opened. Locals getting in a cab have to be specific, or they get a ridxe to the wrong place.

    The fencing off of the lot for the new space started today. If nothing else, it should help unify the main mall with some of the eastern outparcel “big boxes.”

    When I was last in Danbury Fair, ti was before FRM had opened, and I didn’t make the connection. I just looked at the Danbury map, and, gosh, it is uncanny.

    If you want to look for bizarre ities at FRM (and comment if they have parallels at other Macerich properties), I have observed:
    - directories completey removed at some major entrances to make room for kiosks
    - payphones in the service hallways removed.

    Somehow, as a kidless almost-50YO, it makes me feel like the message is “if you’re not one of the thousands of teens who knowe this mall by heart, AND have a cell glued to your ear, you’re not one of our people.”

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  22. I went to the freehold raceway mall back in 1990 on its opening day pretty nice mall but not on of the best malls around when I was living in freehold in the 1980′s it was a struggle to go to a mall we would either had to go to monmouth mall or the old seaview square you know with stern’s,steinbach’s????? to do our shopping but since then Im not too thrilled with freehold mall its not on my favorite list I like going to monmouth mall a lot better even though I live 20 mins away in woodbridge.

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  23. Just gonna put this out here…the food court and some of the interior spaces remind of the Providence Place Mall in downtown Providence. Im from CT but have never been to the Danbury Fair Mall so couldnt compare it.

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  24. http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/abrahambamster/

    this is my new group on yahoo I urge you all to join if you love the days when there was a lot of local chains and not 10 million Macy’s join this group I need members post memories of the defunct chains

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  25. i wenbt to this mall back in 2003 and it comptnley looks just like the danbuy mall on the insdie only diffreence is that danbury open in 1986 with macys and JC Penny opening in 1988 and lord and taylor opening in 1991

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  26. I went back to this mall today for the first time since before Christmas. Here’s what I found:

    –quite a few stores have closed including Delia’s, Gadzooks (made redundant by the opening of Forever 21 last fall), Babou (local upscale boutique), and a local upscale pet boutique. However, there are also stores that have opened or will soon including Jasmine Sola, Skechers, Robert Wayne Footwear (not sure if this is a chain or local), Baudino (designer shoes), a Soup Man kiosk in the food court, a local candy store, and a blast from my past, Bakers Shoes. (yet more shoes! Yay…ah, ahem. ;) ) Seems to me FRM is going more and more toward the upscale route.

    –construction on the parking deck by Macy’s has begun. I can only hope this doesn’t take too long; this has made finding parking extremely annoying.

    –similarly, I believe ground has been cleared for the “lifestyle” portion. If I observed correctly, it’s on the roadway leading to Route 9.

    –I keep hearing rumours there’s supposed to be a Cheesecake Factory arriving soon. I’m guessing it will be with the “lifestyle” portion? It’s ridiculous that a mall as big as FRM only has two restaurants. Unless you count the Chili’s that’s across Route 9, which I don’t.

    –as far as I know, I haven’t seen any sign of ground broken for the sixth anchor yet.

    Also, to comment on Jay’s post above…I’m a late thirtysomething, also childless, though I do admit I occasionally have the cell glued to my ear when walking around, LOL. I do feel quite comfortable there. :)

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  27. Beginning this month, Freehold Raceway Mall will embark on an interior renovation that will drastically change the apperance of the mall with new flooring, lighting and a brighter paint job. While the mall will be better lit and have a more modern look, they sadly are taking out the big center court fountain in favor of a smaller center court fountain, seating area and coffee kiosk (most likely a Starbucks..a la Tysons Galleria and Fair Oaks). If there’s something they need to change, it’s the center court elevator…for the size of the mall, it’s still way too tiny.

    Update on the expansion:

    -most of the steel sturctural supports are up

    -while I am not totally sure, the bookstore is going to be a Borders. I am guessing this because the steel supports near the entrance of the store resemble the design of the Eatontown and Ramsey Borders, BN already has two route 9 locations (Freehold and Howell) and I have heard no word of them vacating the behind the times Freehold location. Also, this will be Borders’s 1st 2 level location in Central Jersey and 1st route 9 location.

    -no update on the other stores, but the Cheesecake Factory opening is looking pretty belivable because the steel structure resembles that of the Meno and Riverside Cheesecake Factory.

    -there has been a lot of clearing between the route 9 entrance of the mall and JCPenney/Lord & Taylor…don’t know what that’s going to be yet since they have to even out the land….it will be interesting, though

    -The expansion will make Freehold Raceway Mall the 2nd largest mall in NJ behind Garden State Plaza (which is also going through an expansion of its own)

    The wooded area across from Lord and Taylor and the route 9 entrance road has recently been cleared. Still too soon to tell what will be there being that they still have to even out the land. At the conclusion of the expansion/renovation, some stores/restuarants I’d like to see in FRM are Teavana, Brooks Brothers, JCrew, Williams-Sonoma, Champps, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and Restoration Hardware. Exciting times for the Freehold Raceway Mall!

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  28. All of this conversation is interesting… and brings back memories for me…

    I grew up in Manalapan in the 1970s and 1980s, only 5 minutes away from Freehold and the mall (when Route 9 wasn’t so jammed with cars!)… returned home from college in upstate NY during normal holiday breaks and summer vacation in the late 80s and early 90s before permanently moving to the West coast in 1993…

    Remember vividly the very beginnings of FRM… as it was exciting to see the retail landscape change dramatically in central NJ… no more long trips to other malls (Monmouth, Brunswick Square, Menlo Park and even Short Hills) from the talk and town approvals to build it, to the announcement of what department stores were going in to opening day in August of 1990… I was even at Nordstrom’s grand opening two years later in August of 1992…

    The original retail line-up announcement stated Sears and Lord and Taylor (it was never scheduled to be a Stern’s) would open first when the mall opened in 1990, Hahnes would open in 1991 and Nordstrom in 1992… the actual buildings for the latter two were not even built at the grand opening… Macy’s arrival wasn’t announced until a few years later… in 1995, I believe…

    Originally, the Freehold Nordstrom was going to be the company’s first NJ store but when Hahne’s went out of business (and pulled out of Freehold, hence JCPenney), the upscale retailer quickly expanded in other parts of the state (Garden State Plaza and Menlo Park) by renovating the former Hahne’s stores… which didn’t take as much time, where Freehold was an entire new structure… so Freehold became the company’s third NJ location…

    Even though Manalapan Mall was never really a great place for retail, it brings back lots of memories for me… from eating at Friendly’s with my family to hanging out with friends at the Sam Goody to seeing my art work from school be a part of the mall’s annual art show…

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  29. According to an article in Wednesday’s Asbury Park Press, it’s official (and nearly official)…PF Changs is coming to the new lifestyle center and Cheesecake Factory is in negotiations, likely to come to the new lifestyle center. Haven’t heard whether the bookstore will be Borders or Barnes and Noble (I’m still guessing Borders), but I did hear that Reuhl 33 is coming to the mall, most possibly the lifestyle center. Still don’t know yet what all the clearing near the route 9 entrance will bring.

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  30. to respond to mitch’s comment stern’s was proposed to be at the freehold raceway mall but it fell through then A&S was proposed for the mall until their demise in 1995 so they settled for macy’s which opened in 1998 I remeber when it opened they had Brandy to come out there to sign autographs and stuff

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  31. from what i gather, the open parcel that is being leveled on Raceway Mall Drive, is going to be remote parking for employees. If it is going to be anything else, they will definetly need a few more traffic lights, as it gets really bad heading to route 9.

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  32. Haven’t heard whether the bookstore will be Borders or Barnes and Noble (I’m still guessing Borders),

    I’m guessing Borders, as I highly doubt B&N is moving from their highly profitable and often crowded Route 9 location. Though you never know.

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  33. Changes are starting to take place at Freehold Raceway Mall. A large wall and tarp is covering the majority of center court and the fountain is GONE. Also in center court, they are starting to re-do the elevator. In other areas of the mall, the copper ball things below the skylights are gone, as are the arched beaded lights below the skylights. The mall now has a musty construction smell and they haven’t even started tearing up the tile yet.

    The lifestyle construction is really coming along and I am convinced the bookstore will be Borders, but I have no confirmation on it yet. The cleared area near the route 9 entrance is starting to look more like a parking lot and they are also building a small parking area in the back near Nordstrom.

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  34. Link to an article in today’s Asbury Park Press regarding the addition to the mall. Borders has been named as the first tenant, ending the speculation here…

    http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070511/BUSINESS/705110374/1003

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  35. I remember how exotic PF Changs was just a few years ago. Now, it and Cheesecake Factory are becoming the new homogenized standard for these upscale big box lots. If one is installed, there’s a damn good chance the other will as well.

    We still don’t have any in Connecticut although one such hyper-scale center planned…

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  36. Thanks for the confirmation, Mike. I wonder if the arrival of Borders will mean the Waldenbooks in the mall proper will close.

    Last week I was once again in this mall. This time, in addition to the construction already mentioned, I noticed that UNI-QLO, a shop that opened with much fanfare a little under two years ago, has closed. Guess lots of other people figured what I did: that the place is little more than a Japanese version of Old Navy. Also gone is Nancy’s Coffee, unsurprising since I never saw anybody in there. Things Remembered (their 2nd time around) is gone too, as is The Game Room Store (drywalled with a sign with the word “Ruehl” on the door….don’t know if this is the replacement store or just the construction company, LOL)

    This gives me a twinge of concern, as an outlet mall opened up recently on Route 9 about 8 miles away, though most likely the mall that should really worry is Brunswick Square, which blows anyway.

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  37. Ruehl is a clothing store operated by Abercrombie & Fitch, I think. There’s one at 12 Oaks Mall in Novi.

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  38. It is very unlikely that Waldenbooks will remain, as both Borders and Waldenbooks are a part of the same company. As occurred in Menlo Park Mall when Barnes and Noble opened, B Dalton Booksellers closed down, as they are both part of the same company. Speaking of B&N, it’s time to upgrade the Freehold store with the new competition across the street. The large Borders Books/Music may also lead to the demise of the music stores in the mall, as B&N has done in both Menlo Park and the Shops at Riverside. FRM will be Ruehl’s 2nd location in NJ (one is in GSP) and maybe with the closing of Uniqlo (the Menlo store is still open) we’ll finally see JCrew come to Freehold. Teavana may be opening at FRM in late 2007-early 2008.

    True about Brunswick Square not being a great mall, but this place will survive as it has a large movie theatre that the majority of the EB/Spotswood/Monroe kids frequent, the Barnes and Noble cafe is consistently busy during the evenings, and the mall itself is convenient to those who live in its immediate area. Additionally, it has great visibility on Route 18. Most recently, I heard that Simon has plans for additonal development there, spefically building a Bistro Row b/t Ruby Tuesday and JCPenney, on a smaller scale of what will be done at Cherry Hill Mall. There was actually going to be a 2nd floor addition there back in the 90s, but many EB residents were against it and even if it were to be built, Route 18 and Rues Lane would both need major construction.

    Back to Freehold Raceway Mall, I am excited to hear the other stores planned for the expansion. There is a great chance this place will become the GS Plaza of the Jersey Shore!

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  39. The only music store at FRM is a huge FYE located right next to Macy’s (I think…my memory is foggy). I’m not sure of the traffic there (I didn’t say it was good, just huge, LOL), but I would think it would stay open. Then again, as you said, the music department at B&N in Menlo Park did kill off Compact Disc World there. The deciding factor is going to be the selection at Borders; the one at the B&N on Route 9 is pretty anemic.

    You are right about Brunswick Square’s B&N and movie theatre; the latter will get lots more traffic when the Regal 8 in Marlboro is closed and demolished. And yes, it is convenient to those in the EB area (don’t you just love New Jersey…everyone has a car but nobody wants to go very far for anything). But BS has no food court, is dated and smells funny. Hell, even the candy in the machines is rancid. IMO, they should just keep the movie theatre, the B&N, and the restaurants and just turn the place into a lifestyle center.

    I’m excited about the expansion as well. I wonder what other stores will be part of the next wave. I’d love it if they gave the Sanrio Store another chance, but that’s just my wishful thinking, LOL

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  40. I wouldn’t be surprised if they found a way to put an H&M store in Freehold. It seems to be turning into the type of mall one of those stores would do well in.

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  41. Stopped by the mall today and noticed a few more changes with the ongoing construction and expansion:

    - They are now beginning to tear up some of the old tile

    - Repainting of the ironwork below the skylights has begun. It looks as if it will now be changing from green to beige. A couple of the iron rungs under the skylights have been painted and the crane that is sitting in the Lord and Taylor wing will probably move across the mall to do the rest of it.

    - The tarp has been removed covering center court and few remnants of the fountain remain…the planters have been torn up and only a few blue tiles remain.

    - More of the facade of Borders looks to have been completed and the lifestyle construction progresses.

    - The new parking lot behind Nordstrom looks complete and the parking lot along the route 9 entrance is beginning to take shape.

    Still waiting for announcements of the new stores to take up the space of the lifestyle expansion as well as the vacant spots within the mall (fingers crossed for JCrew, Teavana, the 2nd coming of Williams-Sonoma and Brooks Brothers)

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  42. A correction to what I wrote a few posts up: Things Remembered has not closed; they merely moved locations. Sorry about that.

    There are, however, more vacant spaces in the mall than I am comfortable seeing. Not to imply FRM is going to join the list of the dead anytime soon, but the vacancy rate appears to be about 15% as far as I can tell, the most I have seen since I moved back to the area in 1999. Can anyone confirm or dispute?

    On a brighter note, there will be a fountain at FRM after all. According to a radio ad, it will be on a smaller scale in the main area. Also, the targeted date for the openings is November. Hope everything is going in time for the Christmas shopping season!

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  43. Another official announcement. The Cheesecake Factory will be joining the lifestyle expansion. This was speculated by me and others for the past few months and it’s good to see we were right. Looking forward to hearing the other tennants in the mall.

    And no worries about the higher vacancy rate…probably just a re-shuffling of tennants…the same thing is going on right now in Menlo Park Mall.

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  44. Made a trip to the mall this weekend and here’s an update on the progress:

    - Most of the work is being done in the Lord and Taylor wing

    - All the plants and trees that were once implanted in the mall floor have been torn up

    - The small globe lights along the skylights and supports have been removed.

    - Some of the glass of the skylights looks as if it is being replaced

    - The tiles have been torn up throughout most of the mall

    - The stairwell in front of Sears has been removed

    - The painting of the ironwork under the skylights, as well as the atrium concrete has progressed and by the looks of it, they are shooting for earth tones…lots of tan

    - The atrium lights in the Lord and Taylor wing have been removed…probably soon to follow in the Sears wing

    - No noticeable change in the center court renovation

    - Rear parking lot complete, route 9 entrance parking lot still under construction

    - The buildings of the lifestyle center are progressing nicely…looks as if the majority of the steelwork is done…waiting on more announcements of openings

    - Store changes: Ruehl 925 announced a fall opening, NY & Co space is available, UNIQLO space is available

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  45. NY & Co space is available,

    Wait a minute…I was back at FRM about two weeks ago and the sign in NY & Co said “closed for renovations, will reopen in six weeks”. Of course, I take all closed for renovations signs with a pound of salt, but I remember The Gap did the exact same thing two years ago and they’re still open and doing fine. Unless something changed in the past two weeks?

    NY & Co was one of the shops I frequently visited, and though most of their staff left me unimpressed, they did get a decent amount of business.

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  46. If anyone’s interested, I have some photos of the mall’s progress here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shaneyoyeah/sets/72157594182696692/

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  47. I stand corrected, Debi. I was at the mall this week and more signage about the NY&CO status was available…they are in fact renovating. Also noticed that Charlotte Rousse (sp?) is taking over the UNIQLO space.

    As for the renovation and expansion, more of the original tiles are gone, some new tiles by Lord and Taylor are down, new lights on the skylights are up and the painting of the skylight area goes on…not much new progress in center court, but the lifestyle center is coming along nicely and the new parking lots are almost done.

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  48. No probs, Mallguy. It’s all good. :)

    One new parking lot (on the right side as you’re entering the mall property via Route 9) is now open. Not too many changes with store openings/closings. Bakers Shoes is now open, and Amuse Accessories has been announced for fall. Also, a second branch of Gloria Jean’s is now open in the Nancy’s space.

    Good luck to Charlotte Rousse; they’re going to have some *serious* competition with Wet Seal and Forever 21 nearby. But I’m excited that CR is coming: IMO more cheap semi-trashy fashion is always a good thing, LOL.

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  49. Haven’t been to the mall in about a month, but there were two articles released about upcoming opening….one in the Asbury Park Press and the other a mall press release. Joining Borders and Cheesecake Factory in the lifestyle center are PF Changs and two new to the area retailers, Jared’s The Galleria of Jewelry and The Territory Ahead. Curious to see what else will be opening there. Hopefully, the FRM lifestyle center will be better than the one recently opened at Bridgewater Commons.

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  50. I did stop by the mall today and noticed a lot more changes since I was last there about a month ago:

    - The New Tile is down on the Nordstrom wing, JCPenney wing and Lord and Taylor wing…this area of the mall is a lot brighter as a result.

    - Most of the old tile has been stripped.

    - Painting of the ironwork under the skylights is more than halfway done.

    - Temporary lights have been placed on the skylights

    - Most of the fountain area has been raised to the level of the rest of the mall, except for the central portion..probably where the new fountain and coffee kiosk will go…I would think this area of the mall would be done by the holidays.

    -Forever 21 will open in the former Delia’s space.

    - It looks as if the Lifestyle Center will come out to the ring road and allow easier access to Dick’s (following the pattern from Flatiron Crossing in CO). At the lifestyle center, Cheesecake Factory will be located next to Borders and I am not yet able to discern where other stores will go.

    - Both new parking lots are complete.

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  51. Got a question aimed toward Mallguy, but of course anyone else can feel free to answer.

    This week my travels have taken me to Woodbridge Center and Monmouth Mall, as well as Hamilton Mall in South Jersey. To my amazement, I see many stores open and doing fine in those malls that have bombed at FRM. UNI-QLO and Sanrio are the only two that come to mind right now, but I could probably come up with others when my memory is refreshed.

    What I’m asking is…why is that? Granted, WC and MM are aimed toward different demographics (especially MM, which seems to be aimed more at a working-class clientele, though they do have most of what FRM offers), but the number of stores I’ve seen that were fly-by-nights at FRM seemed unsettling? Perhaps they are giving narrow focus to the upscale customer?

    BTW, I don’t want to leave Shaney out here…great pics! :)

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  52. I’ll attempt, Debbi, at answering your question.

    Freehold Raceway mall has always has size on its size, as well as potentioal to get bigger and bigger (as it has done and is doing). Throughout most of its history, FRM, has always used this size to say in marketing and attracting stores that we can be all things to all shoppers. Examples: stores like Nordstrom and Sears, Old Navy and Apple are all under the same roof. This has caused some of the upscale stores some concern such as Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma which pulled out three years ago. Now FRM is transitioning to marketing to a higher end shopper as we have seen and see with some of its recent additions. Plus, they are trying to keep their Mercer County base of shoppers now that Quakerbridge Mall is planning an expansion with Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. Why Uniqlo didn’t make it…I’d say that they felt their Menlo store was more successful and has a larger customer base.

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  53. I have to make a pilgrimage to this place when it is done. I live about 80 minutes away but it will be worth!

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  54. Worth it I mean. Sorry!

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  55. Not related to the Freehold Raceway Mall, but does anyone remember what stores the Manalapan Mall had before it got creamed by the FRM? I was a young kid then, but besides Steinbach’s the anchor, I remember there was a Friendly’s, CVS, Daemart’s (? kinda like dollar store), a jewelry store.

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  56. Pat,

    In the Manalapan Mall, you also had a fur store, a candy store (Jo-ann something or other) The Cupboard (an early Lechters or Sur La Table), Mandee…the others I don’t remember. But they were supposed to have an expansion wing with Macy’s and Sears, but that never transpired.

    On Freehold Raceway Mall, I haven’t been there in a while, but I did read that Borders and the Cheesecake Factory are planning September/October openings and Rhehl opens in November.

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  57. Stopped by today for the 1st time since earlier in the month. The lifestyle center is progressing nicely…not all the stores are finished, but they have started to put in place some of the pavement and planters…one thing I did notice is that the pavement is a reddish/maroonish hue…a similar color to that of Future World in EPCOT. The openings of Borders and Cheesecake Factory seem to be on target. It seems that the majority of the ceiling has been painted and the pattern I’ve been noticing is they are working in a north to south fashion. The Lord and Taylor wing is fully tiled and they haven’t yet started in the Sears wing. Also, it seems most of the equipment, cranes, etc has been relocated to center court. They have also started to put in piping for the new fountain, and maybe have even begun to build the foundation for the new coffee kiosk. I would be surprised if center court is finished before the holidays. As a result of the renovation, they are bound to have new holiday decor in the mall.

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  58. Pat, in addition to what Mallguy mentioned, there was also a Musicland and an independent pizza place. Someone upthread said the Musicland was a Sam Goody’s; this might have been the case for the last few years of its life. The Jo-Ann’s candy store was actually a kiosk across from Friendly’s and the pizza place.

    Mallguy: Thank you for answering my question. I like the “all things to all shoppers” (without getting *too* downscale) idea. FRM is in the middle between an upper-middle income area (Manalapan, Marlboro) and middle to lower-middle (Freehold Boro, Howell). I always thought the balance was just right, but I understand from a business viewpoint the trend toward getting the higher-income shoppers. Although if they boot Hot Topic, I will raise holy hell, LOL.

    Speaking of Hot Topic, there’s something called Robot Factory going in next door; I recall reading that’s supposed to be a combination store/interactive experience of some type, kind of like Build-A-Bear if I remember correctly. I’ll try to research this and report back. I do remember reading this is the first store of theirs in New Jersey. Not sure of the opening date.

    Now it’s my turn to go OT: Upthread I mentioned the Shoppes at Old Bridge, and how it might be a thread to FRM. Well, I was there recently and the place was totally dead. To be fair, the day I went–a sunny Tuesday afternoon in early August–was not prime time for shopping. But the place, for a lifestyle center that received a fair amount of hype, was not looking too healthy. The jury is still out on whether this place is going to make it. Either way, I would say FRM and Brunswick Square don’t have much to worry about.

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  59. I noticed the upcoming Robot Factory as well…I’ve never heard of it, but it does look interesting. Something I also noticed is they have taped up the majority of mall entrances that look out on to the lifestyle expansion (they are currently closed off to normal traffic and are designated as fire doors until the lifestyle expansion opens)…you can still see through, but only slightly…maybe they are trying to heighten the suspense.

    Debbi, thanks for mentioning the Shoppes at Old Bridge. I also agree that it poses no threat to Brunswick Square or Freehold Raceway Mall. It will serve as a complement to the mall(s) in the same way that the Grove at Shrewsbury serves as an complement to the Monmouth Mall (and a better alternative at times). The jury is still out on the Shoppes at Old Bridge as some stores and the majority of the dining options have not yet opened (Bensi and Panera are supposed to open here). Also, the highway visibility is not as strong as it is for the other Stanbery lifestyle centers opening in NJ (already open: The Shoppes at Union Hill, Route 10, Denville; and opening in the fall: The Shoppes at North Brunswick at the interesections of Routes 1 & 130, North Brunswick)

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  60. There is a free-standing building in the parking lot, across from where Borders is going in the new “lifestyle” section. This building seems like an afterthought, and kind of messes up the streetscape. Do you know what is going into that building? .

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  61. Heads up! my girlfriend reports from Dambury fair they lost not only has Filenes closed but so has JCPenny & L & T as well.

    Who knows whats happening

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  62. She’s wrong — L&T and Penney’s are still open at Danbury. Unless they’re temporarily closed for renovation.

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  63. Bobby when was the last timeyou were there? Debbie was there sat sep 8. She says Lord & taylor & JCPenny both have left leaving Sears & Macy’s.

    Those are her exact words.

    Sorry about the last post i couldn’t see the errors i made.

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  64. Just to give an update, both the Lord & Taylor and JCPenney stores at the Danbury Fair Mall in Connecticut are open today until 9:30pm. They are open for business in spite of previous postings. The former Filene’s does remain dark.
    You may call both L&T and Penney’s for confirmation if you’d like. The only Lord & Taylor that has closed since they were thankfully freed from Macy’s owners last year was the location at Chicago’s Water Tower Place. It was not their decision to close that store. A greedy landlord made that decision.
    However, it is interesting to note that at 79,000 square feet, the Danbury Lord & Taylor store is the smallest in the company.

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  65. Thank you Michael i’ll let Debbie know.

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  66. Freehold Raceway Mall officials say they’ve signed four new tenants for the new outdoors “lifestyle” section, namely Ann Taylor, Chico’s, Coldwater Creek and White House|Black Market. They join five previously announced tenants — Borders Books, Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Territory Ahead. This completes the opening day roster.

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  67. And there are still about 5 more stores that will eventually open there, according to the Press. Sounds like a pretty good lineup so far and a very similar lineup to the Village at Bridgewater Commons (the newly announced stores are all at the Village), but better…just hope for maybe a Brooks Brothers, Sharper Image or JCrew to open up there.

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  68. Thanks, mallguy and Debbi for your info on Manalapan Mall.

    Also, Here’s the lease plan that shows where the new outside stores will be placed…

    http://www.freeholdracewaymall.com/assets/freeholdracewaymall/Merchants%20First/Demographics/Lease_Plan/lease_plan_2.pdf

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  69. Looks like I’ve seen more renovation progress in my mall trip today. It seems they have the new lighting connected in the Lord and Taylor Wing and they are also beginning to install the new lighting on the columns. I have a feeling that once everything’s done, FRM will look pretty impressive at night with its lighting…who knows, maybe even to the level of Menlo Park. The Sears wing is seeing some more construction…the ironwork has all been painted and they are installing a new escalator where the staircase next to Sears was located…I would not be surprised to see the escalator in the center of that wing be dismantled, as was the one on the Lord and Taylor side when the stairs in front of Lord and Taylor were replaced with an escalator. I continue to stand by my previous prediction that center court will not be ready for the holidays…not much new progress over there. Also, more new tile is down in the food court. Throughout the mall, they have done a lot more painting and most of the ironwork except for center court, a few areas in the food court, as well as near Lord and Taylor have all been repainted. In terms of new stores, Ruehl is open, which I am excited about, and Charlotte Russe has also opened. On the lifestyle center, they have put up street lights, but the building that is going next to PF Changs has not yet been started. Also nameplates and letters have begun to go up on the buildings. Freehold looks like it’s definitely going to be the Garden State Plaza of Central Jersey.

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  70. What are they going to do with the Loews cinema?

    I think it would be a good idea to add a new theatre to the lifestyle section.

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  71. I agree and I believe that moving the Loews to the new lifestyle section would be a good thing and would not only improve the selection of entertainment options there, but give further help to Borders, PF Changs and the Cheesecake Factory (not that they’re going to need it). However, I don’t see it happening anytime soon (pretty sure the mall won’t sacrifice any more parking), eventhough a stadium seating theatre would be nice in Monmouth County.

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  72. Does anyone know when Loews opened?

    As for the parking issue Mall guy i think a structure might do the job. Roosevelt Field for example had 3 structures that were built there & can handle the traffic flow. There is a case for AMC to replace that theatre, why not frm? Then again the same could be said for Menlo Park & Newport Centre, the latter 2 have older theatres than FRM. But i still say move the Loews to were the lifestyle wing is. Just trying to be practical.

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  73. If they move the theater to the lifestyle section, they can build a surface lot over the old theater.

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  74. Funny…the idea of a parking structure didn’t even come to mind. It is a good idea and I would definitely endorse that. FRM could definitely handle the extra traffic, more so than Menlo Park, Garden State Plaza or Tysons Corner. Garden State Plaza even built parking underneath their new AMC Theatre. Who knows…maybe we’ll see the AMC move.

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  75. Mallguy maybe we can work on an site plan & sell it to macerich.

    I assume that you know that the Menlo Park theatre is on top of the parking structure, there’s somthing to go on. FYI many new AMC theatres are on the 2nd floor with parking under them. L.A.s Centry City, Fashon Valley & GSP come to mind since they’re based on the same prototype.

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  76. mallguy since you brought up menlo’s traffic problem i’m not sure what the problem is. Is the ring road off route 1 & Parsonage road? Or is it the way the traffic flows?

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  77. Lol…actually Sean, the Cineplex at Menlo Park technically covers the lower level parking area near the Macy’s midcourt entrance whereas in Garden State Plaza, there is more of a deck like structure underneath the AMC. The Cineplex is not a part of the 3 level parking deck in the back, but the theatres do have access to it.

    With the traffic issue at Menlo Park, the design of the ring road is flawed for a couple of reasons and they causes major traffic backups:

    - The ring road drops from 2 lanes to one lane when it makes the turn toward Barnes and Noble, The Cheesecake Factory and Nordstrom. When they built B&N and TCF, they didn’t think through how that area would be congested with pedestrians crossing toward the mall and people slowing down to looking for parking, as the parking is quite tight over there.

    -Also, where the front part of the ring road intersects with the rear part of the ring road near Nordstrom and Fox and Hound are two major traffic chokepoints. On a weekend, this could significantly back up as a result of the lack of traffic lights at these places and also because the front ring road portions are only one road. The traffic and construction situation on route 1 doesn’t help matters much either.

    With Freehold Raceway Mall, eventhough the traffic may run smoothly now, I would not be surprised that within 5 years, the route 9 and route 537 entrances are overpassed.

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  78. Thanks mallguy. I have 1 more question what should simon do with the cineplex’s at Menlo Park & Newport Centre? Menlo needs a new theatre desperitly & Newports is even worse.

    But what else would you expect from cineplex odeon

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  79. To answer Sean’s earlier questions, the prospect of renovating the Cineplex at Menlo is very appealing. Its interior screams late 80s early 90s and it is not a stadium seating theater, where one would expect a mall that size to have one, especially with the large number of entertainment options Menlo Park has. The cineplex actually replaced a 2 screen movie theater where Macaroni Grill now stands. The new AMCs at Rockaway and GS Plaza are quite impressive and do set a standard of what a movie theatre should look like. I think it is unlikely that the Menlo theater will be renovated, as it will be quite a challenge considering its location in the mall and also due to the fact that Hartz-Mountain plans for a large movie theatre 2 miles down the road at the new Edison Town Center (former Ford Plant). I haven’t been to Newport in years, but since the mall recenlty got a facelift, why shouldn’t the movie theater get one too!

    On your earlier question, the Loews in Freehold opened in 1994/1995. It was nice when it opened, but it’s a little tired and way too populated by teenagers on the weekends.

    On my most recent trip to the mall, I had the chance to check out the new Ruehl and it’s quite a cool store. The design of the store is quite impressive (they cut corners in this one though in that it doesn’t have the different levels that the ones in GS Plaza and Tysons Corner do) and the clothing they sell is a much higher quality than its counterparts in Abercrombie and Hollister.

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  80. Thank you mallguy!

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  81. There may be a way to turn the Menlo Park theatre into a stadium seating setup-by gutting it, raising the roof & only having 9 or 10 theatres instead of the current 12 or 11 in the case of Newport.

    I never sead it would be easy or cheep.

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  82. I nnever said it would be easy or cheep!

    EXCUSEME!

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  83. Some days i just cant type at all.

    for the third time, I never said it would be cheep or easy.

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  84. I was in the mall again today (was going to do an “on the scene update” from the Apple Store, but I’d put more thought in doing it this way) and here are the construction updates. A lot of visible progress:

    - The promenade area of the Lifestyle Center is now open and the area looks pretty darn good. Cheesecake Factory is also open. Don’t know if the “performance stage” is up yet and I wonder where it will be…unless the performance area is the small grassy knoll in front of Borders. I hope they install speakers in the planters to have a little “mood music” in the same fashion as in The Grove.

    - The ceiling is almost fully painted and most of the lighting is installed. There is also lighting underneath each column, which is probably going to look cool at night.

    - In terms of lighting, they are also putting in the cables, supports and wires for the hanging lights that will be directly under the skylights.

    - The food court area has been repainted and re-tiled, they still have some of the old bead and neon lighting up that may get removed.

    - 70% of the mall is re-tiled…also there are areas that aren’t tiled that are seating areas and I think they will be installing carpets, along with soft seating in these areas…we’ll have to see.

    - Center Court had a lot of progress. The new fountain is beginning to be built, the utilities for the coffee kiosk are installed, the elevator’s exterior was redone and the ceiling over has been painted.

    - On the second floor in center court, they added frosted glass to the atrium gating where the new customer service booth will go.

    - The old escalator between Center Court and Sears was taken out, as were the Sears stairs, and the escalator is now next too Sears.

    A whole lot of changing going on. I did not notice any additional announcements for new stores, but I am hoping for more. More and more each day, Freehold Raceway Mall is starting to remind me of Rockaway Townsquare in that they are gradually going more upscale and are continuing along with the marketing philosophy of being everything to everybody. FRM is going in a very good direction.

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  85. Wonder if circuit city or best buy should open a store there. They both have locations on route 9 but it maybe a good bookend for borders.

    What dou say mallguy.

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  86. Sounds pretty interesting, but I don’t really see it happening. The Best Buy is at a particularly good location and I doubt they’d give it up…same for Circuit City. As we had discussed earlier, I think moving the Loews/AMC to the lifestyle center by rebuilding it as a stadium seating theater should be an option that is considered.

    While I think the new lifestyle center is pretty nice and I like the setup of it, something I would have liked to see (and maybe in a few years, who knows) is more stores built between the mall and Dick’s, creating a lifestyle promenade between the mall and Dick’s.

    And it definitely is time to start considering to build parking decks.

    I forgot to mention in the previous post that I hope FRM decides to change their Chirstmas decor…what they have is a little tired to me…nothing beat the Christmas decor the first 5 years of the mall and I rather miss it.

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  87. You are right about moving AMC first then the rest will fall into place. I think Macerich has plenty of cash on hand to do the verious projects we’ve been thinking through.

    Anything i for got mallguy?

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  88. You covered it all, Sean. True, it seems that Macerich has a project going on with all its big malls (e.g. Danbury Fair, Tysons Corner, Scottsdale Fashion Square, for those who aren’t familiar with their mall lineup).

    Some of the best lifestyle centers attached to malls are The Streets at Southpoint (NC) and Flatiron Crossing (CO…also a Macerich mall)…maybe the NJ malls that eventually build lifestyle centers will get to that level.

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  89. What should be done with:
    1. Livingston
    2. Woodbridge
    3. Menlo Park with or wiithout the cineplex issues already discussed.

    What are your thoughts mallguy, i am sure there are things going on.

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  90. check MAC wevsite http://www.macerich.com nov. 8 grand opening

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  91. Sean,

    On the three malls you mentioned, Livingston mall is the only one that is being worked on. They are just beginning a renovation, they are adding a Barnes and Noble and the new food court will be opening shortly. With Woodbridge, I would have liked to see a greater buildout of the new wing where Dick’s is, even make that wing 2 levels. On Menlo, they are adding a few new stores (A/X Armani Exchange, Hollister, H&M, and some chinese/japanese restaurant where The Wiz used to be, to name a few). While a renovated movie theatre would be nice, as well as the other traffic fixes, what I would really like to see is a Bloomingdale’s…there is room to build out where Rainforest Cafe is located and that wing that stretches out toward it could be made into two floors and they would be able to add new stores there as well. To account for additional parking, the parking structure in the back needs to be extended to where the new Bloomingdale’s would be located and a new parking structure near Macy’s facing Route 1 needs to be built.

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  92. Funny you brought up bloomingdales-i thought macy’s should change to bloomies. Who needs 3 macy’s stores within a 15 minute drive of each other.

    Both ideas are good, we’ll see what happens.

    I visited Short Hills saturday, there is nothing that needs to be done to that mall exept tipical cosmedic updating.

    By the way i could not believe the number of strollers i saw with children under the age of 1. I sware it’s a baby boom. The same could be said for nearby Summit.

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  93. The Menlo Macy’s is actually the best one (and biggest one) in Middlesex County and I don’t believe it should change over and I don’t believe it will ever change over. Central Jersey could use a Bloomingdale’s (especially with the upcoming Quakerbridge expansion not including Bloomingdale’s) since Bridgewater Commons is not as convenient for everyone in the area. As I’ve mentioned on this site, Monmouth Mall would even be a good place for a new Bloomingdale’s (with an expansion wing) as it would be able to keep up with Freehold and also there are many in that area (Rumson, Spring Lake, Colts Neck, etc) that would appreciate a Bloomie’s.

    The Mall at Short Hills in my opinion is the best mall in NJ if not on the east coast. I am very surprised that Cheesecake Factory or Grand Lux Cafe has not gotten in there yet. If they ever do, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them build out close to Macy’s near the mall entrance facing JFK Parkway.

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  94. short hills is just the place for cheesecake, but mallguy you are 100% correct SH scream Grand Lux cafe. I went to leagal sea food & it was a good thing Debbie made a reservation because when i sat down the wait was 2 hours. Just imagine the throngs of people that grand lux could draw from a 6 county area. I rather drive to short hills than say willowbrook less hassle for parking.

    I’m trying to figure out were dou place such a high profile eatery like gl, it is a little harder do to the malls zig zag configuration.

    your turn mall guy

    we seeme to be almost on the same wavelength.

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  95. Well, Grand Lux Cafe has just recently opened in Garden State Plaza so I think it will be a little while before they open a 2nd location, although one can never really tell. (I went there last month and GLC is AWESOME!!!!) Short Hills has a history of not re-newing leases, hence the exit of Ruby Tuesday (present-day Qdoba location) and Houlihan’s (present-day Legal Sea Foods location), which is why they’d wait until the Johnny Rockets lease ends. That’s really the only place where there is space to build out…either Cheesecake Factory or Grand Lux Cafe would work well in that location…and it’s right in the center of the mall basically.

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  96. Would you go back to glc? I think it’s better than cf.

    How long did you wait? At least you could always go into best buy for a few minutes if the wait is long, wich is the case most of the time.

    We know all about taubman’s leasing practices, 6 years if even that, then it’s by by! Ever notice how many stores move within Short Hills mall every time you go there? Its INSANE!

    Parden the crazy eddie reference

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  97. Oh what to do with Brunswick Square, maybe demall it & make it a lifestyle center?

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  98. Sean,

    I thought Grand Lux Cafe was pretty good…the wait was about 20 minutes and it was pretty early. It’s attached to the mall and Border’s is just right across the way so you don’t have to walk outside for a “time kill.” They also have really good desserts. I would put it on par with the Cheesecake Factory and would definitely like to see more NJ Grand Lux Cafe locations in the future (The new Cheesecake Factory at Freehold looks pretty good and they have a HUGE patio).

    Yeah, Short Hills rotates their stores around…I’ve noticed that too. I was just over there today and that previously mentioned buildout location where a Grand Lux Cafe or Cheesecake Factory buildout would go could definitley work.

    Brusnwick Square I believe will still continue to be an indoor mall. Believe it or not, they get a lot of business for a mall that size…go in there on a Friday night, and many of the area hs kids will be in there, especially MegaMovies and Barnes and Noble. When Macy’s has big sales, it can be a zoo in there! The mall has the basics and is a good alternative for the Freehold Raceway Mall and Menlo/Woodbridge traffic, it serves its purpose and again, it will hang in. I’ve heard rumors that they will try to keep the mall current by adding a Bistro Row of restaurants along the Route 18 side between Ruby Tuesday and JCPenney with the new Summerhill Square coming in.

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  99. After giving it some thaught i would agree about grand lux in short hills, looking at the directory i picked up i can see your point were it should go. Sometimes it is not rocket science.

    On another note took a trip to Fort Lee saturday, whenever a area mall wants to expand everyone gets up in arms about traffic problems that will come. That’s nonsence, no mall expantion could ever bring traffic to levels found on Bergenline Ave in Union City.

    Yeh i know route 4 & 17 can be bad at times but not at the extreme levels found on Bergenline. In the time it took me to go down Bergenline from 91st street to 48th street you can walk to Jersey City.

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  100. Mallguy,

    your right, forgot about borders. that was dumb. I’m just a best buy guy.

    What is going in across from grand lux &AMC?

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  101. The key to dealing with routes 4 & 17 is to learn the side streets through Paramus, Ridgewood, Oradell and Maywood…using them will save a considerable amount of time. I can’t argue with you about Hudson County …a total traffic mess (goes for the entire county…Paramus gets the most press because of the malls).

    At GSP, aaerie (women’s spinoff of American Eagle Outfitters) and Quiksilver are going in…there might be others but I don’ t remember. I can understand why you’d forget about that Borders…the new one is totally non-descript, they gave up their outside entrance and to be honest, I miss the old one. That Best Buy is pretty big though.

    I don’t know about you, but I miss the Short Hills Borders…I understand why they left through…no room to grow…and if that extra space does go to Cheesecake Factory or Grand Lux, it’s pretty safe to say there wouldn’t be much room for any other expansion as the mall is already packed tightly into the space it’s located.

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  102. My friends & i do miss the old borders at garden state, the new store is there brand new prototype & just stands there like an adopted child not sure were they fit in.

    As for short hills yes i to miss the old borders but it never had music nore a Seattle’s Best Coffee as most stores do.

    I read an artical on borders a few months ago reguarding there restructuring wich includes new & renovated stores like the ones at gsp & King of Prussia.

    http://www.planevanillashell.com.

    That will link you to current retail news from many sources. You do not need a password. Just click & read, i’m there every day at work staying up to date on whats happening.

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  103. Two more sites for you to look at :
    http://www.icsc.org.
    Go to shopping centers today.
    1st of the month or 1st Monday.

    http://www.shoppingcenterbusiness.com
    15th of the month

    Enjoy!

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  104. And thanks for posting a link to those 3 retail news sites, SEAN. I actually kept wondering what were some good sites that list such information, personally.

    You misspelled the first website you mentioned, which is actually http://www.plainvanillashell.com And I’m just correcting that, so others are able to access the site, like I did.

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  105. Thank you Allan:

    I’m not a good speller or typest.

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  106. Another Freehold Raceway Mall visit, another construction update:

    - The only areas of the mall still to be retiled are lower level center court and the lower level food court wing. Tile is down everywhere else in the mall.

    - The new escalator in front of Sears is open.

    - The entire ceiling area has been painted over to earth tones.

    - The support for the lights that are hanging down under the skylights are all up and a few of the lights have been installed. At first, I wasn’t too cool about how they were going to look, but after seeing them, they look pretty cool…will definitely provide the mall with more light at night.

    - There are still some of the old beaded lights left

    - They have placed directional signage around the mall (not that it’s hard to get around, but a lot of malls are doing this now)

    - Still waiting for them to do seating areas.

    - Center court is making some progress, but it’s not there yet and I still wonder how that will be finished by the holidays. The elevator has been re-glassed and re-painted. They have also begun to retile the stage. I think the coffee kiosk is going to go where the high jet for the former fountain was and the fountain looks as if it will go near Abercrombie Kids, where the side jets of the old fountain were.

    - While it hasn’t been announced, I have a feeling that Anthropologie will be moving into the lifestyle center…the facade of where I believe it will go is similar to that of The Grove.

    - I am still hoping that JCrew will decide to move to FRM (there are still at least 2 vacancies remaining that would fit their size)

    - I was right! Waldenbooks has closed down since Borders will be opening up in the mall….Borders and the other stores of the Lifestyle Center open 11/8…I am very, very interested to see what the holiday decor will look like…I assume it will change and I really hope it does.

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  107. Should they add condos like Natic colection?

    Just a thaught.

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  108. That would be interesting, but I don’t see it happening. A few years ago, they were planning on building another mall access drive to Wemrock Road and along with that was going to come a hotl and convention center, but that never happened.

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  109. Were else could condos or other housing option could be built? A few places pop out at me, such as ;

    1. Tysoner corner 2. Galleria Houston 3. The Wester over the garage 4.South Coast Plaza 5.MOA.

    What would you add or change.

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  110. sorry tyson corner & westchester

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  111. The Condos and mini-city at Tysons Corner aren’t going to happen until the Silver Line gets built. Amazing what they want to do over there. They do have 5 hotels in walking distance though. I could see condos at The Westchester, but other than Newport Centre, I’m not seeing it happening in NJ right now.

    I’m still hoping that Freehold Raceway Mall gets the hotel…and in a few years, overpasses over routes 9 and 537.

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  112. Any place else were you think were a mall & housing could mix?

    NOT nessessarily NJ

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  113. Heard an ad for the grand opening of the lifestyle portion–I believe it’s Nov. 11 if I recall correctly.

    And yes, Mallguy, Freehold *needs* another hotel. Badly. The Days Inn on 9 was pathetic even before half of it burned up. The only reason that saves that place is that Six Flags still hasn’t gotten around to building that hotel yet.

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  114. Actualy it’s november 8th.

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  115. Good point, Debbi…hat Days Inn is a mess…and the Freehold Gardens Hotel is OK, but it was nicer when it was a Sheraton years ago. A hotel on mall property would definitely be an additional boon to the mall in the same way the Hilton Short Hills and Bridgewater Marriott help out Short Hills Mall and Bridgewater Commons, respectively.

    And we have two more weeks until the lifestyle expansion opens…and there are still a couple of vacancies/unannounced stores in the lifestyle center between JCPenney and Center Court.

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  116. I can see a hotel built there, when you think about it your not to far from the jersey shore. Yeah i know it’s a few miles away but any time you can add aditional hotel rooms to an area whose capassity is some what limited it could return divedens. Specially along route 9 with it’s car traffic. What is it-10 15 minutes from the beaches?

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  117. 10-15 miles from the beach? Only if you’re driving 150 mph. It takes me a little over 45 minutes and I’m ten minutes from the mall. You do the math. :) I do recall reading they’re trying to build a Hampton Inn (I think–could be wrong) in Howell. As far as I know, ground has not been broken on that.

    Cheesecake Factory is now open, as is Robot Factory. I was right–it does appear to be in the same vein as Build-a-Bear. You can build your own robots–pretty cool. Also, Hot Topic has been under renovation to change to the new design (way *after* Woodbridge and Eatontown); they should be open within a week or two if they’re not already.

    On the other hand, looks like Jasmine Sola is about to become another victim to the works-everywhere-but-FRM curse. They’re not closed yet, but the telltale red and yellow signs are all over the store. It’s a shame; I don’t think they’ve even been open for a year.

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  118. Hmm…a quick Google search reveals JS is having a huge-chain-wide sale, and the signs look like out-of-business signs.

    See for yourself.

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  119. The signs at Jasmine Sola were also visible at the Bridgewater Commons store.

    One more week until the official grand opening of the lifestyle center expansion. All the lighting in the mall is done as is all the flooring except for center court. Center court has develped nicely…the fountain is almost done, the tiles haven’t been laid yet, but the coffee kiosk is up and it will be a Starbucks. The Santa Set is up (don’t know if it along with the remaining mall decorations are complete) and it looks alright…definitely a lor more low-key than the holiday decorations of past years. The santa set has been moved to the intersections of JCPenney, Nordstrom and Lord and Taylor. At the lifestyle center, the store that I thought was going to be Antrhopologie is going to be Coldwater Creek.

    Looks to be a busy opening next weekend.

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  120. I don’t mean to be a pane in the coffee mug, do we realy need another starbucks? There are 4 stores on route 9 in &around Freehold already. I mean i like there coffee but this is going a little overboard-don’t you think?

    In White Plains were i work there was no starbucks until 2002. Now we have 3 within a 7 minute walk, 2 of wich are a block & a half away from eachother. When Target gets remodled they will add another- wich will put 1 location in B & N over the one in Target. That is chop full of nuts.

    Pardon me, i must run over to starbucks & get me a decaf cafe moca grande. MMMM coffee.

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  121. I wouldn’t complain about having too many Starbucks locations. Most people are lucky to have several Starbucks near by in states like California, New York, & New Jersey. In Ohio, there are several locations, but are not easy to access (Target locations for example, you have to go inside just for coffee; Toll plaza locations, long roads to center, if your not on the turnpike; and busy intersections/sharp corners.) As you can see Starbucks is hidden gold where I live, not like water everywhere.

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  122. With the proliferation of Starbucks in the NJ malls, we had to expect in sooner or later in the Freehold Raceway Mall (some of the area malls have as many as 3). Honestly, I would have preferred a Dunkin Donuts, but wiht the more upscale trends FRM is taking, the Dunkin Donuts in center court wouldn’t have been considered acceptable. While the new mall design looks really nice, I do miss the big fountain in center court and the new center court setup will probably take some getting used to. Four different coffee places (Starbucks, Seattle’s Best in the new Borders, Nordstrom, Gloria Jean’s) in the mall now!

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  123. In my office we are split between Starbucks & Dunkin Donuts. To me Nordstrom has the best coffee, although i rather go to Starbucks than Dunkin Donuts.

    MMM COFFEE.

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  124. Gotta go with Nordstrom too in terms of coffee.

    Today begins the grand-reopening festivities at the Freehold Raceway Mall and I was able to stop by. They are putting the finishing touches on center court…all tile is down, the new fountain is covered right now because of the stage that was put up for the grand opening festivities (I don’t think it’s done yet anyway) and Starbucks isn’t quite ready yet. Around the rest of the mall, the new customer service center on the 2nd floor is open, the soft-seating has been put in (Menlo Park, Short Hills and GS Plaza are the only NJ malls that have gone with soft-seating areas so far) and the majority of the lifestyle stores are open. I think the lifestyle center will be a success and I will look forward to hearing what the 4-5 remaining stores will be….who knows, maybe they’ll expand it as we had discussed above.

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  125. I stand corrected on Jasmine Sola. If they’re having that sale, I should pop in soon.

    On the Starbucks issue: I’m thrilled they’re coming to FRM, though I wonder what that means for Gloria Jean’s. Their downstairs location does well, but where they took over for Nancy’s *still* doesn’t get much traffic, though that might be because of the upper level entrances being blocked off for a long time.

    I’m opening myself up for flames by saying this, but I think Dunkin Donuts is the most overrated coffee on the planet. That and I find their presence on Route 9 obnoxious. Between Freehold and Sayreville, I counted no less than six stores (7 if you count the one on Union Hill Road right off the highway). Plus I swear they’re opening up another location in what used to be an independent cafe every other week. I’m glad FRM is being spared from the DD invasion.

    Yes, I’m a coffee snob, why do you ask? :D I do like Gloria Jean’s though.

    Can’t wait to go back to this mall to see all the new changes. BTW, has anyone eaten at the Cheesecake Factory yet?

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  126. I’m with you Debbi, they opened a new DD location near Wal-mart not far from were i work. Oy vey, just what we need.

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  127. A couple other things I noticed yesterday in my visit to Freehold Raceway Mall, but forgot to mention. The music being piped through the mall is now classical, trying to bring in more of an upscale feel. A Dockers store will be opening in the former Williams-Sonoma/Pottery Barn near Nordstrom and the new Brookstone design is very different from every other one. I haven’t eaten at the new Cheesecake Factory there yet, but their patio area is very impressive, bigger than the patios of the other NJ Cheesecake Factories.

    On the great coffee debate, here is my coffee ranking:

    1) Nordstrom
    2) Borders/Seattles Best
    3) Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks (tied for 3)
    4) Panera Bread
    5) Gloria Jean’s

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  128. Were is W S moving to.

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  129. Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn left the mall about 2-3 years ago and their former spaces were never occupied by any long term tennants. I am guessing it was a lack of space that caused them to vacate…both did the same thing in Menlo Park about the same time.

    Both malls are trending upscale and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma try to get back in when the space becomes available.

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  130. Thanksmallguy; i haven’t been there in a few years. Hope to return soon.

    Have you been to Grand Lux cafe lately? Went there yesterday & i reccomend it if you haven’t

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  131. Never mind; forgot to look at an earlier post.

    sorry about that

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  132. Just thought I would join the club and comment.
    I was born and raised in the suburbs of New Jersey. I am closing in on 40 and it is weird how malls become places in our lives. If you grew up in NJ you or a family member probably worked at a mall at some point. I met my first serious girlfriend at a mall and I still wander back there from time to time to think about those days. I take my kids to malls now. It’s all good.
    Hey, somebody get me a pretzel and diet coke I am going to the gameroom!

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  133. Today on Plain Vanilla Shell
    “what’s the trouble with starbucks”

    Since i brewed this debate in the first place, & had no idea the pashons it would stir up, here is something for all of us to read in the coffee wars as PVS put it.

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  134. Let me add that NBC News had a report yesterday about how Starbucks is a reflection of the econemys health. Although they left out the fact that if you like Dunkin Donuts coffee your not going to Starbucks anyway.

    A bit overated. But isn’t that what news has become?

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  135. It seems not everyone got that memo. I’m in the mall right now (posting from the Apple Store) and many are carrying around their coffee from Starbucks. I did see the report of the drop in traffic at Starbucks, though.

    The new construction looks great! They are still not fully done as the fountain is not complete and they are adding new lights to the columns. This place is going to be much brighter at night!

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  136. Hay-mallguy;

    Thank you for making my point about that NBC News report being overrated.

    Hope you have a joyus thanksgiving holiday!

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  137. Also very impressed with the new lifestyle center…if the expansion that we discussed earlier were to take place, that would surely make things more interesting. That Borders is one of the most strangely organized around…it’s two levels, but the departments aren’t where you’d think they’d be…the best Borders in NJ are still in Eatontown, Livingston and Riverdale.

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  138. The one in Paramus is aquard at best. It is hard to find anything in that store.

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  139. Wow! This is by far the mall with the most posts at labelscar.com.

    Anyway, I have two things to say about this mall’s twin sister, the Danbury Fair Mall. First, do the renovations that have been going there still result in a mall that looks identical to the Freehold Raceway Mall? (If not, what makes the two malls–post-renovations–look different?) Second, it just amazes me that the Filene’s space still remains vacant almost two years after that store closed. I’m amazed that both Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom passed on it given that (1) it is in an affluent area and (2) Nordstrom currently has just one store in CT was Bloomingdale’s has zero.

    Also, I was wondering that aside from the Irondequoit Mall (which is neither getting a renovation, nor even owned by Macerich), were there any other malls that initially looked identical to both the Danbury Fair Mall and the Freehold Raceway Mall?

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  140. Max:

    Freehold Raceway Mall and Danbury Fair Mall (along with Irondequoit) were orginally controlled by a comany called Wilmorite. They also owned a few malls in New York State (Wilton Mall, Rotterdam Square, Shoppingtown Mall, to name a few) and most of them looked identical in architecture and they also had a signature center court fountain. Macerich bought out Wilmorite and took over the control of all the malls.

    I too am surprised that Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s have passed on the old Filenes at Danbury Fair and would not be surprised to see that space torn down and (dare I say) have a lifestyle addition built on in the future.

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  141. I to have to agree with of you reguard ing the Filenes space not being turned into a nother department store. The welth factor is there but as i recall DF is in no hurry to develope the space, why? who knows. Maybe a cinema with restaurants AKA Garden State Plaza.

    thoughts…

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  142. I do believe that Danbury Fair Mall will eventually build a lifestyle expansion on the footprint of the former Filene’s. The expansion built at Freehold Raceway Mall was a test for Macerich to see if the idea of a lifestyle center attached to a mall would be successful. As a result of last night’s observation, I would say it was pretty successful (and we’re talking in 38 degree weather).

    Again, DFM will eventually build their lifestyle center and it will be bigger than Freehold’s.

    At Freehold, the only unfinished part of the renovation is the fountain. It will probably be done after the holidays.

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  143. I actually heard DFM will get a Nordstrom on the Filene’s spot. Caldor Rainbow says so.

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  144. If they do add a lifestyle section please include ; cheesecake factory, theatres & best buy.

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  145. The Starbucks in Center Court is now open, as is the surrounding seating area. Also open is a children’s play area next to the carousel with couches for the adults. Outside the play area is a cute rendition of a Colonial-era soldier, a nice touch.

    A belated welcome to the board for Jerry and Max. Yes, this is the most popular mall on the site, isn’t it? LOL

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  146. I guess it turned out that way Debbi, between mallguy’s updates just like sport scenter & my questions to him & others, i guess i helped in that reguard if i intended to or not.

    Took a trip to King of Prussia saturday, it was shocking to see no traffic at all going there & getting a parking space as soon as i got there. It was about 9:30. The mall was empty til about late afternoon when i had to leave abruptly when my girlfriend fell ill. When i noticed how empty the mall was i became uneasy about the holiday shopping season dispite black friday’s madness, since i follow the retail industry at work.
    Would you believe after all that i ended up in mallguy’s neck of the woods @ Woodbridge Center? After a 3 hour drive that included a detour on I-195 because the nj turnpike was stop & go all the way home. So in stead took 7A to 195 to GSP to route 9. Not what i would call a “Great Adventure” but it worked.

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  147. Sean: Ai yi yi, that sounds like a long drive home. I don’t know PA quite that well, but you could have just as easily taken 195 to Route 9 straight, or alternatively taken 537 (that’s where Great Adventure is) to Route 9, although that would have dropped you off further north.

    As for my Black Weekend report: On Sunday, FRM was packed, but the Jackson Outlets (down the road from GA), while crowded, started to thin out in the early evening.

    And as long as we’re headed OT again (LOL), and besides, there’s no entry for this mall yet (::not-so-subtle hint to Caldor::), I’m going to mention that I was at Brunswick Square Mall the week before, and was pleasantly surprised. I don’t know whether Simon recently acquired this mall or has had it forever, but the renovations they did were absolutely gorgeous. The mall no longer smells funny, and while most of their stores were cramped versions as to what I’ve seen at FRM (Charlotte Russe comes to mind as a rare exception), it looks overall much nicer and, dare I say it, more upscale.

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  148. Debbie;

    Going to woodbridge was an afterthought, if i had any idea that the nj turnpike was messed up like that i would have taken the last exit in PA & gone 2 blocks to I-95. I’ve done that before, it’s like going to Sesame Place or Trenton. We were getting hungry & went to applebees. My friend John knows that area better than i do. I’m not as knowledgeable about the shortcuts around that area as you & mallguy are.

    How about a quick road tour, it will make things a hole lot easyer.

    Thank you.

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  149. I’m just guessing you’re coming from the Philly area…

    You probably wanted to do this:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&geocode=10120056706756539230,40.147008,-74.896784%3B12500939729849513717,40.160050,-74.424330%3B2575934739301039598,40.163420,-74.419500&time=&date=&ttype=&saddr=Delaware+Expy%2FI-95+N+%4040.147008,+-74.896784&daddr=I-195+E+%4040.160050,+-74.424330+to:Raceway+Mall+Dr,+Freehold,+NJ+07728&mra=mr&mrcr=0&via=1&sll=40.158935,-74.426494&sspn=0.015776,0.028925&ie=UTF8&ll=40.251232,-74.75235&spn=0.504142,0.925598&z=10&om=1

    Also, that’s not the last exit in PA, there are actually two more :P

    I live in Princeton, I know the area.

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  150. Sorry for the double post, but I’ll be going there later today. I’ll snap some photos.

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  151. I live in New York but we go to King of Prussia once or twice a year. We would have stayed on the nj turnpike if the traffic wasn’t a nightmare.

    Since you live in the Princeton Trenton area; how offton do you go to King of Prussia?

    There are many malls within 45 minutes of were i live & work, but going here is a real treat for me. there are restaurants there i don’t have in my area like rock bottom brewery wich i went to for the first time & would absalutely eat there again. It is fun just to go there & try all of the restaurants even if you don’t buy a thing you can still have a fantastic time filling up your stummach.

    Next time i go back i want to try the cafes above the william sanoma home store. Ahhhhhh! so many interesting choices so little time. Just thinking about it is making me hungry.

    Hint hint; CALDOR.

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  152. Honestly I’ve only been there once and I was too young to remember it in detail.

    I do a lot less shopping than normal people, the last time I bought clothes was last March.

    Nothing fits me =/

    The only place I can get clothes is Big and Tall/Casual Male, but they have horrible styles so I’m wearing old clothes form years ago.

    I’ve done most of my shopping at QuakerBridge though. KoP is too far at $2.90/gallon with 18mpg cars. I’ve never really had any interest in going there. I suppose I’ll check it out sometime if I’m in the area.

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  153. Give it a shot, you won’t regret it reguardless what the gas prices are.

    It’s a treat, not an every day thing. Just take my word for it.

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  154. I was at King of Prussia during the summer and it’s really nice, but with GS Plaza and Short Hills nearby, it’s not worth the trip alone…unless you’re in the Montgomery Co, PA area. (the same way that I visit Tysons Corner when in the DC Metro area) 95 over the Scudders Falls Bridge to US 1 South to the PA Turnpike (picking up at Bensalem…right near Neshaminy Mall) is the best way to get there from points north.

    My Black Friday update: Short Hills was quiet around 9 but got really busy by 10:30. Bridgewater Commons was very busy and it took a good 20 minutes to find parking.

    Saturday: Freehold Raceway Mall was buy but manageable and the Grove at Shrewsbury was very, very busy.

    Traffic was really bad in certain areas, considering that there were at least 2 really bad accindents that Northstar (the medivac) had to be called in.

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  155. Mallguy;

    I’ve never been to either of the tysons malls, is it worth the trip if i am down there? based on what i have read it looks like macerich has major plans when WMATA’s silver line opens.

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  156. I must say, Sean, that both the Tysons Malls are worth the trip…the area where it is located is like Paramus with left turns and there are tons of hotels around…many of which offer free shuttle service (the area is less than 3 miles from the West Falls Church Metro Station). Tysons Corner Center is huge (very Garden State Plaza-esque) and they finished an expansion 2 years ago that made it even bigger. Tysons Galleria reminds me somewhat of the Shops @ Riverside, but a little bigger. I’m down in that area a lot and I can tell you the Silver Line is years away, as is “Tysons Future.”

    Both are worth a visit when in the DC Metro area (along w/ Pentagon City and White Flint).

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  157. Thanks mallguy;

    i’ll keep that in mind.

    My GSP report.

    Arived about 11:30 the mall was almost empty, even the food court at lunch time was extremely quiet. that was odd considering the time of year & what reputation Paramus has as a year round shoppers heaven. The lines at best buy were almost non-existent as it made it easy to find what i needed & get out. I wasn’t sure if it was christmas season or just another saturday. A little after 4:00 the shoppers finally showed upon mass, now we’re talking tipical Paramus. Grand Lux Cafe if you could believe it only had a 20 minute wait? I just thaught this is not an average christmas season, everything semes much slower, almost like a cars transmission out of wack & needing a tune up.

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  158. Sean, it’s early. My experience every year is that the malls don’t start truly getting ridiculous until either Dec. 15 or two Saturdays before Christmas, whichever comes first. After that, I steer clear of any mall until Jan. 2. Me, I have all my shopping done by Dec. 14. :)

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  159. Debbi; i don’t know what malls you shop in, but from my experience GSP has always been crazy know matter what time of day or year it is. The same could be said for Roosevelt Field. I go to both malls a lot & i can tell you first hand this is not normal compared with holiday seasons in past years. Even my girlfriend who does the driving has been commenting on this very subject, she notest that it was just to easy getting a parking space when you use to serch & serch. That challenge just isn’t there anymore.

    The reasoning maybe not easy to figure out, first online sales have been flattening out, second the sales started earlyer this year, third feul costs have jumpt, forth house prices tumbled in many places & are stil falling & fifth we know all about what is happening whith defaults with ajustable rate morggages.

    The retailers better watch out thing are not going to get better for a wile. They better not stock up with inventory because they won’t be able to move it.

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  160. More to the point plain villa shell has an artical on retail sales.

    A must read.

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  161. On my last trip to Freehold, I was noticing something about their renovation and other recent mall renovations…they are all starting to look the same. While I like the new look of Freehold, they’re not the only ones adopting that look. Livingston Mall, Rockaway Townsquare, White Marsh and the Mall @ Columbia have all gone through/are going through their own renovations. Personally, I don’t think that Livingston and Rockaway need an interior renovation, but I don’t make those decisions. These malls are all starting to look the same…Freehold lost its fountain (at least they kept the skylights and the openness of the place), Livingston will lose its, Woodbridge finally filled in the large JCPenney fountain that hasn’t been turned on in years (and they probably will fill in the center court fountain they never use). The developers need to realize that the renovations should preserve some of the mall’s character, otherwise shopping in America will end up becoming a boring experience.

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  162. I agree that most mall renovations look boring. There’s a big mall here in Michigan I went through (Twelve Oaks Mall) that used to have 12 big oak trees inside (hence the name) and some art statues. But after a renovation some of the oak trees were gone and the art statues were no where to be seen.
    I hear that fountains and things like that are being removed because the maintence is expensive and some mall owners are too cheap to keep then. But if that’s the case how can they afford multi-million dollar renovations?

    And if FRM is going upscale then why would it throw out it’s upscale character?

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  163. Most people just don’t care about that sort of thing until they realize how bland there mall is. We just pay more atention to such detail.

    Stay tuned for my White Plains report.

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  164. OK Here it is…this spands over the cource of three days, but mostly saturday afternoon.

    For the most part crowds are almost non existent, the busyest store was Wal-mart & even that didn’t blow me away. There were people there but not many buyers.

    At the Galleria it was sort of the same thing but the food court was very active around 5:00. As for Macy’s & Sears both were extremely quiet. As a side note Sears has been almost empty since they moved from were Wal-mart now stands.

    The City Center again was not as busy as it should be being 2 weeks away from christmas, a bright spot was Barns & Noble, although not exactly earth shattering. Target had almost nobody in the store same for filenes basement. By this point i thought to myself that this was really odd but not shocking when you consider what has transpired over the past few months with the general economic picture and all that comes with it.

    Moving to the Westchester the most exclusive mall in the northern burbs i thought maybe i would have seen plenty of people with shopping bags but this was not the case, just like before plenty of walkers but few shoppers. at just past 6:00 the food court was almost devoid of activity. Neiman Marcus & Nordstrom were so quiet i could here what was happening several departments away from me.

    It was the same thing on the streets as well. Mamaroneck avenue & main street were also quiet. When i got to Cheesecake Factory there was an hour wait, i guess that is what they wanted spend on food & not much else.

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  165. It was a Freehold Raceway Mall weekend for me all the way and that place was hopping! Saturday night was very, very busy…Cheesecake Factory was mobbed, many in Borders had their Cheesecake Factory buzzers and parking was not easy to come by. On Sunday. it was quiet until about 1 (Christmas Tree Shops (who really don’t sell any Christmas trees, lol) was more busy than the mall at this time) but once 1 came around, the mall was a zoo! When I got out of there, parking was really, really scarce.

    And as I said, they are still adding things and fixing up things here and there even though the majority of the construction is done. They are changing the upper level rails on the atrium gates from brass to wood…looks pretty interesting. Work on the fountain, I am to assume will resume after the holidays. More soft seating continues to be added and the mall added more Christmas decorations (hanging lights, lit/decorated garland and wide red ribbons). The mall is looking great (and really, really bright at night)!

    Sean, I think as we get closer to Christmas, we’ll see the crowds come in. I was in Short Hills today after work…the place was busy and it looked as if everyone had a bag or two. If in Short Hills and you have an AMEX card, be sure to check out the AMEX Members lounge: free coffee/esspresso drinks, snacks and Internet surfing!

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  166. Mallguy;

    I hope you are right, i know it was a snap shot but i do remember in past years when christmas shoppers would be in the malls at all times of the day not a few select hours. The people i did see were walking through, almost nobody had shopping bags with them. If people were spending you should have sene bags from many retailers, i saw almost none.

    Macy’s, Sears, Neiman Marcus & Nordstrom had no shoppers to speak of, the first 2 didn’t shock me the latter 2 did. If those who could aford to shop in Neiman’s or Nordstrom are staying away that is not a good sign.
    Maybe things are better at FRM but i haven’t been there in 3 years, so i cant make a judgement call. Maybe jersey shoppers are more willing to open there wallets, i just don’t know. But as of right now this i can say for sure figures for most retailers will be much lower than last year at this time. Unless people baught gift cards wich may explain lower sales to some degree, but it would not be enough to save this holiday season.

    As a foot note

    Prire to going to White plains I stopped into Best Buy & even there sales were somewhat slow as well.

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  167. In the last 2 days both the A P & CNN Money had stories reguarding how slow holiday sales have been. Unless sales pick up in the next 14 days reports indecate sales would only rise 1.4% year over year. In the CNN story it stated that malls are such that you cant park directly in front of the store you want to shop in, that is why mall traffic is down.

    Is this what it has come down to? pure lazyness come on, GET OFF YOUR ASS AND WALK it’s good for your health.

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  168. The media has largely given up on malls, and its a myth that you can park right in front of a store. During the holiday rush, do you really expect to get a perfect spot at Big Box Plaza?

    It’s slow because of the toxic toys coming out China.

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  169. The media as a whole is lying about the reason behind slow sales. It’s not that people are lazy to walk a mall, it’s because the cost of living has risen and wages have’nt gone up in years. Add in the toxic China stuff and high gas prices and that’s why sales are slow everywhere (even at Big Box stores).

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  170. I totally agree with you that people don’t have the money to spend because the sub prime mess & all it intales hasn’t compleettely come to light yet. The side effects still aren’t known.

    If you want to educate yourself on this subject google “LIFE AFTER THE OIL CRASH” when you do you will find two identicle links, it will be the 2nd one down. Or you can access it at http://www.kuntsler.com “other websites i like”

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  171. I’m sorry the web site is http://www.kunstler.com everything else in my last post is correct.

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  172. I’m sorry the web site is http://www.kunstler.com everything else in my last post is correct.

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  173. Damn it.
    I just went there today and wasted $15 on gas and $10 on food for nothing.

    Here are pictures, close to the same ones I took. Yay.
    http://www.freeholdracewaymall.com/redevelopment/freeholdracewaymall/visuals.asp

    Mine:
    http://s10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/

    I have to say, it looks REALLY nice. This is how all malls should be. *Braces for flames*

    Anyway, the interior is nice, though they covered the Fountain with basically a box.

    Also there’s some grass space between P.F. Chang’s and the mall that could be used for more retail. Great spot.

    Basically, nothing else changed. It looks awesome though. Very crowded today.

    Nice expansion, hopefully QBM looks as nice as this when it’s done.

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  174. A quick update, went back to White Plains for another walk through. Stores were a bit busier than last week but not as many as one would expect with about 2 weeks to go before christmas.

    You maybe right mallguy people may have waited to the last minute, but it won’t be enough to put most retailers in the black.

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  175. A quick update, went back to White Plains for another walk through. Stores were a bit busier than last week but not as many as one would expect with about 2 weeks to go before christmas.

    You maybe right mallguy people may have waited to the last minute, but it won’t be enough to put most retailers in the black.

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  176. I was listening to Mike & Mike in the morning today & they had a segment called “Mike Golic’s news of the weired”. It was about a 33 year old woman at Danbury Fair Mall Who was arested for “sitting on santa’s lap.”

    Why? I’ll let you figure that one out your self.

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  177. Was at FRM today 12/21 the mall was busy. the renavations look really good, havent been to the outdoor stores yet. anyway mall looks good and everybody should go and check it out.

    also we need reatil history on other jersey malls like woodbridge,menlo park and garden state plaza. whoever runs this site or know info on malls should make new pages on thoese malls.

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  178. I was over there tonight (FRM has been open until Midnight most nights this week) and it was very, very busy. When I left at 11ish, the mall still seemed crowded and it looked as if there was a wait for tables at the Cheesecake Factory.

    I second the request for features on other NJ malls.

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  179. I’m attempting to put a feature together on the retail of Mercer County (Route 1 area)

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  180. Mallguy, i’m with you. Please come to westchester. You could do a great feachure on White Plains. Mallguy & Debbi, i hope you both have a happy holiday & a great new year. I’ll see you in 2008!

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  181. Drove 50 miles to make my first visit to FRM. It was worth it. The place is huge and the lifestyle addition looked great.(How crowded does that Cheesecake factory get around dinnertime?) I didn’t think there was a mall entrance to the borders but there was (me being a bookworm). Very impressed with the mall, can’t wait to make another trip there one day!

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  182. Judging by the posts above that Cheesecake factory does get really crowded just like the one in Cherry Hill. By the way, I heard that they were sup post to put a parking deck near Nordstrom’s and Macy’s but I didn’t see any construction. Did they abandon the idea?

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  183. Zack,

    Last saturday cheesecake factory in White Plains had a 90 minute wait @ 8:00pm! Who says people are eating out less, i couldn’t find them.

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  184. The Menlo Park Mall STILL gets 90 minute waits (last Saturday evening for example around 7) and it’s been open since 2003! Getting a Cheesecake Factory is a boon to any mall and Freehold Raceway Mall is now reaping the benefits.

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  185. Mallguy,

    is there a cheesecake factory location that doesn’t make money? Only Grand Lux in Paramus has next to no waiting time.

    Happy new year mallguy!

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  186. I wish we had a Cheesecake Factory here in Michigan so I can see what the big deal is about this place. From their menu, it looks like they sell fall kinds of food but I did’nt see anything that was “special”.

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  187. They serve big portions and cheesecake is very sweet. Not much to miss.

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  188. You know danroman the Original owners/ founders of the Cheesecake Factory started there Cheesecake buiness in a small shop in Detroit.
    http://www.thecheesecakefactory.com/aboutus.htm

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  189. lol, Sean…I was pretty surpised they opened up in Cherry Hill where they did (not in the mall)…but then again, I haven’t seen the new shopping area built on the former Garden State Park. The first one I visited was in White Flint Mall (MD outside of DC) and I’ve been hooked since. I have a feeling that the FRM Cheesecake Factory (along with the new lifestyle exanison will be more consistently busy during the summer months.

    danroman: Some of my menu picks @ TCF: Chicken Caesar Salad, Louisiana Chicken Pasta, Chicken Costolletta, Chicken Maideria, Linda’s Fudge Cake, Factory Mud Pie, Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake.

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  190. AS for me i love the herb crusted salmon salad, tri it you eat all of it & still get cheesecake. Infact i would like that salmon salad right now! AHHHHH! so good.

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  191. Hey, who deleted my comment? It was just getting back on the subject of the mall, not some restaurant…

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  192. Jonah:

    “That restaurant” is quite relevant in the discussion of the mall and also the evolution of the mall. As the traditional anchor store is being either phased out or absorbed by Federated/Macy’s, REITs need to look for someone to keep malls relevant. The restaurant will get new people to come to the mall (they will walk around with their little beepers/viabrator thingies) as they wait for a table…mayble they’ll even buy something along the way. The restaurant will also extend the hours of the mall and this is definitely the case with places like Dave and Busters (an adult ChuckECheese’s) and Champp’s (with the karaoke). Additionally, people will travel longer than average distances to go to that restaurant and this is the case with Maggiano’s and Grand Lux Cafe. The Cheesecake Factory has been one of the major contributors to this theory…they saved White Flint and Shops at Riverside and along with the new lifestyle center, they breathe new life into Freehold Raceway Mall.

    The mall is not just a place to shop anymore, but also a center of entertainment.

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  193. While the restaurants do bring in big people groups and business, and department stores are past their prime, I think the picture painted by the anchor stores dying is a bit bleak and unrealistic.

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  194. An artical in Shopping centers today demenstrates how restaurants have become the tenent of choice, CF in poticular. Cheesecake was the focus but other chains could also aply. As the department store declines the restaurant & mega plex theatre assume the role of major tenent.

    Look at Palisades Center, most of the new store oppenings last year were restaurants

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  195. Doubtful that restaurants will save the mall. White Flint limps along at best and CF has not saved the Shops at Chevy Chase. In both cases, the restaurants are easy to visit without really spending time in the mall. Sit-down restaurants were a fixture in early shopping plazas and malls. Usually they were delis or places that were step up from a diner (roughly the same class as CF, et al). Department stores had coffee shops (Sears & Penney) or tea room/family type places like the downtown stores. These all pretty much disappeared, even before food courts. If sit down dining and shopping didn’t work when more women were working and shopping was more of leisure time activity, then they won’t save malls now.

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  196. Rich,

    Times have changed, restaurants have become more importent to a malls bottom line. I said this before that metro DC is over malled & as a result of that fact many centers as you say “limp along.”
    Go to http://www.icsc.org find shopping centers today, enter cheesecake factory in the serch box.

    1st choice down. It is a few years old but still very interesting.

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  197. ghome: I’m aware that the Cheesecake Factory was started in Detroit and that’s why I found it weird that they don’t have a location here in Michigan. There’s like 4 malls here in Michigan that I think would be perfect for a CF location. And though the menu does’nt look that special, I’m willing to try something new if they ever opened here lol :D

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  198. Rich, you’re right. Although restaurants do help a mall significantly, it won’t quite bring in mall traffic. Restaurants just help bolster the mall’s sales per foot (like kiosks). After all, many people shop and eat fancy meals at malls…but not necessarily at the same time. Eating and shopping is clearly the game of the food court and any food kiosks (gourmet coffee, soft pretzels, and smoothies…you know the type).

    For the record, Palisades Center does not have as many “new restaurants” on the now open list. The only new food establishments include Buffalo Wild Wings and Jamba Juice. And if every mall gets a Cheesecake Factory, what’s the point if every mall has the same thing? Like…Macy’s, perhaps?

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  199. From that link (and article about CF) that was posted by SEAN
    For now, however, developers are drooling over Cheesecake Factory, though not all will get a taste. This is just not an easy tenant to snag. Cochran wooed the chain for a decade before he got a unit at Chandler Fashion Center, for example.

    “They’re sought after, so they have a lot of opportunities on their plate,” said Daniels, of Plaza Associates.

    Cheesecake Factory restaurants range from 5,400 to 17,300 square feet. The chain seeks sites with 250,000 residents within five miles and average annual household income of $50,000 to $75,000, Gordon says. It likes shopping centers — 80 percent of the restaurants are in a center of one type or another. “We’re very site-driven [though],” Gordon said. “ [We have] very controlled growth. We don’t go, well … Mission Viejo — we have to be there.”

    I’m guessing that CF is’nt likely to expand to be in every single mall, just malls with the right demographics and space.

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  200. Thanks Danroman.

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  201. ^^

    that was the 200th comment yay

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  202. Wow, 200 comments! I could use a martini and a slice of cheesecake at TCF right now…who’s with me?

    To change the subject…I was on my way to do another marketing project at the mall recently, and had been informed that CVS had closed at the beginning of this month. I won’t be able to make it to this mall for a couple more weeks; can anyone confirm or deny in the meantime? And if it is true, why would CVS split? Unless their sales were on the low side, but I always saw people in there.

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  203. Really? When I was there they were booming.

    Maybe the mall just didn’t want that kind of a store.

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  204. CVS is actually leaving malls in favor of larger, free-standing stores all over the country. They want more convenient locations and don’t want to be tied into large shopping centers. I doubt that the closing of this store has much to do with its performance; it’s probably that they wanted instead to focus on another location nearby.

    I do think this is too bad because I always liked that CVS offered a place to buy practical items (toiletries, a soda or snack, etc.) while at the mall. Unless there’s a Target or something in the mall then there’s often no other place to get these things.

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  205. What’s more convenient than a mall, though? If I had to do an errand on the same day I wanted to hit the mall, I would just naturally pop into CVS there. With gas prices still hovering around $3 a gallon, I’m sure many others thought the same.

    The closest Target is, ironically, where Manalapan Mall used to stand, about five miles away.

    I don’t know what location CVS would want to focus on. There is one about a mile or so down on Route 537 in a strip mall, but I heard rumors that one also closed up shop. The other two I can think of offhand are in downtown Freehold and on Route 79 (separated by 3-4 miles if my math is correct). If the one on 537 is also history (again, I haven’t been in that area lately, so I can’t confirm), I don’t know what CVS could be thinking.

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  206. Were i live there are 5 cvs’s with in 15 minutes & 3 locations were i work. Enough already, it’s worse than radio shack & starbucks.

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  207. Caldor makes a few good points and in addition, CVS wants freestanding stores so they can also locate a pharmacy there. I have never seen a pharmacy in a mall store and for that reason, they are looking away from those types of stores. CVS has also closed their mall stores in Brunswick Square, Menlo Park and Monmouth Mall. Debbi, the CVS on 537 is still open, as is the one in Freehold Center.

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  208. If there is a Target in a mall you don’t need CVS, like Palisades Center.

    GO GIANTS!

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  209. Something else CVS can’t do in a mall, as they do in freestanding stores (so does Drug Fair, Rite-Aid and the others) is a drive-thru pharmacy. Has been quite the trend in the past 8 years in NJ.

    Let’s hope that the former CVS will end up being something good.

    To second Sean: GO GIANTS!!!

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  210. A mall-based pharmacy is not quite the impossibility some think it is. I have seen mall based Eckerd and Walgreen locations before that were full line stores including pharmacies. I believe that CVS saw the Freehold location as simply not practical when there already was an over saturation of CVS’s in the area including a brand new, huge store on Route 33.

    On the otherhand, I can’t really think of what regular (non-temporary/urban wear) store they could easily transition the former CVS into. Seems to be pretty oddly shaped to me.

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  211. I believe Latham Circle Mall’s CVS (now closed) was a pharmacy as well.

    Maybe the former CVS could transform into some sort of entertainment option (mini-golf? bowling?)

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  212. Jason: If I remember where the Route 33 location was correctly, I don’t think it’s really that close. It takes a little under ten minutes to drive from the mall to my day job; I think the CVS is about 10 minutes beyond that. You’re probably right with the oversaturation, though, especially since Mallguy said the Route 537 store (a little over 5 minutes away) is still open.

    Mallguy: Thank you for giving me peace of mind about the Route 537 store; it’s the one I hit whenever I go to the Post Office. The one in downtown Freehold has a pharmacy, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it also bite the dust sooner rather than later. Hell, both Dunkin Donuts and Windmill failed there–I’ve never seen Dunkin Donuts fail *anywhere*. (though that may be due to the much superior independent cafe across the street). Back on topic (somewhat), the CVS at Monmouth Mall has been gone since at least the summer.

    Jonah: That would be nice, but since FRM is a skewing-upscale mall, I doubt it, especially since they were located in the high-traffic main corridor on the lower level. Besides, FRM already has an arcade tucked away in the corner next to Macy’s.

    Glad the Giants won. :)

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  213. Fuck yeah Giants!

    Also, yeah, the arcade at FRM is quite crappy. The only thing they’ve got going is the glass storefront, which entices people watching me play DDR, haha.

    They used to have some good games too =/

    I was going to say H&M, but 7Ksf is too small for that. I thought it was a lot bigger…

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  214. I don’t know of any CVS stores with drive through windows in my area. Although i think the Rite Aid in King of Prussia plaza is a full service location because that location is huge!

    BRING ON TOM BRADY, WE ARE READY FOR YOU!

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  215. Another mall CVS bites the dust: Bridgewater Commons…and it’s been there since the mall opened in 1989!

    Speaking of entertainment anchors and I don’t see it in Freehold anytime soon, but one that I would hope would expand into NJ is Dave and Busters. There’s one in Palisades and one in Philly and hopefully someday soon, they’ll come to Central Jersey/Jersey Shore.

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  216. mallguy: QBM would be awesome.

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  217. Maybe Woodbridge, Menlo Park in the back of the food court or Willowbrook could also work.

    HERE COME “THE NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS”!

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  218. I was at Freehold Raceway mall today and I asked about the Disney store. The lady at the customer service desk told me that it was closed for remodeling and was going to reopen in June where CVS used to be. I think that is a smaller store then they currently had in that mall.

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  219. Mike: The Disney Store is closed too? ::eyebrow raise:: If it is going to open in the former CVS space, yes, it would definitely be a smaller store. I wonder why they would relocate down instead of up? Are their stores in that much trouble?

    Mallguy: I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for D&B to locate in Freehold. We’re talking a town that goes ballistic at the very mention of the word “nightlife”. I could tell you a funny story about when my dad briefly mulled the idea of opening a teen nightclub in the area–he said the woman he spoke to on the phone was practically shaking, LOL.

    AceJay: I didn’t say it was a *good* arcade :)

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  220. An addendum to my comment to Mallguy: I think if there is a D&B on the Jersey Shore, Eatontown would be a more likely choice.

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  221. Many of the Disney Store locations have been siding toward a smaller, more streamlined design that looks less “Disney.” This is the case in Woodbridge Center, Rockaway Townsquare and Menlo Park….Bridgewater Commons and Willowbrook have the larger Disney-ized version while I think Monmouth’s Disney Store is still the same as it opened in 1991/92.

    I agree, Debbi, that Eatontown would be a better choice. Under the Monmouth Mall post, I posted my thoughts on remerchandising the single level Loews/Food Court wing as an entertainment/lifestyle wing anchored by not only the movie theatre but a Dave and Busters and Barnes and Noble. It would be a great location actually! I don’t see Dave and Busters working in Freehold, and Sean, there’s really not much room for it in Menlo. Who knows…with Fort Monmouth closing and Eatontown looking for an increased tax base, Monmouth Mall may want to expand.

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  222. Okay, this took quite some time.

    I made this in MSPaint, it’s what I believe the new QuakerBridge Mall SHOULD be.

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/QuakerBridgeMallV2.png

    As you can see, Neiman Marcus is moved to the other end, with The Cheesecake Factory sitting between NM and Nordstrom with a Valet in front, Parking Garage, maybe.

    The biggest new feature is the addition of the D&B here, hopefully it’s well-placed.

    Also, the added space on the south side would be something like what Freehold Raceway Mall did, with a huge Lord and Taylor sign at the opening of the patio area. I don’t think you’ll like the whopping 4 entrances to L&T, but it seems wrong not to. the shops at the south end would be the same lineup as what FRM has, only without the CF.

    With the new JC Penney wing cutting directly through Old Navy, they might move to the right of the Food Court.

    Oh hey, a Food Court! This location would be the best in this plan. The parking garage outside would leave enough parking for this.

    Also a really weird secondary version if you hate the Lord & Taylor having 4 entrances:

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/QuakerBridgeMallV22.png

    But it’s weird.

    Any comments? Rival mock-ups?

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  223. Nice work; either one works for me.

    Mallguy is right about Dave & Busters @ Monmouth Mall.

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  224. I was at the mall today and noticed that they finally took the wooden box off the new fountain. It looks like it’s almost done, but not yet running. It will be the same earth tones colors as the rest of the mall and will also have underwater lights.

    Other things I noticed: they finished the wooden rails that replaced the brass and the three stores in the lifestyle center closest to JCPenney and the center court entrance are still unoccupied and have not been announced.

    By the way, AceJay, I like your Quaker Bridge Mall design.

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  225. Which one?

    I love the first one, I just made the second as an alternative to Lord & Taylor having 4 entrances, since some people might not like it.

    But I myself love it. I think it’d be perfect, since there are only a handful of stores that don’t have locations in the area.

    Either way, I wonder if I should pitch the idea to the redeveloper or Simon.

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  226. Pitch them both, you never can tell wich will go over well.

    IT’S GIANTS VS THE BRADY BUNCH!

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  227. AceJay:

    I liked the first one better. I’m not surprised you didn’t attempt a GS Plaza like design…the new wing at GSP surrounds JCPenney…the new wing should also surround Lord and Taylor…there’s enough room for it and Lord and Taylor doesn’t need to be relocated. Is that center court mall entrance wing on both levels?

    Wouldn’t hurt to pitch as I don’t think they’ve gotten started on anything yet. According to the Wikipedia entry, the JCPenney there is supposed to close very soon (after Holidays 2007 according to the site).

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  228. Original:

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/QuakerBridgeMall.png

    I called Penney’s December 28th, the manager (or one of them) said they have no plans of closing “anytime soon.”

    So hopefully I’ve got enough time :D

    Anyway, I realized I should do an interior layout too.

    Notable things:

    -Lifestyle component has outward-facing storefronts on the Lower level, as indicated by arrows.
    -Food Court moved to Upper Level, only removes Express and a smaller store.
    -Borders MAY feel like getting rid of their Nassau Park store, and the Express in the mall to build a bigger store in the New Lifestyle Component.
    -All Eateries move to Food Court, thus freeing up space for demolished retail, though they can of course move to new wing if they like.
    -Upper Level of Lifestyle area is inward-facing storefronts.
    -Old Navy moves to a 2-floor location to gain a new storefront, next to DnB.
    -All Red Arrows indicate Dual-level Entrances/Exits.
    -All L&T courts should contain some type of tall foliage.
    -Parking garages should be no more than 2 floors tall. Underground is preferred to maintain a clean upper lot and visibility. The Sears/Penneys garage can be full overground if desired.

    Oh, and this is not perfectly drawn to scale. Obviously it will look nicer if done professionally.

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/QuakerBridgeMallRedesign.png

    Comments please.

    Also, WHO would I go about submitting this to? =/

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  229. I believe it was said in an Trenton Times article around September that the JCPenney will only close once the replacement store is finished being built, I would have to look for it though. I’ll have to change the wikipedia entry once I find it.

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  230. I think you have 2 options,
    1. Eatontown town planning board or
    2. vornado in Paramus 201-368-3159.
    I think that will put you on the right track.

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  231. Jason, let me know if you can find that Article.

    lol Sean, this is QBM I’m talking about, not Freehold.

    I guess I should call Simon or something.

    Lawrence Township Officials already are enthusiastic about the existing plan, and actually I live next door to the mayor, so I’ll just let him know casually, haha.

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  232. Sorry about that, as long as you got the big picture it’s OK with me.

    It’s been a few years since i’ve been to QBM, time for some updating. Those cheep lights were just ugly, what happend to just plain sunlight? The Hamilton Mall in Maze Landing looks remarkably like QBM to me. Or it did, since the last time i went their was a few years a go.

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  233. Hamilton’s got a great Food Court @_@

    But nah, I’d compare Hamilton to Oxford Valley. QBM is too…80′s to compare to those two.

    Albiet less, after they removed the fountain(s?).

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  234. Hamilton, QB and Oxford were all developed by Kravco. Along with Montgomery Mall, Lehigh Valley, The Court and The Plaza at King of Prussia, and others. Simon has since bought 50% ownership, and new ownership name is Kravco Simon..

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  235. It’s weird isn’t it. FRM is almost like the anti-dead mall. Most dead malls started WILDLY SUCCESSFUL and died a slow, horrible death as competition came, crime sucked the life out of it, abandoned anchors left monstrous dead boxes behind, and finally closing.

    FRM started as a FAILURE, and now it is one of the most successful malls in NJ!

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  236. Crap!

    http://kravcosimon.com/contactus/job_detail.asp?job_posting_id=52&

    They posted that 4 years too early!

    I’ve found my calling /dies

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  237. At first when I saw the plan with the L&T having 4 entrances but when i saw the alternative, i am beginning to like the forst one more and more.

    And Sean & Acejay are both wrong (no offense lol), sean got QBM mixed up with the MONMOUTH MALL, not FRM, lol.

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  238. Do you blame me? After a wile it all blends together.

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  239. hah, its okay

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  240. Good observations, Jonah.

    Speaking of observations, I was there today and they are coming along a little further with the fountain. It looks like there is going to be some spherical structure incorporated into the fountain in similar, but smaller fashion to the globe fountain at the Mall at Short Hills…looks very interesting. To any CT readers, is the fountain at Danbury Fair Mall done yet? Some additional observations about the mall…they seem to be adding more soft seating areas, as well as changing the seats around. Also, it will be interesting to see the new stores that will come to the mall as Bombay, Disney (which I know will be relocated to the former CVS) have all closed up shop.

    On another NJ note, Work Out World (local NJ gym/health club) is opening a location at Menlo Park Mall. This is the 3rd mall I know of (Palisades Center and Dulles Town Center near Leesburg and Chantilly VA) that will have a health club…Menlo has later hours than most malls because of the movie theatre, Barnes and Noble as well as the restaurants…this will be another thing to keep the crowds there past 9:30.

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  241. A new fitness club opened @ Roosevelt Field next to Bloomingdales Home store, upper level.

    This is a new trend adding non treditional tennents to malls. Who knows, maybe you will start to see supermarkets come to a mall near you, like in Canada & Europe.

    THE GIANTS! WIN SUPER BOWL! 42!!!!!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

  242. Well, Vorhees Town Center is going to have a Stop and Stop, and Bergen Town Center is getting a Whole Foods.

    AND FUCK YEAH GIANTS!!

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  243. Stop & Shop has pulled all of their stores in Southern New Jersey so it is unlikely Voorhees will be opening as such. Most of the Stop & Shop (former Super G) stores were switched over to a Shop-Rite franchise about a year ago.

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  244. Oh. Interesting. I’d reccommend a Wegmans but there’re already 2 in the area.

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  245. Shoot, I just remembered that Marketfair already has all the tenants I was planning on having in the Lifestyle part…

    But it looks like Montgomery Promenade will too =/

    What now?

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  246. Long Time lurker here…

    Just wanted to join in on the fun!

    sorry to get sidetracked, but does anyone know anything about the Woodbridge Center Mall redevelopment? I know that they plan on adding outparcel restaurants, but what are they doing after they demolish the Fortunoff Department store?

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  247. Say what? Their doing what to Woodbridge Center?

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  248. Nice, it looks like GGP is headed in the right direction.

    I can’t find anything, but if it’s anything like Natick, that would be great.

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  249. As of now, Fortunoff will remain open . Lord and Taylor will be adding a gift section to most of their stores selling Fortunoff merchandise. I haven’t heard anything about the Woodbridge Center renovation, but something does need to be done. Have a feeling they won’t go upscale, as Menlo Park is doing that and is 3 miles down Route 1 from Woodbridge. We’ll see what happens there.

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  250. When you go to Woodbridge Center you almost expect Monty Hall to show up in a plad jacket & hager double nit slacks & offer you what is in the box on Jay Stewart’s tray. LOL

    This is still the only NY area mall i know of that gives you the true 70′s flashback. Lights, floors, handrails, benchs, you name it they got it.

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  251. haha i guess your right^…

    Somewhere on this site I was almost sure that I saw something about redevelopment there….I know that theyre at least adding a Bahama Breeze.

    Anywho, Freehold is a great mall, and hopefully they’ll fill the spaces still occupied in the Lifestyle Center.

    Do you guys ever think that Freehold will attract luxury retailers, like Burberry, Louis Vuitton ect.?

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  252. I wouldn’t disagree with you Alex. It’s a good 45 minutes & 42 miles to Short Hills from Freehold. Bridgewater commons is 40 minutes & 36 miles. Menlo Park is closer, but is stil a good 35 minutes away.

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  253. Hmm true, And I know that there is a signifigant luxury market to be tapped out there, as Freehold is very close to very wealthy areas…my only question about Freehold going super-lux is that Red Bank, (for those who dont know, is near middletown) is starting to see lots of boutiques, such as Tiffany and Co. that opened up there in like november or december or something….so maybe the retailers see that as being the Central NJ shore’s Upscale shopping destination.

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  254. Not everyone may know this, not to many years ago Red Bank was on the down slide. The village created a “BID” or business improvement district. They raised funds by self taxation &used those funds to rehab buildings & streets. What resolted is the downtown we see today, new shops, restaurants & dare i say it-nightlife.
    I read about the bid because i work for one.
    http://www.wpbid.com
    Come take a look around maybe you’ll stay awile.

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  255. Very true, Sean…the story behind Red Bank is remarkable. Red Bank has great potential to be the Hoboken of the Jersey Shore. Every June, they have Riverfest/Jazzfest in Marine Park which is always tons of fun…the neighborhood along Shrewsbury Avenue south of the train station is, unfortunately, not as rehabbed…other communities in the area such as Long Branch are attempting to follow in Red Bank’s footsteps. Just south of Red Bank along route 35 is the Grove at Shrewsbury which is the 1st lifestyle center in NJ (I think even in the US) that today has many upscale stores both nationally known (Brooks Brothers, JCrew, Williams-Sonoma, etc) and locally known (JMcLauglin, Stacy Gemma). Brook 35 Plaza in Sea Girt is like a “little brother” to The Grove and has many of the same stores. Monmouth Mall, as I have explained in the MM thread, has great potential to attract upscale stores and with its upcoming expansion, maybe it will start.

    Freehold Raceway Mall is poised to attract very upscale stores as it already has many new to market stores and restaurants that have just opened. This will only grow as Quakerbridge Mall will be in direct competition when they complete their expansion (if they ever get started).

    On Woodbridge Center, Sean, the decor you see today is as a result of the 1987 renovation. Prior, there were about three additional fountains, a closed in staircase where the carousel stood before it was moved to the old JCPenney fountain and concrete columns. While there is some orginality left in the design, Woodbridge Center is tired and an updating is very much needed.

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  256. Wow mallguy, I had no idea that Woodbridge called that a renovation. What did it look like before?

    As far as Red Bank goes, if the bid extends south of the train station, just give it time they’ll get to those areas you spoke of. With the econemy the way it is right now it may take longer to complete those projects.

    But i don’t know if the bid extends over their.

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  257. Sorry to get side tracked again…but I dont really know where else to put this…

    I was reading Wikipedia (which is not always a credible source) about the Newport Center Mall in Jersey City. There was a segment about the 2008-2009 renovation or something like that. It said that alot of stores will be moved, and alot of new stores will be moving in like Hollister Co. and Abercrombie and Fitch, along with a “super” Victoria’s Secret and some other stuff.. does anyone know if this is credible and going to happen? I think that these stores would fit well into the mall, considering there is a HUGE population that is very yong and has ALOT of money. The whole mall should have a renovation in my opinion..

    As for Freehold, all they need now is a Gilly Hicks and all of the Abercrombie spinoffs will be in the mall!

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  258. What’s in FRM’s lifestyle section?

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  259. Jonah: So far, these stores are in the lifestyle section of FRM: Borders (2 levels), Cheesecake Factory, PF Changs, Ann Taylor, Chicos, White House/Black Market, Territory Ahead, Jared’s and Coldwater Creek…there are still 4 vacant spaces and they plan to build next to PF Changs.

    Sean: The rebuild of downtown Red Bank took place along 1994-95. In Red Bank now, they are rebuilding much of the area where West Front Street and Route 35 cross. I don’t think the BID goes south of the train station, but I could be wrong. It’s probably the least safe part of town and it’s very unfortunate.

    In terms of Woodbridge Center prior to the 1987 renovation, picture The Mall in Columbia (MD) prior to their renovation. Other things to note about the before/after: the globe lighting/bubble lighting in the mall were flourscent light prior to the renovation, the tan tiles all over the mall were brown bricks, the whole area between the former carousel location/enclosed staircase was a lowered seating area and the turquoise colors you see on the rails was gray. Wish there were pics of it.

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  260. Thanks for the info mallguy, Woodbridge must have been one ugly mall at that time with that color pallet.

    Alex have you ever walked around the Pavonia Newport area? I have-nnumerus times. It’s fasonating, the views, buildings & the surpprises around each corner. Newport Center mall doesn’t nessessarily reflect the welth in that area of Jersey City or that general area along “The Gold Coast.” Condos in that area can reach over $1,000,000 from Fort Lee to Bayone, but the mall is more middle of the road. That will change slowly over time.
    Here is one of my favorite real estate sites http://www.newjerseygoldcoast.com you will find listings for condos all over the area, plus profiles of buildings & various towns & cities.

    I figured i might as well give it all to you Alex; even if i go somewhat overboard. Take a walk around you’ll find more to explore than you expect.

    Hope i helped!

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  261. Sean, thank you for your analysis, and yes, I absolutely adore that area. It is just simply stunning. The views, the buildings, and the INCREDIBLE pace of construction around there. There are just luxury condos popping everywhere. Its simply beautiful… I suggest that everyone take a trip up there =). Anyway, Sean your right about Newport Centre mall not really representing the feel of the area, it is definatley not as upscale as it should be…although they just did add a coach store there ….but cross your fingers for a redevelopment haha

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  262. Sean/Alex:

    Newport Centre completed a renovation within the year (its 1st) to make it a little more aesthetically pleasing. The new Macy’s is also very nice. I agree that they are not directly catering to the Pavonia/Newport area and do believe that it will change. Newport Centre also attracts many from New York City since PATH stops right at the mall and also that the sales tax rate is 3.5% due to its location in a UEZ (Urban Enterprise Zone)

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  263. On a nice day i could spend the whole day their, walking around the Newport erea. Forget about the mall, i’m checking out all of the development up & down the HBLR line. Pick up a sandwich & drink, and away i go.

    Hence my Fort Lee post awile back.

    Back to Newport for a minute, how does a mall like that have both a Coach store & Pay Half? I think we danced around this , but i wonder if anyone else finds that odd from a retailing standpoint based on what was said earlier. Also notice their are no sitdown restaurants at Newport other than the food court.

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  264. I do find that a little odd myself, but apparently, that PayHalf will be closing in favor of a larger Victoria’s Secret. Apprarently, Newport Centre is following Menlo Park’s policy of adding larger locations (semi-flagship) of their current stores…they’ll be doing a lot of shuffling over there. Isn’t the brick oven pizzeria still open at the mall?

    Bridgewater Commons also comes to mind in terms of malls lacking sit down restaurants…they only have McCormick’s and Schmick’s and at the Village, which is the new lifestyle center that is about a 10 minute walk from the mall, there is Maggiano’s. At least the FRM expansion added some good ones.

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  265. The pizza place closed, i don’t recall what it became. Some time ago i visited i went down stairs to pick up a slice & it wasn’t there. What a shame, they had good pizza.

    With all of the residents, shoppers & office workers you would think there would be better restaurant choices than just the food court. There are restaurants closer to the health club & apartment buildings but most shoppers won’t walk that far to have a sitdown meal. What a pitty, the views are nothing short of breathtaking. And the walk isn’t even 5 minutes away.

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  266. Yeah, true about the restaurants.. I think that a PF changs and probably a Cheesecake Factory would do fantastically in Newport.

    The area around the mall is very upscale, not just Jersey City, but Hoboken too, which is like a 2 minute drive without traffic. So I think with the correct retailers, this mall could be VERY upscale… All they need is to get rid of Kohls and replace it with a Nordstrom or something, add some restaurants, and a copule more high end shops (ie Armani Exchange, Apple, and some designer places), maybe some mid-level retailers like Abercrombie and Hollister, and I actually think that a Ruehl and Gilly Hicks would do well too..

    [Reply]

  267. I agree with you alex, but there are 2 problems. 1st you are so close to midtown Manhattan that all you need to do is hop on the PATH & you are there in 22 minutes! 2nd it maybe more profitable to add Cheesecake Factory or any other restaurant like that outside Newport Center do to the number of residents that reside around there. Don’t forget those who live along the HBLR who can ride there in just minutes, the walk is 2 minutes away from the station. Now if the mall goes more upscale AKA Menlo Park now we are talking about something entirely different.

    I just remembered that the nearest CF locations to Jersey City are Riverside Square & Menlo Park. You maybe on to something Alex. Now if CF opens in midtown, you could forget about Jersey City, unless one of them is a Grand Lux Cafe!

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  268. I just read NJTransit is constructing a new pedestrian walkway over the long slip from Newport to Hoboken Terminal. It will take about a year or more to complete. When fully built it will strech 18 miles along the Hudson.

    http://www.njtransit.com

    Click news then news releases 2-11-08

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  269. I ment this section will take a year or more to build. The entire walkway will be 18 miles in length when completed.

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  270. Sean, I really do think that CF would do great in Downtown Jersey City somewhere…I sincerely doubt that they will go into Manhattan, because 1) the rents would be rediculously high and 2) I have never seen any of these “Lifestyle” restaurants (Cheesecake Factory, PF Changs, Legal Sea Foods, Grand Lux) in Manhattan, which i personally think is strange.

    Anyway, the point is, Newport can definatley become “menlo park north”, the new residents of waterfront hudson county have the money, and the style to do so.

    LETS CONTACT SIMON AND TELL THEM TO RENOVATE! haha

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  271. ^ I meant that the residents of Hudson county have the money and the style to be able to support Newport center becoming more luxurious.

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  272. http://www.simon.com

    Alex, if you could redevelop Newport Center WHAT WOULD you change? As for me-first i would get those discount stores out as fast as i can, but keep Kohls because believe it or not they make money were ever they go-like Best Buy & Target. Secondly add some fine dining restaurants like Cheesecake Factory, Legal See foods,maybe PF Changs& those types of eateries. Third upgrade or replace the cinema with statium seating in the existing complex or even build a new one. To me replacing the theatres at this point would be less costly than rehabbing the existing complex because they’re nearing the end of their 20 year life cycle. forth bring Apple, A E outfitters & stores like that to replace the cheep stores.

    Everything you said in your last post is spot on.

    Your thoughts, observations…

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  273. haah yes what you just said would be perfect.

    Maybe add some fast service restaurants to replace at least some of the food court…if they didnt do a PF changs then maybe they could have a Pei Wei, maybe Panera, Cosi or Chipotle, along with the Upscale restaurants.

    Out with the discount stores, and in with the Reuhls, Levi’s, Gilly Hicks, Who AU, and Abercrombies of the world.

    Oh yeah, maybe instead of a PF Changs, they could do a second location for their Taneko Japanese concept.

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  274. Just for the hell of it i checked the store listings at NC last night. There are more shoe stores & cell Phone shops than anything else. Half of the clothing retailers i have never herd of. Although they have Saphora & swarovski, wich means they will move to bring more upscale retailers in,for reasons we already know.

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  275. yes, that is true, but again like you said. the swarovski and sephora are among the newest retailers at NC along with Coach, so we know that they are at least trying to cash in on their potential.

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  276. As a foot note Roseland property company owns most of the residential buildings around the Newport area.

    http://www.roselandproperty.com

    Roseland also owns most of the apartment buildings at Port Imperial & up along River Road for about 1 mile north.

    They are all expencive rental units, but what an easy walk to either path or NY Waterway, depending on the building you choose.

    There are also condos as well, most of them along River Rd as far north as Fort Lee.

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  277. I GOT IT.! The new Newport Center, how about Knocking out sears & replace it with small shop space with quick serve restaurants like Cosi open to an outside plaza & the local street network & a new food court on the first floor, with a new cinema above. As for the existing 3rd level 1st remove the existing theatres & food court & 2nd add new sit down restaurants keeping the openness in tact & call it “The Atrium.” Putting in places like LegalSea Food & CheesecakeFactory.

    This is a adaptation of Stamford Town Center’s redevelopment plan wich opened a few months ago.

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  278. Sounds interesting…it could definitely do for that area what the redevelopment of Stamford Town Center did for Stamford. The complaints of that mall were that it was separated from the city. Now with the new space at the mall, there is a lot of street access and street activity…very similar to what was done when Providence Place was built.

    I was at Freehold today and the new fountain is now operational. It looks like a smaller version of the globe fountain at the Mall at Short Hills with water coming out of the top of the globe and below the globe. The water than falls into a larger basin…very nice design.

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  279. oh I love the Short Hills fountain, I need to get to Freehold soon to check it out =).

    As For Sean’s idea for Newport. Love it. Need to let simon know that their property has tremendous potential. Haha I just need to see this renovation actually happen.

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  280. I to love the globe fountain at Short hills with the vantage point up on the 2nd floor looking right down on it, between the escalators & stairs. It’s both pieceful & full of oppertunity for people watching.

    How do we get started getting this Newport idea off the ground? Who is with me?

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  281. I have absolutely no idea. haah wish i knew..

    Also, another retailer that both Freehold and Newport could use: Anthropologie.

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  282. Anthropologie is in The Grove at Shrewsbury and I could definitely see it in Freehold soon.

    Both fountains at Short Hills are great and I like how sculptures are incorporated into the movement of the water in the fountain. Something else interesting about the Freehold fountain…it is illuminated with red underwater lights…maybe a Valentine’s Day theme, but we’ll soon enough see. Another store to soon go vacant at Freehold (and its other locations too like Short Hills and Bridgewater Commons): Domain. This is a very large space and hopefully something good (JCrew…fingers crossed) will go in there.

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  283. Woah woah woah, before we get on with Newport you guys have to help me with QBM =/

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  284. why cant we work on both at the same time?

    How can i help.

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  285. I dunno, haha. I’m just saying we need to act on QBM before they commit to site plans or anything, which SHOULD be soon.

    I don’t think a petition would work. What If I made an appoinment with someone/group at Kravco and did a presentation?

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  286. Give it a shot, You’ll never know unless you try.

    On a different note , went to Kona Grill in Stamford CT Last night. After seeing what Stamford Town Center did to open the mall outward to the rest of downtown,i am more convinced than ever that something similar needs to be done at Newport Centre. The main difference between the 2 is STC didn’t include a cinema, although there is one in the office complex behind Macy*s. This configuration requires walking through the malls entire 4th level. Anice walk but can be a pain in the but if you have dinner reservations & plan to catch a movie,.

    What i would do is put those uses together to make it as conveniant as possible. Just make sure that there is proper ventilation for all of the restaurants & cinema. Maybe if there is still some room add either Borders or Barns & Noble.

    Even if you take public transportation it still is not all that far to walk, so this works out for everyone-no matter what the weather or time of year.

    Thoughts? Questions?

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  287. I’ve never been to Newport, I wouldn’t know what to tell you there Sean.

    Anyway, I’ve edited my plan a bit to include parking and a new outdoor promenade:

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/QuakerBridgeMallV3.png

    The outdoor one will have one or two restaurants that aren’t CF or PFC. Maybe Bahama Breeze. That would be awesome.

    Red Parking lots are underground, 1 level, Green is over-ground 1 level, and Blue are normal parking lots.

    I really want to see this happen. I think if it’s done right it’d attract Princeton area shoppers in addition to the current Middle class base.

    Comments? Should I get a professional site plan done? Anyone know anyone that can do that?

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  288. Forgot to mention what I;m going for is to have all the MarketFair stores move to QBM, to be spread throughout the old sections, new wing, and outdoor part. Yes, I realize I would be “killing” a mall, but I think it should be done.

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  289. Why do you want to commit malltriside? What is wrong with Marketfair??

    I would have Your plans looked at.

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  290. AceJay, I really like the QuakerBridge plans…

    As for other news, heard that Garden State Plaza is adding alot of new retailers (American Apparel, Fossil, Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Rootz, Samsonite Black Label, Urban Outfitters and Who.A.U!), but while also reading wikipedia’s page for gilly hicks, i saw that GSP was a future store location..

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  291. Nice work Ace Jay, could work quite nicely. Is there parking under the promanade? Your going to need as many spaces as you can get. That theatre at Marketfair is an old one,are you adding a new one like i want to do at Newport Centre?

    Speaking of Newport Centre, i thought about it for a few days & came up with a second configuration. Leave the food court in tact, add a restaurant or 2 in the existing cinema space, add aditional restaurant & retail uses were Sears currently stands with a new cinema above. this wing could be enclosed like Garden State Plaza or open with a plaza & landscaped walkway like Stamford Town Center. Any of the options & configurations work for me. The 2 requirements are 1 anew cinema is built & 2 outdoor patios for all plaza restaurants/ retailers to make padestrian movement easier & more pleasant when the weather is nice.

    AS i write this, i checked on B & N locations in the area. There is a B Dalltons already open there, so they can copy Menlo Park set up to one extent or another.

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  292. There is a B&N in Hoboken and while it is pretty small (no music department but a cafe) it does very well…plus it’s in Hoboken on Washington Street and I don’t think they’re going to be vacating too soon. Maybe Borders would be a better choice there.

    Not too sure if that Sears is going anyplace anytime soon, but what about Kohls…if it were moved to one of the area strip malls, maybe…then you can remerchandise it to restaurant/lifestyle space in the same fashion of the old Strawbridges at The Court @ King of Prussia.

    I haven’t been to this area in a very, very long time, but it is something to see how this neighborhood has been built up and it’s mighty impressive! The pictures of the aesthetic renovations I have seen that have been completed at Newport Centre have also made the mall look a lot nicer and have given it a more upscale feel.

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  293. Nothing’s wrong with MarketFair, I just want QBM to be the best as possible. Also, I don’t know what would happen if they were to open a new theatre, because AMC has it’s new 24-screen megaplex pretty closeby, which killed 3 theatres in the area, including the one formerly in the Mercer Mall’s DSW Shoes location.

    I mean MarketFair DOES get a relatively decent amount of Movie traffic. I don’t know though. MarketFair’s advantage is that it can be accessed from another much smaller road than Route 1, which brings Princeton traffic that doesn’t want to deal with Rt. 1 traffic.

    What do you guys think?

    Also yeah parking underneath the promenade sounds really cool, and would be neat if you could make Subway-styled stairway entrances, haha.

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  294. The reason i chose to dump Sears was 3 fold. 1 that Kohls location is almost brand new, 2 If Sears is in as bad finantial shape as reports indicate because both JCPenny & Kohls are taking their customer base away, it maybe time to close that Sears down. 3 there is more land to build on that side of the mall then the Kohls side wich i think is sourt of landlocked like Macy*s is. On my next trip out there i’ll dubble check all of this out.

    Mallguy,

    thank you for the Borders idea. The nearest stores to Newport if you could believe it are Newark airport & Schlosser street in Fort Lee.

    Here is a list of restaurants i would like to bring in, pick your favorites, or add any you think might work.

    CHEESECAKE FACTORY, LEGAL SEA FOODS, KONA GRILL, COSI, MITCHELL SEA FOOD, DAILY GRILL, DAVE & BUSTERS? MAYBE,a personal favorite of mine is a restaurant called CITY LIMITS DINER, The food is fantastic. It may look like a diner but the quality of the food is beyond what you would get in most restaurants. There is a location in Stamford & 2 in White Plains.

    Feel free to add others, i’m sure i overlooked quite a few places.

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  295. AceJay,

    How far is QBM FROM Marketfair? You maybe able to split the difference between the 2 malls. This way both centers can atract the high end stores & restaurants they need to thrive, in these market condissions. Like your ideas, your on to something big. Make sure to place parking under the promonade.

    Sears maybe at it’s witz end, or put more exactly it’s lands end, acording to PVL. If this fails you could say good by to sears all together. Hence the Newport Center redevelopment idea i have been thinking long & hard about.

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  296. http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/Untitled.png

    TWO WHOLE MILES, lol.

    Have you been to MarketFair?

    It’s pretty much the Mall that has every single high-end store that belongs at QBM:

    Acorn
    Americana Grille
    Anthropologie
    Art & Frame Source
    BabyGap
    Barnes & Noble + Cafe
    Big Fish Seafood Bistro (Local PF Changs (Fish version))
    Brookstone
    Cafe Sweet-E-Pie
    Carlton Cards Retail, Inc.
    ChazMaTazz Formal Wear & Tailoring
    Chico’s
    Eastern Mountain Sports
    GapKids
    GNC Live Well (also at QBM, Nassau Park, and Mercer Mall, hahaha)
    Greenstreet Cafe
    Gymboree
    Harry and David
    Jos. A. Bank Clothiers
    La Festa
    LensCrafters (already at QBM)
    Mystique Hair & Skin
    PF Chang’s China Bistro (Just built last year)
    Pip, Squeak & Wilfred
    Pizza Bene
    Platypus
    Pottery Barn Design Studio
    Pottery Barn Kids
    Restoration Hardware
    Smith & Hawken
    Starbucks
    Sunglass Hut
    T.G.I. Friday’s
    Teriyaki Boy
    United Artists Theatres
    Victorias Secret
    Villeroy & Boch
    White House Black Market
    Williams Sonoma Grand Cuisine

    http://marketfairmall.com/

    It’s actually pretty high end, but yeah.

    [Reply]

  297. So is GNC Live Well different than the regular, ol’ in-every-single-mall-whether-it-be-successful-or-dead GNC?

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  298. It’s just a bit bigger and has more products is all. They’re trying to convert all stores to that.

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  299. Ace Jay,

    I have actualy been to Marketfair twice, but not for a few years. When i have gone there i’ve gone to QBM AS WELL. It’S A SINGLE BUS RIDE BETWEEN THEM. For me to get there it takes 2 trains, a bus & 2 plus hours, that is why i haven’t been back in so long. I however do remember the horifficly cheep floressent lights at QBM & thought to my self, who designed this terreable lighting package? Also there was little natural sunlight comeing in, making this mall very unpleasant.

    As it is QBM is on the same level as Rockaway Townsquare.

    I thought that marketfair was nice but needed a little TLC.

    Have you brought your ideas to the town planning board?

    [Reply]

  300. When Quakerbridge renovated a few years back, that florescent light was supposed to brighten up the mall (mall was pretty dark at night) and there was also a crime issue in and around the mall at this time. The center court is actually pretty bright on sunny days. I think the construction and remerchandising will improve the mall tenfold.

    It will be interesting to see how Marketfair is affected by it. Wasn’t the UA Theater remade into a stadium seating theatre? Since you’ve been to Marketfair, they have tried to remake themselves as an indoor lifestyle center and have had much success with that as they have attracted Smith and Hawken, Williams-Sonoma and Restoration Hardware. I am also a fan of Big Fish Bistro.

    And Sean, I would say that Rockaway Townsquare is a few steps above the socio-economic ladder of Quakerbridge now. Rockaway Townsquare is currently in the middle of a renovation project and they have a problem of attracting/having sit down restaurants in the mall itself (there are on the outskirts).

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  301. WOW! 300 comments! lets keep going. BOO-YAH!

    I stand corrected, thanks Mallguy for the info on Rockaway. They had to do something to keep the welthier households from going to Bridgewater Commons. Although the 2 malls are 35 miles apart, communities like Bedminster,denville & dover fit somewhat in between giving the residents a choice were to spend their dalers.

    Keep trying to get restaurants in the mall,you will atract the right ones, don’t give up.
    Can you walk to the AMC theatre & ajacent shops from the mall?

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  302. Sean:

    Bridgewater Commons has been making an upscale surge of their own. The renovation a couple of years ago, Bloomingdales, JCrew, Pottery Barn and the Village at Bridgewater Commons to name a few. I always wished the mall itself were expanded and they very well can build a small three level wing from the 202/206 side of center court and anchor it with Nordstrom. It could be done, but I don’t think they ever will. The Mall at Short Hills also isn’t too far off.

    Rockaway Townsquare’s movie theater is quite large and it is walkable from the mall, but I don’t really know of many who do. Haven’t been over there in a while, but they are starting to lay out the new tile…it will be interesting to see what they do because, frankly, I didn’t think the mall was in need of a renovation as much as Monmouth Mall is.

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  303. No, I haven’t brought it to the planning board because my plans are quite unprofessional. Does anyone know anyone that could mockup some site plans/lease plans for me?

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  304. This idea maybe totaly nuts, replace Lord & Taylor at Bridgewater Commons with Nordstrom. Forgot how close Short Hills is to that area. Oh how could i forget something as simple as that?

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  305. Maybe someone on the planning board can lead you in the right direction, or even somebody in the malls management office can help. I would try the planning board first & see how far you can go.

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  306. So what, just call them and say I have a proposal for an alternate QBM expansion? :|

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  307. Tell them that you have some ideas for the expantion of QBM, and ask those people who can you talk to about incorperating some of the ideas that you brought up here. The worst thing that happens is they say no. If you don’t try you will never find out. I wish you luck. I like your plans, there is no reason why at least a portion of your plans couldn’t BE intagrated into QBM’S EXPANTION.

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  308. New plan!

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/QuakerBridgeMallV3UGP.png

    Check it out.

    “The Promenade at Quaker Bridge Mall” sounds nice I think.

    Purple is the underground parking lot.

    A “P” in Red and yellow indicates a link to the parking garage, whereas on the upper side of the mall, the purple is underground and the green is the link, covered with access to the nearest entrance/store indicated.

    The Arrows in Orange indicate uncovered parking links, similar to NYC Subway entrances.

    Oh and I placed a large fountain in the outdoor L&T court, and the Promenade is closed to traffic and the orange/yellow tghing south of the court is a large, lit, raised crosswalk for pedestrians.

    Also I don’t think I would have to speak to the Planning board for exactly this, rather the architect and Kravco Simon. The town’s already shown massive interest in the plan, I doubt they’d dislike mine.

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  309. Whoops, and the Red X’s scattered throughout are car entrances to the underground lot.

    Comments?

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  310. WOW! What are you waiting for! Show your plans to KS right away, it’s great! I just cant help you with finding someone who does perfessional sight plans though.

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  311. I like the idea a lot

    [Reply]

  312. What IS happening with QBM.

    [Reply]

  313. Nothing yet, which gives me time!

    They want to do this:

    http://www.simon.com/mall/LeasingSheet/QuakerBridge849.pdf

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  314. Very interesting plans, AceJay. Whether you get or way or KravcoSimon does it their way, Quakerbridge will be very successful and end up turning into the Garden State Plaza of Central Jersey…they will definitely force Freehold into further expanding into the upscale market.

    Speaking of Freehold, I noticed with the new fountain that the underwater lights constantly change colors. This is pretty cool and reminds me of a time when fountains had multi-colored underwater lights (like Quakerbridge used to with the old center court fountain, as well as Altamonte Mall in Florida before its renovation). If the crowds were any evidence today, this expansion for Freehold Raceway Mall is going to be incedibly helpful for the increase in business and traffic over there.

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  315. The pier at Ceaser’s in Atlantic City has a fountain with molti-colored lights as well, but is part of a free show with anamatronic statues. Based on the same show in LasVegas. A sight for all to enjoy without blowing up your walet. LOL

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  316. On the new Freehold fountain with the changing lights…that would probably look really cool at night.

    That’s right! I totally forgot about the Pier @ Caesar’s. The fountain show there is actually really cool and gives AC some needed entertainment to make it more on par with Las Vegas. They don’t have audio-anamatronic statues (you’re thinking of the Las Veagas Forum Shops) but there is a “rain curtain” and fog involved with the show, which is entirely computer operated…again, very, very cool. Here is a YouTube of the show (not my video, but very well done whoever did it).

    On the subject of Atlantic City, I am very surprised that other casinos don’t have major retail plans on the drawing board after the successes of the Pier @ Caesars and The Quarter @ Tropicana…one project that I would love to see get off the ground is a New Orleans/Bourbon Street themed shopping promenade…you can go so many places with that!

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  317. Oh i forgot it’s just audio at caesars Atlantic City. The 2 shows are somewhat alike, both of them are very cool & worth the time.

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  318. I LOVE THE NEW AC!

    There is tons of new construction going on there right now. At least 3, possibly 4 casinos to break ground this year, and with the development of bader feild, another 4 or 5 casinos on top of that could be built.

    Revel, a new casino currently under construction next to the Showboat will have tons of shopping (about 500,000 square feet), and it will be a very cool and edgy urban design.

    Also, MGM Grand, which will break ground this year and will be located inbetween the Borgata and Harrahs will also have about 500,000 square feet of retail.

    AC is becoming a true shopping mecca!

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  319. Let me clarify my earlier comments about a possilbe New Orleans/Bourbon Street themed shopping/entertainment district. This, for those unfaimliar with AC, should be at Showboat, the New Orleans themed casino (I failed to mention the location). It can be done in the same fashion that Quater @ Tropicana is done…leading from the parking garage to the main lobby, and even to the boardwalk. The potential for that is limitless!

    Good to hear about the possibility of new retail at the new casinos in AC. In addition, The Walk is going to expand again…maybe we’ll eventually see Dave and Busters in AC!

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  320. I really like the New Orleans themed shopping area idea. I think that they could really make it nice and pull it off. They actually have a small property that isnt built on yet on the northern border of the property where this could go. I envision something 200,000 square feet to 300,000 square feet.
    Some things that could go into that new retail space are:

    The Cheesecake Factory ( there isnt one in ac yet, which I think is dumb.)
    Fogo De Chao (Churrascaria Brasileiro, sim, meu fala portugues)
    Dave and Busters
    Maybe a PF changs (although there is one at the Trop)

    and stores like Apple, Bose, Armani Exchange, Abercrombie and Fitch, Abercrombie, Gilly Hicks, Hollister, Rheul, Sephora and other mid ranged stores. (you dont want to put the pier at caesars out just yet)

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  321. What is going to happen or should happen to the retail strips along the boardwalk?

    It’s time to get some of the t-shirt places & fast food joints out of there & put either more casinos or better retail offerings in those locations. There is a lot more dead space/ undeveloped land along the boardwalk than people realize.

    Mallguy’

    I second the ideas you posted above.

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  322. I second your ideas also, Alex.

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  323. Sean, Alot of the space you mentioned above is wasted, but alot of it is soon to be developed.

    1) where the sands once stood, Pinnacle entertainment is planning to build a 1.5 billion dollar resort that will occupy a boardwalk front lot along with the former sands site. This will add alot of activity to the boardwalk there.

    2) Further up the boardwalk, a development by digeorge atlantic properties called “The Prasada” which will be over 50 stories and will hold a boutique hotel and possibly residences. It will also occupy an under-utilized lot on the boardwalk. It will be located directly to the south of the Atlantic Palace.

    3) Even Further up, past the showboat, Revel Casino and Resort is being constructed as we speak, and that will definatley add more retail and entertainment options on the boardalk as well as within the property.

    For the smaller strips of stores, TShirt shoppes and pizza places, within due time they will probably be baught up by casino developers and will be redeveloped into spectacular retail, entertainment, dining and gambling destinations, but this is all in due time.

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  324. I hope so, Alex. What would you do to upgrade the boardwalk?

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  325. Alex, i found a great blog for you on Pavonia Newport & Jersey City buildings http://www.newyorkssith.com.

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  326. http://www.newyorkssixth.com. that is the adress. Disregard the last link.

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  327. Thank you sean, that is actually one of my favorite jersey city sites.

    Things I would do to upgrade the boardwalk would be to completely deomolish every t-shirt shop, and low end type of building, and sell those peices of land they stood on to casino developers, condo developers and retail (or a combination of all 3) developers. Just for a tropical effect, add some hardy palms to the beach side of the boardwalk. (there is actually a type of palm, which I planted at my house last summer and is doing great even in the dead of winter, that can survive winters here in New Jersey. It is called “trachycarpus fortunei” or Chinese Windmill Palm.

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  328. This comment thread has gotten WAY off-topic, guys!

    I have to admit, I’m kind of curious… with the focus on unique, diverse, regional retail that Labelscar has, and the reverence for many of the chains/shopping malls/department stores that have been eradicated as a result of consolidation adn homogenization, why are you championing those very same processes in a place like Atlantic City? Shouldn’t Atlantic City retain some of its unique, original character?

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  329. I actually think while atlantic city should retain it original character, most of its original character has already been butchered. There used to be grand old hotels that made way for messy Holiday Inns and Econo-Lodges. I dont think that these dumpy places should remain. With all the new development going up in AC, these areas of cheeziness shouldnt ne around anymore. AC is really going in the right direction in what it is doing. In 5-10 years, I think AC will give Las Vegas a huge run for its money.

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  330. Caldor: Not our fault you’re missing some NJ mall posts :P

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  331. The comments page HAS gotten long and unruly, but the other NJ mall posts SHOULD be there (and dozens of comments here be deleted…).

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  332. Caldor, one of the great things about threds like this is you never know where topics & conversations may lead you. I wouldn’t worry so much about it, i find it a total fasonation to see were we end up. Hence Pavonia Newport, atlantic City & other locations.

    Alex, again i totally agree with you.

    Do you have any other links to sights like the one on Jersey City i posted above?

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  333. I don’t really want to limit discussions (and again, if what you guys actually DO want is a more homogenized/upscale retail landscape, then that’s certainly your right) but at the same time, the sheer amount of off-topic comments in this thread concerns me. There are a few reasons for this: One is that people who read all of the daily comments added to Labelscar via RSS are getting almost nothing but a long-irrelevant thread on an old post, making it very difficult to find much of the new, relevant comments on other posts without a significant time investment. Another reason is that if someone brand new to this page did show up and share some history about FRM (and I do realize that with this particular mall, there isn’t much), it would be so far down in the comment thread that NO one would ever find or read it in the future. No one new to this site is going to scroll through 300 comments.

    I just worry because a lot of people who used to comment regularly (and were clearly following comments via RSS, given their posting patterns) seem to have left the site completely and I worry it’s because the conversations have veered so far off-topic.

    As far as generating more posts on NJ malls, they’ll come at some point, but please also recognize that we have limited time and resources (we both have full time jobs, lives apart from this hobby, etc.) so it can be difficult to find the time. Believe me, I have a ton of stuff in the can that I would love to have up here for everyone, I just haven’t had enough time. I’m going to try a bit harder to post a bit more frequently now that I’m settled but it still takes a significant time investment to put together even one post. It do take heart in the fact that you all enjoy and appreciate the effort, however, and I’d rather have that problem than being ignored!

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  334. yea the thread has gone to places like Starbucks, White plains, newport, and now atlantic city!

    And i think they should level those old ghettos in atlantic city and build huge places, like luxury residential towers with of course affordable housing units scattered around the building to replace those slums that were destroyed.

    And its funny how some people in an old shack in ac complain about a big nice casino which will bring revenue & jobs and improve the scenery replacing their house but are willing to give it up for a parking lot. Ive seen many houses replaced by parking lots in ac.

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  335. Caldor’s right. I subscribe to this site on RSS and half the stuff I get is some irrelevant stuff that happened to be on the FRM page. Bobby doesn’t seem to be in here anymore, and I hope that with Caldor’s return, we can hope to see changes in the normal stream of comments.

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  336. here’s some Jersey City websites:

    jcconstruction.blogspot.com
    http://www.hobokenx.com/html/modules/newbb/viewforum.php?forum=8
    Jclist.com

    uhh thats all I can think of haha

    [Reply]

  337. Sorry Caldor and Jonah, I can’t just NOT talk about my favorite malls =/

    Also, this is all new information, so wouldn’t it be as relevant as a new blog post’s posts?

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  338. Alex, thank you.

    I can solve the whole thing. Caldor, can you create a page for redevelopment descussions? This way everybody can join in with out having these long threds to deal with. Nobody should be shoved to the margins.

    Having said that, a major point of this blog is not just the historical roll of the mall, but how to redevelop & keep the mall alive & kicking.

    Caldor your point is well taken & totally understandable, but Ace Jay’s point is equally valid. Infact Caldor let me have the floor for a moment. The deversity of topics on this thred wouldn’t be possible with out the hard work & dedacation you & Prangeway put into it. So let me be the first to say THANK YOU! & sorry for making the thred so long in the first place. The off topic discussion happend because this was the perfect forem to bring up our own redevelopment ideas & problem solve in a healthy & constructive manner. both of you and i see the mall differently, this is the best place to express those thaughts. It just happend to be on this thred. that is why i thought that the salution above would be best for all. (I am sure others would agree.

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  339. Actually this isn’t a bad idea. I really don’t want to limit discussion if people want an open-ended place to discuss individual centers or redevelopment solutions, but for a variety of reasons I dont think adding forums is a great solution for us (it’s beyond my technical ability and it would eat up a lot of server space quickly, making it pretty expensive). I think Im going to create a page for just that, and it will be linked from the top-right navigation with the sitemap.

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  340. Sounds good. Also, I don’t know if it’s possble, but could you expand the “Recent Comments” to everything after the user’s last visit with cookies? I recall seeing that done on another blog, not sure if it was WP though.

    And yeah, a Redevelopment Discussion would be great, but please at least divide it into Regions, Mid-Atlantic, Mid-West, South, etc.

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  341. Maybe go a little farther by breaking it down into groups of greater metro areas, like this,

    1. BOS, NY, PHL, WAS/BAL.
    2. CHI, MKE, MSP,
    3. PACIFIC NW
    4. SF BAY AREA
    5. SO. CAL CITIES
    It maybe to many divisions, but you get the idea. I hope it works, if anyone else has an idea bring it up.

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  342. I think that the “redevelopment/offtopic” pages should have their own separate RSS feeds so I can get real comments on the Labelscar Comments Feed.

    Is it possible to move/delete comments?

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  343. This is responding a question many posts back, but yes Danbury’s fountain is finished. It was finished back before the holiday season. It sounds very similar to Freehold, down to the color phasing lights and globe flowing into the basin below. Danbury Fair is actually COMPLETED. Last weekend in celebration they hosted a weekend of events to kick off their “grand re-opening”. Circus/ acrobat type acts were held in the center court and the foodcourt seating was replaced as well as the opeing of the former stage seating area. Mall looks great, it just isnt the Danbury Fair I have grown up with. Mall also introduced new logo which features the removal of the word ‘mall’ and a new geometrical symbol which can be seen on some new stone planters as well as the ligting fixtures which hang below the skylights.

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  344. great, this board is sooo dead after everyone complained about the development updates.

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  345. I think I’m going to take Sean’s suggestion and create general pages to discuss centers/redevelopment of centers (or other relevant topics) in specific regions of the country. There’s clearly an interest in the conversation and I want to give it a home in a more relevant place, if I can. It doesn’t make sense to have it all on the Freehold page when it’s of a more general nature, but that doesn’t mean we have to get rid of it entirely… I just have to create a new place for you guys to use.

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  346. GREAT!!!!

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  347. Does anybody remember back in the 90′s ( I suppose when FRM was new) they used to advertise on WPST 97.5, with a jingle for Freehold Raceway Mall?. I suppose the advertisement was really only for Mercer County but I used to hear that advertisement in Southern NJ, having no idea about this place. Now, the mall has its own base, but its interesting to see read its history and how its a real power mall.

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  348. There were two that I remember:

    “Bet you’re gonna have fun..Freehold Raceway Mall”

    “The fast track to better shopping (Kentucky Derby trumpets) Freehold Raceway Mall.”

    Scary that I remember that!

    PS: Got a pic of the new fountain.

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  349. I don’t know if you’re thinking of the jingle i’m thinking of “I won’t stop drivin till I see that sign on 33 and Highway 9″ and then it ended with something like “I wont stop shoppin at the Freehold Raceway Mall”, in the form of a song. It was on the radio several years ago, idk if it still is.

    Btw, where can e see the pics of the fountain?

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  350. I really dislike this trend towards making malls more upscale. (Although at least Freehold Raceway Mall still has JCPenney and Sears.) It greatly strips malls of their variety and also makes middle and lower class shoppers feel unwelcome.

    Bridgewater Commons is the latest NJ mall to jump on this bandwagon. The mall has already blocked off its cool food court. In its place will arrive several expensive shops, along with a couple of sit-down dining options. Bridgewater Commons is also evicting some lower scale tenants (once their rents come up for renewal) and replacing them with “trendy” boutiques.

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  351. Max,

    You go were the money is.

    Reguarding the remark you made about making lower & middle income shoppers uncomfortable, isn’t that the point? The best example i can think of is Short Hills vs Newport Center.

    Your thaughts

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  352. Max,

    On Bridgewater Commons, the food court is not being eliminated. When done, it will mainly be located along the wing where the main entrance is and they are closing in one of the atrium overlooks to allow for more room. Where Wedy’s was is what will be changed into additional dining options. Let’s face it, for the type of mall Bridgewater Commons strives to be, they are heavily lacking sit down dining options.

    Most shopping centers feel that attracting upscale stores and shoppers is the best route to profit. The affluent populations are the ones that spend the money and if we have looked at economic history, the Nordstroms, Neiman Marcuses and such have always stayed successful, even in challenging economic times, If you look at the successful malls in the Northeast, they have all in their merchandising followed along in this belief.

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  353. Neiman marcus & Nordstrom are the only department stores that still have a good deal of room to grow in the US. You may still see growth with other chains, but not as agressively as those two.

    If you want to go one step further, chains like Macy*s & Sears will have reduce there store count to stay alive.

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  354. To follow up my earlier comments on Bridgewater Commons, architectural designs are now shown that exhibit what I said will become of the food corut area.

    On Freehold, has anyone learned what will occupy the far end of the lifestyle expansion? Noticed the other day that Coach is going to move into the former Disney Store location and that Lucky Brand Jeans is moving in by JCPenney. Timberland closed and Disney will be moving into the former CVS. Haven’t heard any other new store developments, but I hope that JCrew will be in the plans for Freehold.

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  355. Some more developments on store happenings…the following stores are coming to Freehold Raceway Mall sometime in the very, very near future: Teavana (lower center court), Aerie (opening where the current American Eagle is and American Eagle will move closer to Sears where Children’s Place used to be), Lucky Brand Jeans (lower level near JCPenney) and Crazy 8 (upstairs near Sears).

    Still no developments on the remaining spaces in the lifestyle center, but fingers are still crossed for JCrew and a Pottery Barn/Williams Sonoma return.

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  356. I went to freehold raceway mall today wow that mall has changed makes you wanna go back there I went to eat at cheescake factory which the meal suxed by the way nut wow the mall looks totally different a borders,pf changs,coldwater creek and some other sotres i was like wow I didn’t go into the mall buy my god the mall looks great now

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  357. Went to Danbury Fair yesturday, it looks remarkably like what Mallguy’s discription of Freehold Raceway sounds like, even down to the center court fountan with the globe & the Starbucks kiosk. Are there seating areas with beastro tables in the area where the old fountain use to be?

    The remoddle also looks somewhat like Queens Center after it was redone a few years ago.

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  358. I haven’t yet been to Danbury Fair, but I have seen the pictures and they are nearly identical to that of Freehold…the main difference is that the fountain is a little off center in Freehold and the Starbucks is closer to the elevator. Also, there are less trees in Freehold than in Danbury. I do miss the big fountain, but I like the new look.

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  359. Newport Centre Update: This is true~! The website still hasn’t been updated in months.

    Victoria’s Secret is staying just where it was.

    Hollister Co. is opening later next month downstairs occupying a former vacant spot, Gymboree, and Ashley Stewart.

    Pay/Half is having a store-closing sale. Guess what? Turns out the former Pay/Half building will be split into 2, being an Abercrombie & Fitch and RUEHL! Yay!!!!!

    Ghetto stores like 7FOX, Citi Casuals and Epic Design are closing. 7FOX is becoming a new AT&T. Epic Design is unknown. Citi Casuals is becoming an American Apparel.

    Downstairs Avenue is closed, becoming Armani Exchange in summer.

    The former Lane Bryant building downstairs will become Aerie.

    That’s all I know.

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  360. My plan for Newport: Add a Barnes & Noble outside. Also maybe a Pei Wei by PF Changs. On each side of JCPenney will be entrances to B&N and a new Gap superstore. This space will be located on JCPenney’s current lot. A new lot will be built near B&N. I think The Cheesecake Factory, A&F, Juicy Couture, Ruehl, and H&M are the best here.

    http://s293.photobucket.com/albums/mm53/JVilla1009/?action=view&current=NC1.jpg

    level 1 ^

    My favs on Level 2 are.. Urban Outfitters, G by Guess, XXI, PacSun, J. Crew, Super Foot Locker, and J. Jill.

    http://s293.photobucket.com/albums/mm53/JVilla1009/?action=view&current=NC2.jpg

    Hope You Enjoy! And Make a Newport page!

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  361. Joey,

    Not a bad lineup. I have a few questions for you.
    1. What about a new AMC theatre to replace the existing Cineplex?

    2. Is Sears nessessary? If not what to do with that space since the garage raps around it. Personally i think Sears should be terned into a new cinema & food court upstairs with barns & Noble below with a few smaller retailers, with restaurants on the existing third level called “The Atrium.”

    It is so ironic you posted this Joey, i was just there on Saturday looking at Newport’s configuration to see what could be done to bring it up to a Menlo Park level. If J c Penny has to go instead of Sears, then so be it.

    Any ideas?

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  362. 1. I was thinking of them demolishing and rebuilding the theater and convert it into AMC Newport 13. Make it like GSP’s AMC.

    2. I was thinking of getting rid of both JCPenney & Sears. Convert the JCP building into Nordstrom.

    Demolish the Sears building, and have a new expansion called The Lux at Newport Centre, a little Short Hills-type center. Anchored by a 100,000 square foot, 3 floor Neiman Marcus and Williams-Sonoma. Restaurants include Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Papa Razzi, and Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe. Smaller shops include Jimmy Choo, Prada, Anthropologie, Bose, Cartier, Bottega Veneta, Club Monaco, Banana Republic, Tourneau, Origins, Under Armour, Vera Bradley, True Religion, Caché and more. Like a mix of Short Hills & Natick.

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  363. I like your ideas, both of you.

    Joey, how do you know this? Im not doubting you but just wondering if there is any solid proof out there supporting what you said. If completely true, its great that Newport is finally being tapped for it’s potential.

    Newport Definatley needs some restaurants. Cheesecake Factory with a street level enterance would be ideal.

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  364. I’ll make a layout of the Lux soon.

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  365. Joey,

    Love it! Just for that reason I went around the Sears store to see what could be done, to my surprise the parking garage raps around Sears. I would assume that the garage also raps the other way towards J C Penny.

    Does your plan include a new parking structure, or are your plans just within the existing mall’s foot print.

    There is quite a bit of dead acreage where the parking structure stands, how are you going to fix that?

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  366. There will be a parging garage near NM, and a new one for Nordstrom. They will be tall and sorta like GSP.

    And yes, i’m doing a map on the interior, sry. I’m working on it now! It will b up soon!

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  367. Maps of The Lux!!!!!!!!

    Lower Level:

    http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm53/JVilla1009/NC21.jpg

    Upper Level:

    http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm53/JVilla1009/NC22.jpg

    overall mall views coming soon!

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  368. Overall:

    http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm53/JVilla1009/Overall.jpg

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  369. Nice work Joey!

    With the new parking structures on the ends of the mall you can now bump out the back OF THE building if you want to & add a new section of retail. This would require the displacement of the rest of the existing garage wich you want to do any way, the road between the garage & the mall & the loss of the bus stops for NJT & Coach USA, wich could be moved to Washington Boulevard near the Pavonia Newport PATH station where they belong.

    What i think could fit, are either junior anchors like Dicks Sporting Goods, Best Buy or a beastro row of restaurants. Although there are plenty of eateries a block or two away around the office & apartment towers by the water. With all that said there are plenty of oppertunities for future growth, we are well on our way to uncovering them.

    Thaughts?

    Keep it up Joey, you are on to something big.

    [Reply]

  370. Thanx, I think i’ll send this to SIMON, lol. We should work on Livingston Mall and Woodbridge after this.

    I’ll do some more work soon.

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  371. Livingston just added a Barns & Noble & a new food court. Unless you add a new theatre complex, i don’t know where you can go with that one. I think Menlo Park maybe a better option for you.

    As for Woodbridge Center, oh where to begin. That mall is so in need of a renovation & expantion.

    My wish list,

    1. anew food court
    2. a 20-screen theatre
    3. a beastro row
    4. a few big box retailers

    That is just for starters, the entire mall will need an extreme makeover from top to bottom. Time to call in Ty Pennington & ABC for this job. LOL
    What kind of ideas do you have Joey, I’m all ears.

    [Reply]

  372. True…Woodbridge needs A LOT of work. According to Wikipedia, they are supposed to get Olive Garden and Bahama Breeze, as well as a renovation, but I have seen nothing new in my last visit about a week ago. The only noticeable thing I’ve seen in the mall is the fountain by JCPenney is gone…the pool has been eliminated and raised to level and now there is the train and carousel.

    The only thing Menlo could use is a Bloomingdales and an exanded 2 level wing leading from Macy’s to around where Rainforest Cafe is today. Menlo (along with Freehold) is currently among the best malls in NJ.

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  373. Mallguy,

    Don’t forget about a new theatre complex to replace the AMC/Loews 12 in the back.

    [Reply]

  374. I know Menlo needs a 3rd anchor, but i was tkinking a AMC Woodbridge Center 16 and Bloomingdale’s for Woodbridge. Get rid of Fortunofff, they’re bankrupt, get a new wing with Bloomie’s, AMC, and 30 shops will be great. parking garage for AMC like GSP. Layouts & Woodbridge redevelopment coming soon!

    [Reply]

  375. Fortunoff may have gone bankrupt but they are not going anywhere anytime soon. They were sold to the same company that owns (and was responsible for turning around) Lord & Taylor, and in fact Fortunoff-branded housewares departments are going to be rolled out in L&T stores across the country. The Fortunoff brand is definitely not ready to be buried just yet.

    [Reply]

  376. Sean:

    Totally forgot about the movie theatre. Definitely needs an overhaul…it screams late 80s/early 90s.

    Joey:

    Bloomingdale’s works much better in Menlo Park due to the current store lineup and upscale trend the mall has been having in recent years (it is supposed to get Ruehl this fall). There is definitely room in the back, as well as to expand the parking garage. I also find it interesting (a good interesting) that Menlo is getting a Work Out World (large Central Jersey regional gym chain)…it will definitely allow the mall to have activity late on a weekday evening. I would even love to see the expansion wing include Neiman Marcus, however, they will have to tear down the small office tower on the property and relocate Fox and Hound for that to happen.

    Woodbridge has A LOT to work out (renovation, deal with the crime issue) before they can even think to bring in upscale stores.

    [Reply]

  377. First, We will restructure Woodbridge. We’ll get new glass ceilings upstairs, a bubble type-thing in center court. In center court those weird stairs leading to chairs will be replaced with a new spiral marble staircase similar to Livingston or Menlo. A New fountain in center court. Get rid of those nasty lights in between the lower and upper level, mostly on the lower level. These are similar to what Freehold and Newport used to have. EWW! new marble walls and colums along the mall, and improved lighting similar to GSP’s AMC/Borders wing lights. JCPenney will be fully renovated. Say goodbye to Fortunoff. The new wing will be very similar to GSP’s new one. A new borders book store, Bloomingdale’s, AMC, P.F. Chang’s, and Joe’s Crab Shack will be part of the new wing. New shops such as Quiksilver/Roxy, aerie, Martin + Osa, Guess, J. Jill, J. Crew, L’Occtaine, Rootz, Who A.U., The Art of Shaving, Twelve by Twelve, Tourneau, Lucky Brand Jeans, Zara, For Love 21, Dooney + Bourke, Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie, Ruehl, Gilly Hicks and more are in the new wing. Also, NJ’s biggest H&M is duplicated in a new, 2-floor, 24,000 square foot store. More L8er!

    [Reply]

  378. I know finally Menlo’s getting a Ruehl! There will be 4 in NJ by mid 2009.

    GSP, Freehold, Menlo, and Newports RUMORED store.

    [Reply]

  379. Woodbridge is not an upscale mall by any means. Bringing in top level stores may not atract those customers because those shoppers tend to be at Bridgewater Commons or Menlo Park for the most part.

    If any store should leave Woodbridge it’s J C Penny. It would be far more practical redeveloping that store into a 2 level entertainment wing with a 16-screen theatre, Borders Books & restaurants like Cosi, California Pizza Kichen & Rock Bottom Brewery. My consept is based on what was done at Stamford Town Center, wich is fantastic.
    Should the new theatre at Menlo Park remainin the same location or relocating it in a more desirable spot. With MP’s configuration this is a more challenging question than at first glance, i’m not sure on this one. If it was up to me i would build a new theatre in the same location with a few more screens & expand the garage at the same time with a newly configured drive.

    Mallguy you are right, Menlo is where Bloomingdale’s belongs. Is it a full line store like Willowbrook or fashon only like Bridgewater that you would want to be built there.

    Joey,

    I like your ideas, but in this case transfer them to MP from Woodbridge & see how that could work. I think you would be pleasantly surprised. Take out the office building, rework the ring road & reconfigure the parking structure & you would turn a great mall into one that would be unmatched in that area.

    Questions?

    [Reply]

  380. Sean:

    I would keep the movie theater in the same place, but I would also make it stadium seating and increase it by a few screens. I would also below the movie theater wish to add Dave and Busters…this would be the 1st NJ location and the Cetral Jersey location would save many from driving to Palisades or Philadelphia. In terms of Bloomindale’s, got to go full line as there are none in Central Jersey. Also parking must be exapanded…the rear deck should be extended to where Bloomindales would go and the front deck should be rebuilt to include additional levels…and here’s why: a lifestyle addition between Barnes and Noble/Cheesecake Factory and Parsonage Road (with a little underground parking to boot). They just fixed up the pavement and lighting over there…who knows, maybe there is something already planned that they’re keeping under the radar.

    To better configure the ring road, they may have to add a traffic light or two since getting out of the parking lot by BN/Cheesecake is an absolute bottleneck…and I think with the route 1 construction, NJ should have thought this one through better and built an overpass to replace the Parsonage Road light.

    The new Menlo would definitely give Freehold and Bridgewater (and if it ever gets done Quaker Bridge) a run for their money.

    BTW, Bridgewater is FINALLY fixing up their food court…maybe better dining options (one can hope).

    [Reply]

  381. I think we’ll do Menlo first! Then Woodbridge, then Bridgewater, then Livingston.

    [Reply]

  382. Mallguy,

    It is INCREDIBLE that you & i see the redevelopment potential of Menlo Park the same way. Would you move the Fox & hound restaurant to another out parcel or inside the mall. either way the office building is removed opening all that untapped acreage. One thing working in MP’s favor is Simon doesn’t have to rush this one, but they should get there ducks in a row. Once the credit market eases
    they’ll be ready to get started. In the mean time we can put forth the ideas that we believe that will bring the most shoppers & get them to stay longer THAN 90 MINUTES & SPEND MORE.
    Joey what are your thaughts on;
    1. Menlo Park
    2. Livingston
    3. Bridgewater Commons

    You have great ideas & insite, I would like to find out what you have to say. If it is anything like your Newport Centre plans we’re in for one hell of a presentation.

    [Reply]

  383. Sean,

    I would keep Fox and Hound attached to the mall and keep it in the same area but attach it to one of the mall entrances. Don’t want them too close to Champp’s or Cheesecake Factory even thought they have their loyal following (F&H has billiards, Champp’s has karaoke, TCF always has a crowd, and if they ever came to Menlo D&B’s would get “big kids”…also all the bars/restaurants would be spread out). Maybe add PF Chang’s or Maggiano’s to the Lifestyle Center, along with some of the other shops Joey had mentioned.

    With Bridgewater Commons, I think we could see at least 1 or 2 sit down more dining options with the food court renovation near the movie theatre. I would also like to see a new 3 level wing jutting out from center court toward 202/206 anchored by Nordstrom…and for crying out loud, bring back The Gap (even though it’s in Somerville Shopping Center). The Village at Bridgewater Commons should also be exanded and while there may not be enough room, the shops should be built around the current pond (which would have to be somewhat drained and made smaller).

    [Reply]

  384. Reposting my plan as it seems a lot more people are interested in this kind of thing.

    Original:

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/QuakerBridgeMall.png

    I called Penney’s December 28th, the manager (or one of them) said they have no plans of closing “anytime soon.”

    So hopefully I’ve got enough time

    Anyway, I realized I should do an interior layout too.

    Notable things:

    -Lifestyle component has outward-facing storefronts on the Lower level, as indicated by arrows.
    -Food Court moved to Upper Level, only removes Express and a smaller store.
    -Borders MAY feel like getting rid of their Nassau Park store, and the Express in the mall to build a bigger store in the New Lifestyle Component.
    -All Eateries move to Food Court, thus freeing up space for demolished retail, though they can of course move to new wing if they like.
    -Upper Level of Lifestyle area is inward-facing storefronts.
    -Old Navy moves to a 2-floor location to gain a new storefront, next to DnB.
    -All Red Arrows indicate Dual-level Entrances/Exits.
    -All L&T courts should contain some type of tall foliage.
    -Parking garages should be no more than 2 floors tall. Underground is preferred to maintain a clean upper lot and visibility. The Sears/Penneys garage can be full overground if desired.

    Oh, and this is not perfectly drawn to scale. Obviously it will look nicer if done professionally.

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/QuakerBridgeMallRedesign.png

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/QuakerBridgeMallV3UGP.png

    Check it out.

    “The Promenade at Quaker Bridge Mall” sounds nice I think.

    Purple is the underground parking lot.

    A “P” in Red and yellow indicates a link to the parking garage, whereas on the upper side of the mall, the purple is underground and the green is the link, covered with access to the nearest entrance/store indicated.

    The Arrows in Orange indicate uncovered parking links, similar to NYC Subway entrances.

    Oh and I placed a large fountain in the outdoor L&T court, and the Promenade is closed to traffic and the orange/yellow tghing south of the court is a large, lit, raised crosswalk for pedestrians.

    Also I don’t think I would have to speak to the Planning board for exactly this, rather the architect and Kravco Simon. The town’s already shown massive interest in the plan, I doubt they’d dislike mine.

    Any suggestions/critique?

    [Reply]

  385. AceJay,

    Sounds good, is there room for a new theatre complex? Perhaps about 10-screens in size that would either replace or complement U A’s MarketFair movies 8.

    Mallguy,

    Same question, AMC has the 7-screen theatre with no or little compitition in the Bridgewater area.

    [Reply]

  386. Well that’s another story.

    http://i26.tinypic.com/n32hp0.jpg

    Here’s an area map. The new AMC 24 built maybe 10 years ago is south, with a red arrow.

    Marketfair is up north with a Green arrow. And QBM is in the middle with a Blue arrow.

    The problem with getting rid of UA10 at Marketfair is that the proposed one in QBM would PROBABLY not be UA, it would be AMC. The problem with that is that AMC already has the 24-plex down Quakerbridge Road, highlighted in orange and black.

    Now of course it would be great if QBM had the AMC24. if the current AMC moves, it would hurt the local area and businesses, especially Taco Bell which gets so much traffic from pre/post moviegoers.

    However by moving the AMC to QBM, the people to the south would still be able to see movies at that one smaller theatre still in operation at the Independence Mall (Not a mall, maybe demalled?) which would of course, bring a lot less lower income people to QBM, in turn displaying the Upper class status that QBM wants to become.

    I would love to have the AMC at QBM, it’d be great.

    Now of course since this is a 7-anchor mall, one of the least popular ones may go out of business, though unlikely. IF Sears ends up closing for whatever reason Kmart Execs are thinking of, the theatre can go there.

    Honestly I think I’m being way too optimistic.

    HOWEVER, why not add a THIRD FLOOR onto the mall and tenant it with the theatre and the food court?

    Or something.

    There’s not a whole lot of ground floor space on that parcel.

    [Reply]

  387. AceJay,

    There is pressident for a build up like what you discribed at QBM. Aventura mall added a 3rd floor for an AMC 24-screen theatre with aditional restaurants. Besides AMC is a better run theatre company than regal is.

    Is MarketFair a stadium seating theatre? If not it’s days are numbered. resurch shows that theatres without stadium seating tend to be a drag on an exibitors bottom line. This has been true for over a decade. What will excelerate this trend is the fact that movie goers now demand aditional options at the theatre they attend, like adult only theatres away from the kids, bars & sit down restaurants, sometimes even special areas with bowling alleys & pool tables.

    Take a look at http://www.muvico.com to understand fully what trends are emerging.

    [Reply]

  388. Sean:

    On Bridgewater Commons, I wouldn’t mind seeing the theatre relocate to the Village and expand it to a 16 screen stadium seating theatre (you can reconfigure the parking to be deck parking) and make the old movie theatre either a Bloomingdales Home or move Borders across the street to that location. On the Village, I am not very impressed and would like to see it reworked somewhat. Freehold has done a much better job on the lifestyle center and The Grove at Shrewsbury is even better.

    Something like this was originally planned, but they kept it the way it is because Bloomingdales decided not to locate a home store at Bridgewater. Word is they are trying to attract Cheesecake Factory to the remerchandised dining area. The closest big movie theatre to Bridgewater is in Manville about 4-5 miles away.

    On Marketfair, the movie theatre was recently renovated to be stadium seating…about 4 years ago.

    [Reply]

  389. Menlo Park: Hmmm… Yup Bloomingdale’s and maybe even Saks Fifth Avenue would work. I think if we give Newport, and the upcoming QB Neiman Marcus’s, plus the two we have now, we’ll have too many in my opinion. We only have 2 Saks, and Bloomie’s should seriously expand. I’ll make maps of MP next week, i’m busy. A new wing with both Bloomie’s, a new AMC and Saks is coming. built along the current lots of Steve & Barry’s and Rainforest Cafe. New garages will be built for Bloomie’s and AMC like GSP did. 2 new restaurants! I don’t know what they should be. Gimme ideas. and over 45 new stores on 2 floors! Give me store & restaurant ideas.

    Livingston: Let’s see. We’ll update decor on the upper level, it sort of looks like a warehouse. Then we’ll add new store instead of ghetto and weird 1′s. They’re getting a Hollister. Give them at least A&F and A&F kids. Add Sephora, Armani Exchange, an expanded H&M with guys stuff, Club Monaco, Metropark, and more. Give me ideas. Yet again, a new wing. with Nordstrom as lead anchor, stores, and new reataurants, not a huge wing. also, add a DSW shoe warehouse outside, with an inside restaurants.

    Bridgewater: Ok, they don’t even have an Hollister yet! Give them a new Saks, expand the theatre, a new Borders bookstore, new restaurants, give mi ideas. They seriously need more Short Hills-type stores! or the one I made in the Newport expansion. That’s about it.

    Maybe we should do Moorestown Mall, or Monmouth, Paramus Park, or Willowbrook.

    [Reply]

  390. Livingston: For DSW, i meant inside entrances.

    [Reply]

  391. Yeah Marketfair is stadium.

    Mercer Mall’s theatres (afaik) were never stadium, same goes for the original AMC Twin in QBM.

    And man a Muvico would be freaking AWESOME.

    But how would that happen, do you think they’d seriously build a new theatre when AMC’s 24 is so close?

    [Reply]

  392. I work at the AMC 24 in Hamilton and from what i can gather…we have absolutely no plans on moving to the Quaker bridge Mall in the expansion. In fact…we are actually planning to undertake our first major construction in a while and may be converting two of our auditoriums (13 and 14?) into an Imax screen and might also expand the theater to make up for the lost auditorium space.

    Of course, this is very tentative, but needless to say…I believe the idea of a theater (at least one with AMC branding) at the Quakerbridge Mall is a total pipe dream.

    Let me get back to Freehold for a second. Wasn’t there also a second proposed expansion that was going to add Boscovs as an anchor to the mall? Whatever happened to that plan?

    [Reply]

  393. Muvico is coming to Xanadu, it rox from what I see!

    [Reply]

  394. Jason:

    A while back (around 2001) Freehold was considering adding a Sterns where the lifestyle center currently is. I think the only expansion we’ll be seeing that is upcoming is to the lifestyle center and they are also considering building a mall access road from Wemrock Road.

    Joey:

    Livingston Mall is currently under renovation and is too close to the Mall at Short Hills to attact the upscale stores. Plus there’s really not very much room to expand. Any further expansion of Livingston I wouldn’t be suprised to see in “lifestyle format.” And I think they are also getting A&F.

    [Reply]

  395. AceJay/Mallguy/Jason,

    As a rule when a film plays at your local theatre it is licensed exclusively to that location, AKA a “licencing zone.” A zone is about 3 to 5 miles in radius in most urban/suburban areas. Because the AMC 24 is so close to QBM, the likelyhood of a theatre opening there is very slim. With MarketFair’s theatres being stadium seating that changes the whole picture. Unless Regal closes MarketFair Movies QBM will not get a theatre at all.

    How ever you could build a new complex at Bridgewater Commons, because there is a demand & it is far enough away from Manville’s 12-plex.

    Joey,

    Here are some restaurants to consider, i’ll leave it up to you to choose wich ones go to wich mall.

    1. KONA GRILL
    2. STIR CRAZY CAFE
    3. PAPA RAZZI/ JOE’S AMERICAN BAR & GRILL
    4. CPK, yeah i know every mall has been getting one lately, I’m just throwing it out there
    5. CF & or GRAND LUX CAFE
    6. DAVE & BUSTERS this will make Mallguy very happy
    7. MITCHELL’S FISH MARKET
    8. BRAVO
    9. COSI
    10. STARBUCKS(just kidding on that last one.) LOL

    mix, match, add, delete & repeat.

    [Reply]

  396. WoW! MITCHELL’S FISH MARKET amazed me! That’s going to Menlo for sure! Also, I decided to make the old theater grounds, not the new one in the new wing, at Menlo, a DAVE & BUSTERS. It will work, believe me. Livingston will get Kona Grill and California Pizza Kitchen. Bridgewater will get Stir Crazy, Cheesecake Factory, and The Shannon Rose Bar & Grill http://www.theshannonrose.com/ The Clifton one is amazing!

    [Reply]

  397. Joey,

    What do you want to do with Rainforest Cafe? There finantials are just as bad as the food.

    I forgot to add another restaurant for your consideration,. DAILY GRILL. The food is good & worth adding to your list of options.

    [Reply]

  398. Keep Rainforest until it dies dwn. And for Bridgewater cancel Stir Crazy, Cheesecake Factory’s new Asain concept Rock Sugar will be better. http://www.rimag.com/web-exclusives/articles/rock-sugar.asp

    [Reply]

  399. Jason that’s pretty neat about IMAX.

    And yeah, I know I’m just dreaming, haha.

    It’s too bad they built the theatre there instead of keeping it in QBM. Oh well. Their loss :P

    [Reply]

  400. http://www.eastontowncenter.com

    Guys,

    Go to the link i posted above & see if that inspires some new restaurant, retail & design ideas for the malls we have been thinking about. Easton is unique in that it blends the best of malls, lifestyle centers & entertainment themed retail centers. There success has been unmatched, many retailers have there top performing stores either regionally or nationally at Easton.

    AMC has a contract to install the latest projection systems from Imax. These systems don’t require the 6-foot high screens, they can be retrofitted using a projector that is about the same size as tipical projection systems but with higher ressilution & more flexability. http://www.amctheatres.com has a press release on this under the investors page.

    [Reply]

  401. 12-07-07

    “Imax signs 100 theatre deal”

    [Reply]

  402. Oh my god, that is beautiful. If only every mall was like that :

    [Reply]

  403. Apparently, Freehold Raceway Mall’s (and Danbury Fair’s since they’re controlled by the same company and are both very, very similar) renovation has been so successful that other malls are attempting to copy what they’ve done. Take, for example, Livingston Mall.

    I happened to stop by the other day and they are coming along with their renovation. The new tile on the lower level is a similar color to that of Freehold’s and is also ‘stone style.’ Part of the renovation is also carpeting the entire second floor of Livingston Mall (which is kind of weird to see at first) and the carpet seems to be the same that is the soft seating areas at FRM. The mall has also been repainted in earth tones…same colors as Freehold. Center court still has to be completed and the lighting still isn’t fully done yet, but it’s all coming along more so than the last time I was there about a month ago.

    And another mall is copying Freehold in terms of adding a lifestyle center and that’s Paramus Park…we’ll see how that turns out.

    [Reply]

  404. What is with the copy cat remoddling of all of these malls, it’s like having every student in an american history class being the same in almost every way. LOL

    Mallguy,

    Did you check the link i posted on Easton Town Center? Go take a look & tell me what you think. This was only one of a few retail projects that truly impressed me from top to bottom.

    [Reply]

  405. I haven’t been in a while, but Rockaway Townsquare’s renovation will mirror both Livingston and Freehold…last I was there, the new tiles were down and they seemed to look exactly like the ones in Livingston.

    And Sean, I did see the Easton Town Center link and I must say it’s very, very impressive. It’s a shame that we don’t have anything like that in NJ. The closest thing that I can think of is Princeton Forrestal Village . It orginally started out as an open-air upscale center but could never get off the ground. It then changed to an outlet center and now it is remerchandising back to upscale. They did get two great restaurants (Salt Creek Grille and Ruth’s Chris) but there’s still a long way to go, especially with the upcoming Quakerbridge expansion, Palmer Square, Marketfair and new Montgomery lifestyle center.

    [Reply]

  406. I wonder if all of these malls are using the same design ferm, RTKL or Baltimore Design Group. What happend to the innovative & bold design features that made a good mall stand out.

    [Reply]

  407. Mallguy, what? PFV is not going upscale unlss you count the two restaurants.

    I’m dissappointed that the indoor part of the mall was converted to the fitness club, I literally hadn’t been there in 5 years, and when I go in to check it out, nothing’s left.

    Also, there’s a freaking convenience store in one spot.

    That’s not upscale.

    The only reason that place is surviving is because tons of employees from the surrounding office parks go there for lunch, and the Westin of course.

    It’s too bad, I have great memories of that place.

    Anyone got pictures of the mall originally and then right up until it closed?

    Also Ben and Jerry’s left, which SUCKS because that was the only B&J in the area.

    Where do you live Mallguy? I’d guess Princeton/Trenton area.

    As for Montgomery Promenade, that place is going to be strange.

    I just can’t picture a lifestyle center in that location.

    Especially with the Airport too haha.

    The next 5 years are going to be interesting.

    [Reply]

  408. They should renovate the mall section of PFV. It looks cramped and a bit outdated. They should also add a movie theater somewhere there, maybe southeast of the parking garage.

    [Reply]

  409. Oh and the montgomery promenade is probably the worst design. It’s in a bad, unattractive location in the middle of nowhere and its hidden behind a row of houses.. and an airport.. I think its the next dead mall, i cant possibly imagine it doing well…

    [Reply]

  410. I stand corrected, AceJay…it has been a while since I’ve been there. Although I do remember it when it was upscale in the beginning. It’s a shame this place never really got off the ground. It’s really pushed back from Route 1 and with the newer overpass, it can definitely be missed.

    Instead of making it into a really bad factory outlet mall, they should have made it into an entertainment and district with a group of restaurants and lounges and a movie theatre. The mall area is still very nice and it was very sad the last time I walked though it as it’s a shell of its former self. I guess the website is overstating their upscale turn.

    And with The Bent Spoon and Thomas Sweets in the Nassau Street area, Ben and Jerry’s won’t be missed.

    [Reply]

  411. I haven’t been back there in a long time, has that area been over retailed? If so-sounds like Nanuet Mall on this site. The difference being that NM is on Route 59 a main road with big boxes along it & PFV is mixed with housing around it. This prevents PFV from achieving it’s full realization as a retail draw, instead as a half baked outlet center.

    [Reply]

  412. Princeton Forrestal Village didnt include houses in its original plan. Sometime in the 90′s, senior condos opened across the street and a retirement community was built surrounding it. Also, another office complex was built just south of it, off of the mall road. And also around the corner are these nice luxury apartments.

    [Reply]

  413. If we can say anything about the Trenton-New Brunswick corridor of Route 1 is that it’s “over-officed.” I remember a time when all you saw on this highway was the Sears in New Brunswick, JnJ, the Princeton Hyatt/SMALL Carnegie Center and Quakerbridge Mall. In about 20 years this area has seen tremendous growth not only with large corporate campuses, but also on the retail side and on the traffic side (thats why 8 traffic light intersections have been changed into overpasses during that time).

    If Princeton Forrestal Village came about 10 years later in its orginial upscale form, I think it would have had a better chance at surviving as with towns like West Windsor, Plainsboro, Hopewell Jct and Montgomery, the area is better able to support upscale shopping. That’s why QB is getting the expansion and Freehold Raceway Mall completed its expansion.

    [Reply]

  414. Outlet? You need to take a visit there now. The old Market Court aka the indoor mall has been gutted and turned into the Can Do Fitness Club, KEEPING THE ORIGINAL RAILING:

    http://www.princetonforrestalvillage.com/images/cando-3.jpg

    “Where, in the Princeton Forrestal Center, is the club located?
    The official club address is 121 Main Street, Princeton Forrestal Center, Princeton, NJ 08540. It
    is the building that used to house the old food court (with the cupola) just opposite Tre Piani.”

    Current Stores:

    BLC
    Calico Corners
    Luxe Home Company
    Monday Morning Flowers and Balloons
    Silver Shop
    Exquisite Bride
    Edible Arrangements

    Businesses:
    http://www.princetonforrestalvillage.com/professional_services.asp

    And the new Food court is here:

    http://i27.tinypic.com/svhxyt.png

    So basically it’s just a big Office park, a hotel, and a food court to the surrounding office parks.

    Honestly I’d say it’s a great place if you’re emplyed around there. Walk to the food court for lunch, go to the fitness club after, pick up some milk and eggs at the One-Stop, and walk home after a drink at Tre Bar.

    But yeah, anyone got any old photos?

    BTW mallguy…The Bent Spoon? You MUST be a Princeton guy, haha.

    Speaking of, Princeton Shopping Center is looking awesome. Now if they could just move or get rid of the Amoco =/

    [Reply]

  415. The last time i traveled to QBM I remember the NJT bus traveling through one of the enormous office campuses, it was the only way to get from PJ station. Did they build more of them since 2000? With the corporate jobs in the area you could turn QBM into a more upscale center, as AceJay has suggested.

    [Reply]

  416. It’s not just the corporate jobs in the area, Sean, it’s some of the towns too that could help make QBM more upscale. They have really come along in the past 10 years and continue to develop and attract affluent populations. And yes, they have built more office complexes….Carnegie Center has gotten bigger since 2000 and also since they finished the Meadow Road overpass on route 1. They’ve also expanded the Nassau Park shopping center, diagonally across Route 1 from Quaker Bridge Mall.

    And AceJay, I’m not a Princeton guy…just like Bent Spoon…lol.

    [Reply]

  417. Thanks Mallguy for the info.

    Now let me ask the $64,000,000 question, what the hell is taking so long. The reconstruction of the I87-I287 interchange in Tarrytown didn’t take this long. LOL

    I hope that AceJay’s plan gets some consideration.

    [Reply]

  418. Brunswick Square is finally getting a Hollister

    [Reply]

  419. ^Interesting.

    Also an update on QBM:

    Phase 1: Demolish existing Pennys and build the new store near Sears
    Phase 2: Road improvements (THANK YOU) on Grover’s Mill Road, etc.
    Phase 3: Anchors and rest of expansion “Still conceptual” (yay!) says Epstien, Lawrence Associates attorney.

    THIS MEANS I STILL HAVE TIME! YES!

    “John Albright Senior VP of Development says there may be an expansion for Macy’s.”

    “When Councilwoman Pam Mount (former Mayor of Lawrenceville) asked about the prospective tenants, Mr Albright declined to release any names.”

    Which means they’re serious and are planning something involving the Marketfair stores, or they’re not sure at all.

    “…Open Parking Garage”
    “…JC Penney will be a “green” store”

    ^Interesting.

    Also it’s too bad I didn’t know about this meeting or I’d have come up with some concept drawings and pro site plans and actually presented it.

    Either way I still have a long time especially if they’re saying the expansion is still conceptual.

    I REALLY want to do this.

    Again, I’d like to ask you all if you know people who can get quality site plans done for me free or at a discount.

    I want QBM to be the best mall in the East. EVEN BETTER than Natick Collection.

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  420. I just came back from Freehold, the mall looks fantastic! Exactly like Danbury Fair, down to the hanging clusters of lights & the center court Starbucks. The lifestyle center wing I think could support a few more restaurants & as said numerus times already a new AMC theatre. The land is there, it’s just a matter of time.

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  421. The Freehold website says Lucky Brand Jeans is coming downstairs, next to Guess.

    http://www.freeholdracewaymall.com/map.asp?id=251&s=g108

    The Armani Exchange website is looking for employees at an upcoming Freehold store. Where could this location be?

    http://www.armaniexchange.com/storelocatorresults.do?method=view

    [Reply]

  422. Also getting Teavana and aerie! Lucky Brand Jeans will be going near JCPenney and the coming soon sign is prominently displayed. I did not hear about A/X, but that’s a good thing. Now all we need is JCrew!

    [Reply]

  423. Ya Teavana has been long planned. I heard aerie is taking up the old CVS. Am I true? They should open Gilly Hicks where Domain is.

    [Reply]

  424. aerie is actually going where the current American Eagle Outfitters is located and American Eagle Outfitters will be moving upstairs in a very large space between Sears and Borders. Teavana is going to be in center court where the old Haggen Daz used to be. I’m very surprised the lifestyle center isn’t fully occupied. There are still two vacant spots between center court and JCPenney. The new Coach is open and I thought Disney was supposed to go where the old CVS was, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where the new A/X will be.

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  425. That is going to be one hell of a A E location, it must be 3 store spaces long. Sort of the H & M type, where stores move to creat these massive spaces fore a single retailer.

    If Freehold has one thing going for it it is the fact that the number of empty stores is very small under 5%.

    This maybe crazy but i think after seeing the new lifestyle center it should be enlarged with JC Penny moving to a new store someplace else at the mall with new retailers in the current Penny’s location.

    Ideas?

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  426. I was thinking of demolishing the JCPenney, and making a whole new wing from the food court. With over 100,000 square feet of stores. With anchors JCPenney and Bloomingdale’s! Also, it will be accessable from downstairs, near Old Navy. With the lifestyle wing, definatly add new space. But they need new stores in the 3 blank spots. Add C.O. Bigelow, next to Coldwater Creek. And Anthropoligie next to CO Bigelow. The vacant spot next to PF Changs should be Carino’s Italian Grill. The extended outdoor wing should have stores like American Apparel, Martin + Osa (even though it’s odd), Chanel, Betsey Johnson, Origins, Soma by Chico’s, a NEW Pottery Barn, PB Teen, and PB Kids! In one building! Also, a new Williams-Sonoma, a new Ann Taylor Loft, SPACE.NK.apothecary, Polo Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren Kids, and more. gimme ideas. i’ll make a presentation.

    [Reply]

  427. Interesting, but what I think would be more viable would be to expand the lifestyle section further into the parking lot, kind of like what has been done at Streets at Southpoint. Make a promenade large enough that it connects with Dick’s Sporting Goods. The same stores you mentioned can work in this area. If there is the need for it, rebuild the movie theatre as an AMC Stadium Seating theatre and put it on the lifestyle center. While there is room in the back, it’s not as viable, especially since there are already two anchors back there and the lots there get crowded enough. To compensate for the lost parking, decks can be built between Sears/Macy’s and Lord and Taylor/JCPenney.

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  428. Mallguy,

    Your configuration works out perfectly & joey, your store choices also can work. It is esential that that parking decks are added to replace any lossed spaces.

    The new theatre should be built beyond the turn where the valet is located , around where the out parsel building is, just a few yards from Cheesecake Factory.

    I might need some help with this.

    [Reply]

  429. who keeps updating the bridgewater commons wikipedia page with false information?

    [Reply]

  430. Interesting news on Freehold Raceway Mall’s Wikipedia page…apparently, some of the vacant stores at the lifestyle center have been leased and they will be Urban Outfitters, Bath and Body Works (moving outside) and Chevy’s…I could be wrong, but there are still two small spaces available that could be cafe size and are next to the Center Court entrance.

    Also according to the Bergen Record it was reported that Shrimp Market, which is opening in both Bridgewater Commons’s new food court and Willowbrook this year will also be opening in the Freehold Raceway Mall food court.

    [Reply]

  431. That’s Interesting! ^

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  432. I don’t know if it is just me, but i have problems believing the info on Wikipedia at times.

    Macerich must be doing something right, dispite all of the economic news as of late they still atract good retailers to all there high profile malls like Freehold Raceway.

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  433. Hey, I got news on Woodbridge:

    Upstairs, where Bombay used to be, a new Canadian women’s apparel store called Garage is coming.

    http://www.garage.ca

    Charlotte Russe has moved downstairs! I wonder what the old space will be upstairs.

    579 also moved, in the old Denim Valult by Center Court

    [Reply]

  434. Joey,

    Garage has been open at Palisades for a few months. I had no idea that they were Canadian, EH?

    [Reply]

  435. Holy crap guys check this out:

    http://madisonmarquette.com/files/mf_brochure.pdf

    Amazing.

    I didn’t think they’d do it. But this will be awesome.

    [Reply]

  436. AceJay,

    Whats going on there, I tried to read it but my screen reader won’t let me.

    [Reply]

  437. Redevelopment for MarketFair, try downloading it.

    [Reply]

  438. Very impressive! Looks like they are trying to protect themselves against a soon to be a renovated Quakerbridge Mall and a just renovated and still evolving Freehold Raceway Mall.

    [Reply]

  439. News on Newport!

    The Hollister opens mid-July! I peeked inside the barracade, the whole front is done! It look amazing!

    Next to HCO, where the old Victoria’s Secret Beauty was, is going to be Bluemercury. They have one at the Village @ Bridgewater Commons.

    The new Whitehall Jewelers opened, and the old Whitehall is going to be Godiva!!!!!!!!!

    That’s all I know.

    [Reply]

  440. According to the Trenton Times, the repositioning of Freehold Raceway Mall’s competitors, Quaker Bridge Mall, will begin this summer. Freehold raised the stakes and now it looks as if Quakerbridge (and as AceJay pointed out) and Maketfair will answer.

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  441. ^Woah, that says they’re going to have a REAL Food Court.

    Also June 2 vote, should I bring my plans to that vote?

    “two new skylights will be installed in the corridor connecting JCPenney and the mall”

    I wonder what this could mean… Is JCP just going to be tacked on to the side with no new wing? =/

    [Reply]

  442. AceJay,

    Enter stage left, time to make your debut

    [Reply]

  443. Big news from FRM…J.Crew (2nd Monmouth Co location) will be opening this fall in the spot formerly held by The Disney Store! Very glad they will be joining…this is what I’ve been waiting for!

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  444. wow! That’s good! But that spot is coach!

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  445. JCrew is going to be right next door to Coach. I think there were two or three vacant stores next to each other (including Disney) that had their spaces reconfigured for Coach and JCrew.

    And on the subject of Cheesecake Factory, it seems we will be getting another one in Central Jersey sometime in the future…this one in Bridgewater Commons .

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  446. Thats cool, it makes at least 2 new planned Cheesecake Factories in New Jersey.
    1) Bridgewater Commons
    2) Meadowlands Xanadu

    I could also see Cheesecake Factory in:
    1) QuakerBridge Mall
    2) Somewhere in Atlantic City
    3) Newport Centre Mall
    4) Deptford Mall

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  447. Hay Alex,

    Didn’t we talk about Cheesecake going into Newport several months ago?

    As for A C hell no! Thats the worst place to put CHEESECAKE FACTORY. Putting one on “THE STRIP” may work in Las Vegas, but the market is different here. A C atendence has been dropping do to Philadelphia park, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway & Connecticut casinos.

    As for the other locations, yes they could work.

    [Reply]

  448. Attendance has not been dropping, its actually going up. And 35 Million people per year is not shabby at all.Its the casino revenue that is dropping, and it might be becuase of the racetracks and such, but that is short term. AC is going for a more upscale crowd and couldnt care less about the people who are abandoning it for Yonkers and PA. Those places are like arcades compared to Atlantic City. There are over 5 billion dollars being invested into AC right now, so I would say The Cheesecake Factory would do extremely well there. (ps, try getting into PF changs in AC on a weekend night..you’ll end up waiting for at least 3.5 hours, sometimes up to 4.5.)

    [Reply]

  449. Alex,

    You maybe on to something. The problem is A C has to shake the dive immage that has been hanging overhead for so long. The best thing that is happening is that smoking will be BAND on ALL casino floors in I believe October, I’m so thrilled!

    The other thing that the city must do is rehab the old slum buildings & turn them into afordable housing units.

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  450. Today it was published that casino revenues in May actually jumped 1.6 percent, so it looks as if maybe the loosing streak may be over.

    Sean, it is true what you say about the slum buildings, and yes they should either be rehabed or just plain torn down.

    Still, I think AC might be one of the future’s hottest retail meccas.

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  451. And if the other hotel/casinos build themed retail in their expansions, AC will definitely have the potential of being a retail mecca…A New Orelans/Borbon street/square themed shopping for Showboat, an Asian theme in the Trump Taj Mahal, a tropical theme in the new Margaritaville casino (the soon to be former Trump Marina) and a NYC themed shopping area in the Hilton expansion. Pier at Caesars showed the high-end can make it in AC and The Walk proved that dinining and entertainment can make here as well.

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  452. Alex,

    I don’t mean to come up snake eyes, LOL but the real fly in the ointment is the fact that most AC travelers come from 2 to 4 hours away. With the price at the pump people may end up staying closer to home, unless they take the bus wich may end up costing them next to nothing. With the econemy right now going gambling maybe the worst finantial disision you could make.

    ps This is coming from someone who enjoys a day at the AC casinos now & then.

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  453. I forgot about the impact about the casinos in CT. if CF wants to open in a casino they should open in Foxwoods. They opened a new hotel in conjunction withMGM Grand. I’m sure they would welcome Cheesecake Factory with open arms.

    FOX! WOODS! LOL

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  454. While Foxwoods might work, they still dont get 35 million people per year. I think somwhere in a new resort or shopping area in AC would do much better.

    Also, AC is really targeting recession-proof customers ($800 per night hotel rooms…), and thats whats going to set it apart from anyother slot parlor that pops up.

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  455. If that be the case Alex, then AC casinos better redeploy there marketing teams for that type of customer. As i type this only Borgada & the new MGM cater to that base. The boardwalk hasn’t caught up yet, and it shows. Although you wouldn’t know it from the higher & higher minimums as of late. $15-$25 at blackjack & craps, or $3 slots in nickels per spin.

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  456. Yes, it is a work in progress. Caesars is higher end, and don’t forget about Revel on the north end of the boardwalk (opening 2010.)

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  457. News on Newport!!!!

    Armani Exchange has asn orange slip on the board thing that says construction has holted til further notice. And CVS is getting a makeover. The Woodbridge one closed already.

    Macy*s has a great sale. I got a Puma t for $5. lol.

    I asked a Guest Services person, and they said its possible that A&F and Ruehl are coming

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  458. Newport should close McDonalds, and those blank huge spaces behind Sephora & Bath and Body Works. With that make a CF with a sidewalk entrance.

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  459. Thats not a bad idea Joey, for Newport’s redevelopment plan. How much space are we talking about, most CF locations are around 10,000 square feet or more.

    I still want a new cinema & more sitdown dining options. the way it is now is really pathetic. You have much better food options on the streets throughout Newport than in the mall itself. Weall know just how bad that AMC location is, I hope they invest money in a state of the art theatre like the one at GSP.

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  460. I know, but here what they have to do to attract upscale shoppers & movie goers.

    Make The Lux that I created, or similar with Neiman Marcus or Bloomingdale’s.

    Turn JCPenney into Nordstrom.

    Add all the Lux stores

    Expand Level 3 with a new thEATery like in Walden Galleria & Palisades Center. Add a whole new food court, a Pei Wei, Joe’s American, Panera Bread, and Mitchell’s Fish Market.

    And a whole new 14 screen AMC Theatres mimicing GSP’s complete with large theatres, huge murals, statium seating, and more!

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  461. Joey,

    What about removing Sears instead, if it’s Penney’s that goes I’m OK with that. As I said a wile ago the 3rd floor should be a theatre plus restaurants with a new food court built someplace else.

    The one thing I overlooked was the garage goes around both Sears & J C Penny. To do what I want in my remoddle the parking structure needs to be replaced by building 2 structures on the sides of the mall nearest the S & J & the remaining section becomes a new lifestyle wing with Boarders, restaurants & Best Buy.

    Joey, I’m going to need your help on this.

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  462. The Sears wing is going to become The Lux. Sears is over 190,000 sq feet.

    If NM is 100,000 sq. feet, we can add parking , and add over 120,000 sf of retail.

    Nordstrom has a disconnected lot, so does NM.

    The reststarants are in the thEATery, save for TCF on the sidewalk.

    Borders will come outside, near the new Nordstrom lot, which is smaller, but taller. B&N was my idea, but Hoboken has 1 like 10 mins. away. Also, next to Nordstrom downstairs, will be a big Gap with all the lines. The old babyGap will become Puma, Gap Men will be Metropark, and Gap Women will be j.jill.

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  463. Sounds good, although I just read yesterday Gap is shrinking store footprints & combining different consepts into a single store. It just depends on how large that Gap will be. LOL

    I must have restaurants in my development plan other than CF, something that the general area doesn’t already have, such as Kona Grill & Mitchell’s fish market. Joey, You braught up Pay way, what is that. What kind of food do they serve, sounds like they’re from PF Changs. Do you have the web adress.

    What other ideas do you have Joey, so far things look pritty good.

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  464. As I said b4, Mitchell’s Fish Market is coming in the thEATery. Maybe we can also add The Melting Pot and Jack Astor’s Bar & Grill, both in Walden Galleria to the thEATery. http://www.jackastors.com/EN/

    Pei Wei is a subsidary of PF Chang’s. Enough of PF’s for now, and more Pei Wei. http://www.peiwei.com/

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  465. I have ideas for Livingston Mall!

    I’m not going to make it super-upscale, but I am going to make the mall better.

    Move Modell’s outside, and make it’s inside space Carol’s Daugter, Zara, Urban Outfitters, and aerie.

    Get rid of Old Navy, and make that space Ruehl, Gilly Hicks, Heritage 1981, and Franklin Covey.

    Some other new tenants upstairs include….. Chico’s/Soma, Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie, Puma, A|X Armani Exchange, Vans, Levi’s, The Body Shop, J. Jill, and bebe.

    Downstairs new tenants are…. Forever 21, Coach, ESPIRIT, American Apparel, Sephora, Brookstone, Swarovski, and bebe sport.

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  466. I went to the melting pot & the food is over priced, over rated & if you have plans to catch a movie forget about it. Plan for a 3 hour tour at at least $50 per person. The real flaw with TMP is after you go there you ask yourself OK, NOW WHAT?

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  467. I know my mall sucks but does anyone have ideas for Brunswick Square in East Brunswick? lol

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  468. Brunswick Square should build a new Mega Movies outside the mall, and make a Lord & Taylor wing where the current MM is and beyond. They should also add a second level, including the new wing.

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  469. Joey,

    Maybe it’s me, I don’t know why Brunswick Square needs to exist at all. You are just a few minutes from 2 other centers that are so much better, although Woodbridge needs an extreme makeover ASAP. Menlo Park is a great mall that could be expanded with another department store wing, an AMC theatre complex replacing the existing Loews & a few more restaurants. Most inportently the expantion of the parking structure & reconfiguration of the surface parking lots & roadway system are nessessary reguardless if MP is expanded or not.

    Now I realize there are a lot of people residing in East Brunswick, but unless BSM is raticly altered it won’t survive as an enclosed mall. There are 2 forces working against it. First the economic down turn & second compitission as already noted from MP & WCM.

    We have a similar situation with Jefferson Valley Mall 45 minutes away from me, it’s existance maybe in question because Danbury Fair is only 20 minutes away with better stores & lower sales taxes. I don’t know how these smaller Properties will be viable in the longer term, unless they go the mix use route.

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  470. I have the perfect idea for the Woodbridge Center renovation.

    1. new, bold logo
    2. new lighting, including some track lighting. Most importantly, get rid of the little lights all over the place downstairs looking upwards.
    3. NEW CENTER COURT! Get rid of the weird stair/seating area upstairs. get rid of the fountains and weird angles downstairs. Redo both floors courts with stone and tile floors. Have lounges downstairs with Plasma TV’s and soft seating. Have a new glass elevator in the middle replacing the weird stair/seating area. This will make WC’s center like a true center court. Also, a new glass, crystalized dome on the very top of CC.
    4. New tiles and stone all over the mall.
    5. new paint jobs in amber and gray
    6. New glass handrails replacing those ugly green gate things. Also get rid of those things in front of GNC and foot locker. The green “gates” i mean.
    7. Ramps
    and 8. New art and sculptures.

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  471. I live in East brunswick and I highly doubt Brunswick Square will be closing. With gas prices the way they are now, most people are not willing to drive all the way to Menlo, Woodbridge or Freehold. The mall is Simon owned which is a big company. Many people do visit the mall in the area. It suits what most people need in the area and has had better store come in and yet to come in.

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  472. A lot of activity here…I’ll put my two cents in.

    Newort Centre: Happened to be in Hoboken today so on the way over, I had to check out Newport…what has been done with that neighborhood is absolutely AMAZING (haven’t been over there in a while). The mall renovation did brighten up the place more and now with that neighborhood, the PATH access and the Hudson-Bergen Lightrail access, I do believe there is the potential to go upscale. As had been mentioned by Joey, street level dining needs to be included in any long term plans…this neighborhood was old factories a few years ago and is now quite walkable. Kind of reminds me a little bit of Providence Place. That traffic level is astronomical and commuters will definitely stop here for some after work shopping and dining.

    Livingston Mall: With the addition of Barnes and Noble and a fresh look, Livingston Mall has become a little more of a destination, but not an alternative to the Mall at Short Hills. They may attract some upscale store, but the majority will still go to Short Hills. The majority of the stores Joey mentioned are already at Short Hills or are about to go into Short Hills.

    Brunswick Square: I disagree, Sean. Brunswick Square will continue to exist and despite its size it does quite well. Overall, the mall has a teenage problem due to the lack of a downtown in EB, but the mall is a good place for those local in Sayreville, South River, NoB, SB, OB and Monroe. Actually, Simon proposed an expansion for Brunswick Square back in the late 80s to consist of a new design and additional floor. Unfortunately, EB fought it and won because they did not want the extra traffic and were not willing to rehabilitate Route 18 in that area. Simon will throw additional funds to Brunswick Square very soon due to the fact of the opening of Summerhill Square, a lifestyle center one mile north on Route 18. Joey, your idea sounds good, but believe it or not, there is more room in the front, as opposed to in the back. Therefore, put the food court on that side, further expand MegaMovies, add more dining and deck the whole rear parking area as there is not very much room back there.

    Woodbridge Center: Something definitely needs to be done! I would agree with lighting changes, replace the “gates” with glass, but also skylight changes becuase it’s a pretty dark place…and the lights above the skylights, which look like construction lights need to change. Flooring also needs to be brightened up and they should have given 2nd floor access to Dick’s.

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  473. I had know idea that passions ran so high on Brunswick Square, I stand corrected. As the old saying goes “you cant see the mall through the retailers.”

    Joey,

    Your Woodbridge Center Plans are really intrigueing, down to the center court elevator adition. That mall needs a new food court, restaurant wing & a new 16-screen theatre in adission to everything you posted above. there’s enough dead acreage at this mall to build a 2 level wing about 500,000 to 750,000 square feet if parking structures were built on the other lots. I know that sounds crazy but I have drivin around the entire property & the potential is there.

    As for Livingston Mall, there is an upscale market for it if Lord & Taylor trends that way. However as Mallguy already braught up the lions share of the upscale market goes to Short Hills, as it has for years.

    On the Newport front the more I go there the more interesting it becomes, pay atention to the different moving parts, such as mass transit, highrise commercial/ retail/ residential buildings, street activity day & night & how that is intigrated into a mixed use neighborhood streching into Hoboken & beyond.

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  474. Livingston Mall needs to expand to an extent far greater than just adding a Barnes & Noble. (The mall’s parking lot is so big that there is certainly more than enough room to expand.) I believe that the addition of either JCPenney (which really does not have any locations nearby) or Boscov’s (which has zero locations in Northern New Jersey) is exactly what the mall needs in order to better appeal to its core market of working and middle class shoppers.

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  475. I would agree that JCPenney could work at Livingston Mall…the closest ones are in Wayne Town Center, Rockaway Townsquare and Newport Centre. Without demolishing any current anchors, the only other area an additional wing could be built would come off from the upper level mall entrances (better the Sears wing than the Macy’s wing. They really can’t build too much on the Eisnhower Parkway side because of the high tension wires that run right through the lot.

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  476. Here’s an idea for Livingston mall, add a wing like the one at GSP with restaurants & cinema. Just make the extention a little smaller . The nearest theatre is AMC Mountainside on route 22 several miles away, a 12-screen should do the job.

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  477. I know there was once plans to add a second floor, but did they plan to add a parking deck like Menlo? They are supposed to build an outdoor section between Ruby Tuesday and JCpenney though that space seems small. I hope they do build a second floor someday but I doubt. Yet, you never know, and it would be a pretty big mall if another floor was added.

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  478. ^^
    I’m talking about Brunswick Square. Sorry I forgot mention it.

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  479. Woodbridge: I think that JCPenney should be moved in a new wing replacing it’s old space. Bloomingdale’s should be added there. It will do good, believe me. It will be similar to Willowbrook’s. They should also transform the Fortunoff into a wing with AMC 14-screen theatre with new stores, a food court, and restaurants. Also, cut out all ceilings in the mall build large dome like, brighter ceilings with large windows on the top and the sides. Also, add new hang lights, similar to GSP’s AMC wing lights.

    Livingston: Cut out the current Steve & Barrys, and build a new Boscov’s/AMC Theatres wing. There is already a entrance downstairs where the wing will be. Also, build a new Steve & Barry’s.

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  480. I could also see a large movie theater at Livingston Mall, however additonal dining options must also be added…Applebee’s alone doesn’t cut it. Without the dining options the theatre idea won’t work especially if they want to attract customers away from the Headquarters Plaza Theatre in Morristown and the AMC 12 in East Hanover.

    Joey-Bloomingdales will work much better at Menlo Park than at Woodbridge. Neiman Marcus would also work well at Menlo Park. Would we move Fortunoff to another area of the mall?

    I would defnitely support a second level at Brunswick Square. Again, build a food court in the rear of the mall attaching to an expanded MegaMovies and add a new wing coming out of center court and facing route 18 anchored by a Lord and Taylor. The entire rear parking area will be decked. Also, add more dining options. To fix the road situation, transform the Rues Lane intersection with Route 18 into an overpass, add two traffic lights on Rues Lane while dividing the road and transform the main Route 18 entrance into an overpass that can also connect with the Red Lobster, Denny’s, IHOP, hotel and office park across the highway. Both Macy’s and JCPenney also need to be fixed up and modernized. Along with Livingston’s Macy’s the Brunswick Square Macy’s is the only one not to be significantly renovated.

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  481. Mallguy,

    At Woodbridge, it would make more sence to put an extention where JC Penny is located. Now if you want to… try this , take out the retail space between Penny’s & fortunoff then add a wingwith more restaurants, new retailers, perhaps a 2 level borders & an AMC all digital theatre with 14-18-screens. This could make WC over 2 million square feet in GLA.

    I’m trying to picture where neiman Marcus would go at Menlo Park, I remember what you rote reguarding extending the mall out from the hallway where Rainforest Cafe is located & taking out the office building that’s in the middle of the lot. Now how large would this 2 story wing be. Would you just add Bloomingdales or Neiman Marcus as well. I could see it done either way, but most if not all of the parking would need to be in new structures or extend the existing ones out & around to accomidate the lost surface spaces. as for me a new theatre complex is a priority, that could go into the new wing as well depending on configuration.

    You are so right about applebee’s at Livingston Mall. A mall like that could do so much better there are many new restaurant concepts out there just ripe to be tried out. I guess having Short hills so close by makes it more challenging, however that is no excuse for throghing in the placemat & not trying something innovative to atract your customer base.

    I just had a brainstorm of an idea for Brunswick Square, the mall is 2.4 miles south of the transportation center. What if the mall had it’s roof removed & something like Americana at Brand was built around the property, with housing on top of the retail stores, along with green spaces & outdoor dining options. If this could be done it could really change the whole dynamic of the area.

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  482. Sean,

    The plan you discussed is actually going to happen at the Transportation Center. Sams Club will be leaving within 1-2 years (and moving to Edison). Trust me, Brunswick Square will be successful if it is ever expanded. Route 1 traffic levels to Menlo/Woodbridge are astronomical, especially with the current construction going on and Route 9 to Freehold Raceway Mall is progressively getting more congested every year. Those local to EB will go here to avoid the traffic, especially in this time of high gas prices.

    On Menlo, I would put both Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus on that new wing coming off Rainforest/Steve and Barry’s. That wing would be made two levels and where Rainforest Cafe currently is, a domed court will be built. On the immediate left will be Neiman Marcus (in the parking area where Fox and Hound and the old Arcadian Gardens is located…Fox and Hound is a great place and will get another spot in the mall). Just beyond the domed court would be Bloomingdales. The deck in the back would be exanded all the way to Bloomingdales (and given additional levels) and the deck facing Parsonage Road will be rebuilt with additional levels. Steve and Barry’s should also relocate to Woodbridge. I would rebuild AMC in its current spot but make it two levels and in also include a Dave and Busters. Menlo is already going to open a Work Out World at the Macy’s midcourt entrance in the back of the mall. Also as I had earlier mentioned, a lifestyle component near Barnes and Noble/Cheesecake Factory would be added and the current parking could be made into underground parking. And as we had earlier said, the interior road network must be improved with additional lanes and traffic lights wherever possible.

    I think a Woodbridge expansion and JCPenney relocation is viable, but if you build an entertainment wing, the crime issue has to be addressed somehow.

    And to add on Short Hills, I’d love to see a Grand Lux Cafe open here and there is room to build outside the mall entrance by Macy’s facing JFK Parkway.

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  483. Mallguy,

    I had no idea that the EBTC was going to be transformed that way, that solves a hole slew of issues, if that property is large enough you could build a transit village there & leave Brunswick Square alone.

    Policing is always an issue with entertainment wings at malls, but those areas are becomeing the difference maker for longterm viability. If you patrol constently & serve notice that out of control teens will be delt with through legal channels problems will subside. One mall that hasn’t done that is Poughkeepsie Galleria, on one visit there was a riot amung 2 gangs of youth below the restaurant I was eating at. I was told to stay inside the restaurant while the maylay went on. Based on what I was told you could assume this was not the first time this has happened.

    [Reply]

  484. Is the theatre in Sayreville being replaced? The Sayreville theatre closed a few years a go driving people to Mega Movies.

    [Reply]

  485. Amboy Multiplex closed because it was sinking. A big crack developed in the foundation and Ntl Amusements decided not to reopen. When the Riverfront and former Dutch Boy factory is redeveloped (they have something on the table, it’s just an act of actually building it), the movie theatre will be replaced.

    The EBTC redevelopment is still another year two away, but Summerhill Square will be opening most likely in the fall giving Brunswick Square some direct competition.

    [Reply]

  486. Another interesting note about Amboy Multiplex…it used to be a drive-in movie theater and drivers coming south on the Edison and Driscoll Bridges got a clear view of the movie playing. Obviously, it caused a many an accident back in the day.

    [Reply]

  487. Speaking of movie theatres or lackof them , I find it weird that Woodbridge the 5th largest community in NJ doesn’t have one at all. the best place would be at the mall with all of the redevelopment ideas posted above.

    As I type this I just realized that National Amusements also closed there theatre in Newark as well.

    [Reply]

  488. Mallguy,

    Speaking of Macy’s being renovated at Brunswick Square, they just started renovating it last week lol. I didnt really look to see what they were doing but I saw some of the tile was torn out and there was sign that said something like “Pardon our appearance for Renovation.” I’m guessing they’re gonna put nice new tile and maybe renovate other parts of the store.

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  489. Mallguy,

    I just checked out milage figures from Brunswick square to other area malls & I thaught they were closer than they were. I UNDERSTAND What you have been saying all along. I guess when it’s mostly highway & not street driving it can fool your sence of distence. Take a look at the chart I posted Below. Locals like you know this, but out of towners like myself may not.

    mall miles min
    Menlo Park 11 15
    Woodbridge 13 15
    Freehold R 14 15
    Monmouth 25 25
    assuming no traffic delays. HA HA!

    All I can say is MY BAD!

    [Reply]

  490. LOL…15 min to Freehold and Menlo from Brunswick Square…maybe in the 1970s.

    Matt: Thanks for the update…I haven’t been over there in a couple of months, so if it’s a long term construction project, it’s about time.

    Sean: Ntl Amusements only has 4 theatres in NJ left…another interesting fact…along with Amboy Multiplex, All-Jersey (Newark) and Hazlet were built on the grounds of former drive-ins. Woodbridge used to have Movie City 5, but that closed in the early 1990s…I think they are also hemmed in by the fact that Edison has 2 movie theaters (AMC Menlo and Clearview Oaktree…the former Movie City 6). I don’t see anything wrong with a movie theater in Woodbridge by the way.

    [Reply]

  491. Mallguy,

    Drive in theatres were the oregins of National amusements, the first one opened on Sunrise Highway in Valley Streem Near where Green Acres Mall stands. Today it is a 6-plex in dire need of replacement, along with a 14-plex just up the road.

    I never said that the time & distance figures were actual numbers just aproxamations. I can see adding 10 minutes to each, however I did say if there was no traffic, and we both know how horific some arteries like Routes 1 & 9 can be on a good day.

    Take my word on this, when gas prices pass the $5 mark & it will happen soon, you will see a marked decrease of traffic levels on the major roads & ever higher use of NJT services. If you think the busses and trains are busy now, in about a year NJ Transit won’t know where to put all of the new riders.

    What that means for guys like you, myself, Joey, Alex & others it is time to put our ideas to work & turn properties in to mixed use projects. Each one has unique elements , so each site must be examined closely for maximum utilisation.

    [Reply]

  492. Went to GSP yesterday, they’re getting…..

    a new Guess

    a new Foot Locker

    Lululemon Athletica

    Kira Plastiniva or something like that she’s a designer that was on E and

    True Religion!

    Urban Outfitters was amazing, it’s a real nice store.

    [Reply]

  493. Freehold Raceway mall used to just be a hang out for all the mall rats. Now they added a bunch of “rich’ stores to get rid of the teens. Didnt work but its only been a year.

    [Reply]

  494. I was over at the mall tonight and noticed that Lucky Brand Jeans is now open and Teavana will be open very soon…at least within two weeks.

    Although not fully leased, it seems as though the lifestyle center has been successful. After the mall had closed, both Cheesecake Factory and PF Changs were MOBBED and Borders was also pretty busy. Also noticed earlier in June that they have live jazz at the lifestyle center on Wednesday evenings.

    [Reply]

  495. One more thing I noticed…they are changing the lights in the parking lot to make the lot brighter at night…now I always thought the parking lot was pretty bright, but apparently this change made it brighter. I guess with the increase of after hours customers with Cheesecake Factory, PF Changs and Borders, they wanted their customers to feel as safe as possible.

    [Reply]

  496. Kira Plastinina is open at Garden State Plaza

    [Reply]

  497. Visited Menlo park yesterday, & a few interesting developments occured. First, Esprit closed, second, Sharper Immage may close as early as next week, everything is for sale including all display shelving units. Third, and this is very strange, the space formerly occupide by Callifornia Pizza Kitchen which had beenwalled up for years had the walls removed. I got to look inside & it looks like nothing happend. Tables & chairs were set up as if they were ready for business, mind you they had been closed for over 15 years. When I went to the information booth to ask what was going in there, the two women told me “nothing untill the lease was up.” I said “are you kidding me? That space has been empty for over 10 years.” It terns out CPK has been paying rent all that time with an empty location..

    Am I the only person who finds this weird? Perhaps they will reopen, but who knows. IfCPK is in Short Hills, why not Menlo or even Freehold Raceway, the latter 2 have markets that are somewhat alike.

    [Reply]

  498. A lot of companies continue to make lease payments after they close a store, if only to keep out competition. Seems dishonest to me, but if the mall management gets paid, most malls don’t really try to stop it.

    [Reply]

  499. If that be the case JP, then wouldn’t CPK use legal means to try to keep Cheesecake Factory out of Menlo Park? Perhaps they tried & lost, but I don’t think so.

    On another note, Mallguy, this may peak your interest, Fox & Hound is having work done on there building. Left side next to the roadway. AsI walked over I could invision what you want to do with the mall & a possible expantion, it could really work.

    [Reply]

  500. Sean,

    I was at Fox and Hound about a month ago and didn’t notice anything on their building, but if it’s the building near Fox and Hound that used to be Nobody Beats the Wiz, then the work being done is to transform the building into Todai Seafood Buffett. I never drive by that end of the mall, but next time I head over, I’ll check it out

    That is pretty interesting about CPK and I didn’t know anything about that.

    [Reply]

  501. Mallguy,

    Yes it was the old Nobody Beats the Wiz I saw being worked on. my bad

    Do you think that CPK would reopen at Menlo park? I know that they are everywhere, but I would like them to open another at Freehold’s lifestyle wing if possible.

    [Reply]

  502. Sean,

    Frankly I could see them reopening at Menlo and think it would be good for them. I remember when they closed and it was at the time that Champp’s and Macaroni Grill were the only sit down restaurants at the mall. Each restaurant there has their own way of attracting crowds and keeping regulars. And unlike Short Hills, the Menlo Park location still would serve liquor, assuming they still have their license (liquor licensing laws are much different here in NJ). I could also see them at Freehold and they would be far away enough from Menlo (30 miles between with a very congested route 9 in between them) to be successful.

    On Freehold, I’m very surprised the lifestyle wing is not yet fully leased.

    [Reply]

  503. Just give it some time Mallguy, I’m sure those stores will be filled.

    By the way Steve & Berry’s at Menlo Park was dead. I know thats on another page, but it relates to your redevelopment ideas here.

    [Reply]

  504. looks like Boscov’s is on its deathbed….

    http://www.plainvanillashell.com/article.asp?ID=10206

    —–

    and at Newport Centre…

    Hollister, Cinnabon, and A|X Armani Exchange are now open!

    Godiva opens soon

    Zara and Abercrombie & Fitch are coming in 2009.

    [Reply]

  505. Newport Centre:

    I went on Saturday before I went down the shore.

    They already got rid of Gulf Coast BBQ, which was formerly Cosmo’s Brick Oven. I liked GCB. They had such good food. They also are closing the Clip Joint next door, and Rave next door to Clip Joint. I won’t be surprised if all 3 are going to be where the new Abercrombie & Fitch will be. On an old lease plan, i added all 3 stores by square feet. If A&F is there, it will be 8,297 square feet.

    Also, i took a lo-quality vid of the new Hollister.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fP3E6hcq1sY

    Godiva opened. I liked it.

    Armani Exchange isnt opened, the website was misleading. They’re an open house today.
    http://www.simon.com/MALL/event_details.aspx?ID=114&EID=84071

    I think the Pay/Half is becoming H&M. It was proposed Ruehl and A&F were going there, but… They should put Ruehl downstairs where Active Wearhouse & the old Lane Bryant are. I added both together by square feet, and it would be 10,446 square feet. Maybe they can add another, smaller store in the space to shorten it to about 9,200 square feet like Lululemon Athletica.

    Aerie is going where Carlton Cards is now.
    —–
    When I was down the shore, I went to Atlantic City, and I visited The Pier Shops, no changes, just still alot of Leasing Oppertunities.
    —–

    My friend who works at Bebe in Menlo Park said they’re supposed to put a Ruehl there where the old ESPRIT & the old Jasmine Sola were. If so, it’ll be about 9,500 square feet.

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  506. Joey,

    I had a feeling that was were Ruehl in Menlo is going to be, but last I heard aerie is going to open in that section…or maybe on the lower level. Sharper Image is now closed, so there’s another vacany in/near center court.

    At Freehold, Teavana is now open and Armani Exchange will be opening upstairs near Lord and Taylor and JCPenney by the end of the month/early September….and JCrew in the fall!

    [Reply]

  507. Teavana was open last sunday when I went to FRM. They should put Lululemon Athletica where Sharper Image was in Menlo.

    [Reply]

  508. I found info on Newport Centre’s new shops!

    http://thelifevicarious.typepad.com/the_life_vicarious/2008/07/jersey-city-mall-shopping-news-you-can-use.html

    and..

    http://jclist.com/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=14277&forum=1&post_id=161361

    ^ this talks about Banana Republic possibly opening!

    [Reply]

  509. Joey,

    That’s interesting news about Newport…I’ll have to check that out the next time I’m up that way.

    Also something I noticed on my last trip to Freehold…the mega-sized American Eagle looked like it was about to open…it’s probably open now and I’ll see this week. The soon to be former American Eagle will be aerie.

    [Reply]

  510. The website says it will also be Spring too. The shoe store.

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  511. Here’s some pics from Newport Centre, Short Hills, Pier Shops, and Freehold Raceway:

    Newport:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29107694@N06/2717559402/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29107694@N06/2716745125/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29107694@N06/2716715061/

    Short Hills:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29107694@N06/2717529214/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29107694@N06/2716715349

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29107694@N06/2716715489

    Freehold Raceway:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29107694@N06/2717558496

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29107694@N06/2717558686

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29107694@N06/2716744971

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29107694@N06/2717559252

    Pier Shops:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29107694@N06/2716745269

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29107694@N06/2717559560/

    [Reply]

  512. joey,

    i was wondering how you got the square footage of stores in simon malls. I know that simon does not show lease plans with dimensions/measurements of their stores.

    [Reply]

  513. Siteride has lease plans that are old online

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  514. Menlo Park Mall:

    Coming Soon… American Apparel and Champs Sports

    http://www.simon.com/mall/directory.aspx?ID=113

    [Reply]

  515. American Apparel…very interesting. I was just there this week and didn’t see that mentioned. Looks like Champs is making a second go at Menlo. aerie is opening upstairs next to Apple and nothing concrete on Ruehl yet.

    Freehold is now getting a Spring Shoes (one in Willowbrook) opening next to the soon to be aerie. The new AE is open and it is HUGE…probably the largest in NJ!

    [Reply]

  516. In Menlo…

    Now that the spots between Apple & Godiva are being filled, the spot where i thought Ruehl could work, they can do what Cherry Hill did and split up Foot Locker into three stores. Put Ruehl & Urban Outfitters where Foot Locker Triplex currently is. Put Lady Foot Locker where Easy Pickins is, regular Foot Locker where the old Payless was & the vacant spot next to it should become Kids Foot Locker.

    [Reply]

  517. Stopped by Freehold the other day and Armani Exchange is now open. Happened to be there on its grand opening day and it was quite the celebratory atmosphere in the store. The store is also more unique than its other NJ stores in terms of its design.

    Also noticed that they put outdoor speakers in the planters at the lifestyle center a la EPCOT (I may have mentioned this before, but the pavement at the lifestyle center is the same color as the pavement in EPCOT’S Future World)…nice touch.

    [Reply]

  518. AX pry looks like the new Newport Centre one which has like an entrance thats all white lighted, and has a wider new AX logo. Newport Centre’s is nice.

    [Reply]

  519. Was passing by and the family stopped at The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. Amazing.

    Also, Gameworld, the arcade- 1st floor next to Macy’s, lost their lease, which I’m really angry about, but oh well.

    [Reply]

  520. With the trend that FRM has been trying to take, I’m not surprised that Game World will be leaving. It will be interesting to see what it becomes, as well as the still vacant spaces (2) at the lifestyle center.

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  521. They should put either Urban Outfitters or Anthropoligie next to JCPenney in the Lifestyle Center. The other spot should be American Apparel or Bluemercury.
    —–

    My friend who works at bebe in Menlo Park said American Apparel is open there now. She said they rushed to bulid it, and it’s lackluster. She said there’s traces of the old Sharper Image. I hope the GSP one is good. I’m going there September 19th. I also need to go to Ruehl, and I want to check out WHO AU.

    [Reply]

  522. I agree…the new American Apparel at Menlo is lackluster…the Woodbury Commons Outlet store has more character to it. Ruehl is in Freehold, too.

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  523. I’ve been to the Freehold Ruehl. I like the selection, but GSP is closer. The Hoboken American Apparel is big.

    [Reply]

  524. Hi Joey & mallguy,

    haven’t herd from both of you for quite a wile. I’m going to add my 2 cents, what if Cosi sandwich shops opened in the lifestyle area, the 2 open spaces look large enough. I know this horse has been beaten to death, but the theatre must move to maxamize the lifestyle wings full potential.

    I have a question , I looked around the outside areas when riding by on the bus & noticed a lot of wasted acreage. What is the east/west street that leads from the mall to downtown Freehold? When you come off this street there’s a big box store on your right, but it is mostly older single family homes. To get to the main entrance you would make a left turn & take the ring road around.

    I bring this up because there’s potential for either parking decks or aditional retail spaces. Being visually challanged, I need some help here.

    Thanks

    [Reply]

  525. I had never heard of Cosi before and didn’t realize they’re in Livingston, Morristown and Westfield…interesting. There’s small store vacancy right next to the center court entrance and I think some kind of chocolate shop like Rocky Mountain might work there (Godiva is already in the mall).

    The road that leads to Freehold Center is Route 537. Are you referring to Sam’s Club and Walmart on 537 east on the other side of route 33 bypass? I too think that has the potential to grow. Across the street on 537 from the mall is a farm and I’m surprised that hasn’t been sold yet.

    [Reply]

  526. Mallguy,

    I unfortunitly don’t know the roads in that area all that well, perhaps it was Sams Club I saw. The funny thing is, if you drive 1 block toward downtown Freehold you would have no idea that SC abuts an area with older homes. All of a sudden Sams Club comes out of nowhere. Verry bad zoning regulations on Freeholds part.

    If you haven’t gone to Cosi’s yet give it a try, I really enjoy the food. On a first trip I would reccomend the TBM, tomato basel & mutsarella.

    Pardon my spelling.

    [Reply]

  527. Interesting thing about route 537…it used to be a quiet country road that goes between route 38 (in I think Medford) and Fort Monmouth. Parts of it are still rustic, but the section between Freehold Center and CetraState Medical Center in Freehold Township is very, very congested. Pretty soon, they will need to overpass the Route 537 entrance into FRM…especially if that farm across from the mall ever gets sold and transformed into retail.

    [Reply]

  528. The mall’s website says Tilly’s is opening in the former CVS location. First in NJ! And Brighton’s opening too.

    [Reply]

  529. Newport Centre is officially getting Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie kids, FOSSIL, and Ruehl!!!!

    The lease plan here shows Fossil is going where the first Motherhood Maternity was, and workers at the mall say that Ruehl, A&F, and kids are finalizing their leases. All of the A&F brands are opening in 2009.

    [Reply]

  530. Newport Centre is officially getting Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie kids, FOSSIL, and Ruehl!!!!

    The lease plan here shows Fossil is going where the first Motherhood Maternity was, and workers at the mall say that Ruehl, A&F, and kids are finalizing their leases. All of the A&F brands are opening in 2009.

    http://www.simon.com/Assets/Mall/114/LEASING_PLAN/2810_NEWPORT%20CENTRE_CurrentWebLeasePlan-2_2.pdf

    [Reply]

    Gran Reply:

    @Joey,
    do u know if they finally got all of these stores

    [Reply]

  531. Thanks Joey,

    Please do something with the restaurant selection, the food court & sandwich joint are not enough for a mall that is upscaling it self. I know we talked about this a wile back, now it is time for action.

    [Reply]

  532. seriously, TCF & PF changs need to come. even a sidewalk panera bread would work

    [Reply]

  533. Having driven in that area and being amazed at the development of the neighborhood around Newport Centre, streetside dining would definitely work and work well. Hearing the news we have about Newport Centre, I would not be surprised…we are getting an additional Cheesecake Factory in NJ (Bridgewater Commons…adjacent to McCormick’s and Schmick’s), so why not another!

    On the Menlo front, it does not look like Steve and Barry’s is closing, as the one in Livingston Mall is. And with the Ruehl rumors, it will be interesting to see where they locate in 2009 as there is currently not a great space available.

    [Reply]

  534. Spring Shoes @ FRM is now open. Also Barnes and Noble at Livingston Mall is now open and it’s a very nice store.

    [Reply]

  535. I correct my post two back…Steve and Barry’s IS closing at Menlo Park. I think this is good because it really never meshed with the mall and now that wing could open up for any possible expansion. This may be wishful thinking on my part, but if you look at the pattern of retail in NJ and how at least 12 malls have gone through expansion or renovations in the past 3 years, this is totally possible, despite the economy.

    JCrew at Freehold should open this month, but last I was there, the drywall is still covering the storefront.

    [Reply]

  536. The covering of the storefront is off at J Crew and from what I can see, it’s a huge space…probably the biggest space of all the JCrew’s in NJ that opened this past year. They are supposed to open on the 28th.

    [Reply]

  537. The new JCrew at Freehold is really nice and one of the biggest in Central Jersey!

    I have been doing a lot of my Christmas shopping at Freehold and every time I have gone (usually on a Saturday), the mall has been consistently crowded…we’re talking Garden State Plaza levels! Macerich did an AMAZING job with the renovation and the mall has attracted many great names in retail in the past year. Even took a few pics of the mall at Christmas, the decorations are different from what they had prior to the renovation and have changed for the better.

    Speaking of JCrew, I happened to be at Garden State Plaza this month and they recently expanded the JCrew there, opening an additional connected storefront for Mens and also opened CrewCuts.

    [Reply]

  538. I work in retail and have pretty much worked in every mall in new jersey in the past 3 years either for covering a shift for a few days or its been my base store. Livingston just finished their construction recently, it was identical to Rockaway Townsquare now (both simon malls). Woodbridge desperately needs renovation, the place looks outdated and it just seems depressing walking through there on any given day. Freehold looks real nice now with the construction being complete, however from my company’s perspective, business hasn’t improved much in the mall, we actually opened a bigger store in freehold last year and it hasn’t done nearly as much business as the old store did that was about 1/4 size of the current store. Bridgewater commons just finished all their construction and it is still in my opinion the nicest mall in New Jersey, its not nearly as big as Garden State, Freehold, Woodbridge or Willowbrook but it is one of the nicest malls in New Jersey. One mall that I still wonder why its still open though, is Brunswick Square, there is never anyone in the mall, the place is very dark and gloomy, and with its close proximity to Freehold, Bridgewater, and Woodbridge, what is the point of it staying open? People i know in my company who work there hate it!

    [Reply]

  539. no, it’s actually not that close to freehold and woodbridge. It can take up to a half hour or more with traffic to get to either of those malls. Simon is a huge company and i’m sure the mall will stay open. The mall also has great potential of expanding and adding a second floor.

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  540. So, the leasing brochure for the QBM expansion was altered recently. It now shows what it most likely to be a food court (FINALLY) and a possibly Freehold-like lifestyle addition. I like it better than the original plan, and the Food Court location is good. Looks like they’re be getting rid of the lower rear entrance where Chick-Fil-a is now and making that into the JCP and Foodcourt area. This is smart since that part of the mall wasn’t very busy most of the time.

    http://www.simon.com/Mall/LeasingSheet/7705_QuakerBridge_PropFactSheet.pdf

    [Reply]

  541. AceJay, thanks for the link. I also like it better than the original. Looks to me like parking decks are going to go between Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus facing Quakerbridge Road and between JCPenney and Sears facing the rear of the mall.

    And therza, I can guarantee that Brunswick Square is not going anywhere. Macy’s just renovated their store there (at long last) and if you ever go there on a Friday or Saturday night, that place is hopping (thanks to B&N and the movie theatre. Simon was planning on expanding by building a Bistro Row similar to Cherry Hill in the area between Barnes and Noble and JCPenney. I would like to see a 2nd floor there eventually, but we’ll all likely have to wait with the current ecnomic situation. Woobridge does need work, but it’s not nearly as depressing as Monmouth Mall.

    From the consumer’s eye, it seems that Freehold has been doing booming business…headed there the past three Saturdays, the parking lot has been packed and the throngs of people in the mall were all carrying packages! I’m still surprised that one year later, they haven’t filled the remaining vacancies at the Lifestyle Center.

    [Reply]

  542. Mallguy,

    I think Freehold is not rushing to fill the lifestyle spaces based on the economic situation. Same for Filene’s in Danbury.

    Before I forget, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! to you, AceJay & Alex. Maybe we can get our mall renovation ideas off the ground some time next year? LOL

    [Reply]

  543. Mallguy,

    I forgot to ask you, have you ever gone to the Crystal City underground in Arlington? I just received the directory in the mail & I couldn’t believe the enormity of it’s size.

    http://www.thecrystalcityshops.com is the adress.

    [Reply]

  544. Oh, odd, I just noticed the Garage near Sears. I wonder how that’ll work out…it just seems odd to have it there, blocking the “new” foodcourt entrance.

    And hey, Happy Holidays to you guys!

    [Reply]

  545. I don’t think they were going to put the deck fronting route 1 and the Lifestyle Center (not that you can even see the lifestyle center from Route 1).

    Sean,

    I have been to the Crystal City Underground, but not in a while…local to the CCU, I’ve been to the Fashion Centre @ Pentagon City and am impressed. Even though, I prefer Tysons Corner. Probably so on Freehold (and I didn’t even think about Danbury…very surprised Nordstrom hasn’t jumped at that space). On Freehold, I’d love to see Wiliiams-Sonoma and/or Pottery Barn return, or even a Crate & Barrel. At least JCrew is there now :)

    And Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all of you as well!!!

    [Reply]

  546. I’m willing to bet they’ll re-landscape that gross-looking drainage ditch and make it so that the mall is actually visible from Rt. 1

    Also supposedly they are widening it by one lane in BOTH directions, so that could mean a better front.

    [Reply]

  547. I was absolutely amazed at the level of crowds at Freehold Raceway Mall yesterday. They do get very busy around the holidays, but yesterday was a new level! Every new overflow parking lot, as well as the parking lots of the sattelite big box stores were filled and people were walking toward the mall! There was extreme traffic on the mall’s entrance and ring roads, it took me 30 minutes to find a spot and 20 minutes to get out of the mall (most of that time driving to the exit)! It was wall to wall inside as well. To think, when it first opened, Freehold was struggling. With the changes it has gone through combined with the level of traffic there, it can now be conisidered the Garden State Plaza of the Jersey Shore!

    [Reply]

  548. I was absolutely amazed at the level of crowds at Freehold Raceway Mall yesterday. They do get very busy around the holidays, but yesterday was a new level! Every new overflow parking lot, as well as the parking lots of the sattelite big box stores were filled and people were walking toward the mall! There was extreme traffic on the mall’s entrance and ring roads, it took me 30 minutes to find a spot and 20 minutes to get out of the mall (most of that time driving to the exit)! It was wall to wall inside as well. To think, when it first opened, Freehold was struggling. With the changes it has gone through combined with the level of traffic there, it can now be conisidered the Garden State Plaza of the Jersey Shore!

    [Reply]

  549. The Freehold Mall now has valet parking. It’s near the Cheesecake factory. I think if you had High Point car insurance it was free. I don’t so it cost me 8 dollars.

    [Reply]

  550. Mallguy:

    I stopped there recently and it was PACKED. I find it hard to believe as is isn’t the best mall i’ve seen in the area. Location location location.

    [Reply]

  551. So the Rouse Co. was working on a plan to build an upscale lifestyle center+mall+mixed use thing RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM QUAKERBRIDGE.
    Here: http://i40.tinypic.com/2rh4m05.png

    Article from 2003:
    “they are proposing to build: one
    million square feet of high end retail (Neiman
    Marcus, Nordstrom), a first-class restaurant, two and-
    a-half million square feet of class A office
    space, a half million square feet of research space
    (possibly including what already exists), a 500
    room, full-service hotel, 800 units of housing, and
    facilities for community use.”

    That’s HUGE.

    When GGP bought the Rouse Co., I guess they decided not to go forward with the plan, and thus, N+NM went to Kravco/Simon. In October, the land was put up for sale again by GGP.

    I can’t believe that Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom already had commitments. In an article today it mentions that Simon’s not committed to anything but that Nordstrom is “eager” to open their store when it can happen. No mention of Neiman Marcus.

    I’m going to go to West Windsor or Lawrence Planning boards and see if they have any draft site plans for that.

    [Reply]

  552. I actually remember this plan! They had proposed it even farther back, but saw the failure of Forrestal Village and put it off a few years…then towns like Montgomery, Princeton, West Windsor and Plainsboro had building booms and a rise in affluent residents and it became viable again. If I remember correctly, I think Kravco/Simon sued to stop the competition.

    [Reply]

  553. Wow, that sucks. If that plan had gone through maybe we would have seen, over time, the two malls become connected as one. That would be hillarious.

    Also, if Forrestal was built on that plot of land, I’m fairly certain it would be doing well today.

    You wouldn’t happen to have any site plan info or anything for that proposed mall, would you?

    [Reply]

  554. I do not have a plan of it and I’ve looked online and haven’t found anything.

    [Reply]

  555. Did they ever come up with a plan or was it all talk and no physical stuff?

    [Reply]

  556. What IS in the current spot, anyway?

    [Reply]

  557. Mallguy,

    Can you describe what this plan is or was?

    [Reply]

  558. The current spot is farmland; one of the four corners of Route 1 and Quakerbridge Road (the only undeveloped one), and the remaining three corners have shopping centers (Quakerbridge Mall, Nassau Park, Mercer Mall.)

    [Reply]

  559. Jonah/Sean: http://i40.tinypic.com/2rh4m05.png

    That land was formerly owned by American Cyanimid, used for agricultural testing and research. It’s mostly abandoned now, but for some reason there are still guards at the entrances, 24 hours a day, after being abandoned for 6 years…Guess they’ve got something important to protect!

    [Reply]

  560. wow. These forums are dead! I wanted to let everyone know what’s coming soon @ some NJ malls:

    Newport: H&M (opening where Pay/Half just recently closed), a new GNC (where Underground Station was), Garage (next to Lenscrafters)

    Menlo: Urban Outfitters (where UNIQLO/ Square One was), Ruehl (unknown)

    Livingston: Yankee Candle

    Willowbrook: Bare Escentuals (next to Swatch)

    GSP: Gilly Hicks (unknown)

    Jersey Gardens: Gilly Hicks Outlet (Now Open), Levi’s Oultet

    [Reply]

  561. I heard about the future openings at Menlo and am excited, especially that Ruehl is coming. I thought, though, that Ruehl was going to be next to JCrew in the former Square One and Urban Outfitters where the former Steve and Barry’s was.

    I wonder what will eventually take the place of Fortunoff in Woodbridge and Wayne Town Center….

    [Reply]

  562. I was at Menlo Park on 3-21 & a few spots are avaleable for new retailers. The former S&B’s spot will be Home living. Nobody knows what will happen to the former CPK location in the back of the food court, although the windows are covered in black making it hard to see inside. My girlfriend told me she saw enough that it looks as if they could reopen at any time.

    As for Fortunoff stores, I wouldn’t be shocked if Hudson’s Bay from Canada take over those locations because both retailers are part of NRDC equities as well as Lord & Taylor. However L&T already have stores at both Woodbridge & Willowbrook.

    [Reply]

  563. Did Fortunoff go belly-up?

    [Reply]

  564. So FRM guys, Quakerbridge has FINALLY started ACTUAL construction. They’re clearing space for the new JC Penney. The NJT bus stop has relocated to the “Food court” entrance, and it’s very, very discouraging to see so many people basically loitering outside there. In addition, a bunch of stores have closed down inside. the Borders Express is gone in favor of the B. Dalton on the lower level, and a bunch of other stores I don’t remember are gone. More generic ghetto stores are moving in, sadly. One of the Steak places in the food court had been closed since last July and just now a new place has opened up. Steak n’ Salad or something like that. Sears’ lower floor (clothing) is always abandoned in favor of mall stores or JC Penney, which is always popular.

    And Marketfair has started on their renovations already. They should be done by August.

    In other Mercer County news, the Princeton Shopping Center’s finished it’s renovation. It looks great, with the exception of the Amoco (yes, Amoco) Service Station RIGHT IN FRONT. There were plans to move it to the corner of the mall but I guess that was deemed too costly? For Princeton? Hmm.

    Otherwise the Acme in Princeton Junction is finally closed due to the competition from Route 1 (Wegmans and ShopRite) Supposedly a Trader Joe’s (first one in Central Jersey) was going to replace it when the whole Princeton Junction Transit Village was going to happen, but they pulled out and are going to be open by august at the Lowe’s Shopping Center across from Marketfair. Couple that with a restaurant (Red Robin? Cracker Barrel?) and you’ve got a decent center finally.

    I also finally drove up to Menlo and Woodbridge. Woodbridge is gross, with the exception of the upper level’s center court seating area thing. That’s awesome. Menlo is pretty upscale.

    [Reply]

  565. @Quakerbridge:
    Niiiice, looks like Nordstrom’s pulled out:
    http://about.nordstrom.com/ourstores/openings/openings.asp?origin=OurStoresTile

    They’re not listing QBM on the site anymore. Not only that, but Simon’s gotten rid of 80% of the malls on their redevelopment/on the horizon/etc pages, and on the QB Leasing page, the Redevelopment tab is gone.

    Strangely enough, this link still works:
    http://www.simon.com/mall/LeasingSheet/QuakerBridge849.pdf

    I think I posted the link to the second version of that PDF, where they seem to have made some minor changes.

    [Reply]

  566. Hey, it’s been a while, and i’m a bit down in the dumps about the closure of Ruehl.

    To be honest, I saw it coming. I hope the GSP and Freehold shops are replaced with Gilly Hicks at least. I can’t shop there, but my sister can. Anyway, in 2009, Ruehl had big expansion plans. They were to open 45 more stores this year, including Newport Centre Mall, Cherry Hill Mall, Menlo Park Mall, and Danbury Fair Mall in Connecticut.

    Newport Centre has put most of its store openings on hold. Abercrombie & Fitch decieded to open stores internationally, and Newport’s A&F and kids stores have a 2010 proposed date. Garage is also on hold too. bluemercury never opened either.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Joey,

    That is a shame! Apparently the chain has been losing money . It was a great concept while it lasted. It’s a good shot they will be…I would also love to see Martin + Osa replace it, (if it were in Freehold, it would open up right across from Banana Republic) but with this ecnomic climate, I don’t think it’s likely. When Ruehl decided not to open at Menlo, I knew something was up.

    Speaking of Menlo, Urban Outfitters just opened there and they will soon open in Red Bank and are considering Freehold.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy,

    I was at Menlo Park Saturday, there are 8 empty stores. Most are in the Nordstrom end with the others in the back of the food court near Champs Americana.

    The traffic count was tipical for a Saturday with Cheesecake Factory having a 1 hour wait & growing. Infact someone left before there pager buzzed& just left it on a bench instead of returning it.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    I noticed those empty stores too, but Menlo is still fine. It’s just the economic climate. The Freehold Cheesecake Factory has also been doing booming business.

    Unfortunately, I think they have either delayed or cancelled their Bridgewater Commons location.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, CF has made a few changes to its website & there are no locations comeing soon. I recall seeing Bridgewater Commons as one of the future locations. Truthfully they don’t need it. Menlo Park is about 15 miles away? Yet another one was going to open at the disaster that is Xanadu

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Bridgewater Commons may be only 15 miles away, but their trade areas really do not overlap. Those who live in Hunterdon, Northern Somerset and Morris Counties will be very happy. The next closest CF for them is in Willowbrook.

    The Freehold shoppers are definitely happy about getting a Cheesecake Factory location as can be told by the long waits there.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, If that’s the case then should Nordstrom open a store at Bridgewater. The demographics are inline with Short Hills & the store roster reflects this. I realize they may not have the physical space do to the tight land parcel that the mall sits on, but those shoppers who want to go to Nordstrom need to drive to Menlo Park anyway. Unless Bloomingdales Moves into the Macy*s store & Nordstrom builds a new store on the site of the former Stern’s/ Bloomingdale’s location. That might work, if that is what the locals want. Right now I’m not sure about that.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    I could totally see Nordstrom at Bridgewater Commons. It may be a little tight, but they can fit a small 3 level wing (remember, half of the mall is three levels) coming off center court and going on an angle toward 202-206 and build another parking deck between that wing and Macy’s. They really don’t need to close any stores to add new ones. I can tell you, that Macy’s isn’t going anywhere as the next closest Macy’s are Menlo, Quakerbridge and Short Hills.

    If Macerich owned Bridgewater Commons and not General Growth, and we weren’t in the economic climate we’re currently in, this expansion option could be a possibility.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, So right. How do FRM, Bridgewater Commons, Menlo Park & Short Hills compare Demographicly speaking. Short Hills we all know is as top tear as it gets around metro New York.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    I would agree and rank Short Hills at the top. In terms of affluence of trade area, I think it’s Bridgewater, Freehold, then Menlo. It’s absolutely amazing to see how the area around Freehold has grown over the past 20 years!

    I would put Garden State Plaza and The Westchester up with Short Hills.

    [Reply]

  567. I have a feeling the Freehold Ruehl is gonna become a gross furniture store like Period & Castle Furniture. :P

    BCBGMAXAZRIA is also coming to Freehold.

    Tilly’s is coming to GSP and Woodbridge

    [Reply]

  568. I visited Freehold Raceway Mall yesterday. It was the best shopping expierience i’ve had in a while. The air conditioning was perfect, unlike most malls. We ate at The Cheesecake Factory, like last July around this time on a Sunday, no wait. We all went on a sort of spree. Nordstrom was having their anniversary sale, and Lord & Taylor had a great sale. My sister bought a Betsey Johnson bag from L&T for only $50.00, originally $100. My mother bought some stuff from Nordstrom, Yankee Candle, and Sur La Table. I bought plenty of stuff from Ruehl, Hollister, and Abercrombie & Fitch. Sad Ruehl’s closing, they had some good items yesterday on sale. I’ll still go to this mall, though Ruehl will close, the Abercrombie is huge. I got a chance to visit Tilly’s. Pretty cool store. I like that it has movie-poster like screens displaying new items on the side of the store. Also, P.S. by Aeropostale opened three days ago. It looks decent for a kids store. AT&T is remodeling, with a temporary location upstairs in the Lord & Taylor wing, i think. Image, which was upstairs, is now East Meets West. In the outdoor lifestyle center, there were signs showing what new store are coming to vacate the empty spots. I didn’t see them, because we were leaving the mall then, but i think bebe is one of them. My friend who works at the menlo bebe said something about an upcoming freehold store. I will be here again this year during the christmas season. This means i’ll get to visit the Freehold Ruehl once more, and buy stuff from it. We all enjoyed our day yesterday.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Joey,

    Ruehl is not supposed to close until January. I am saddened by that decision as well, as I had expressed above.

    [Reply]

  569. One change I did notice is that they put a very noticeable tint over the center court skylights…trying not to blind the Starbucks patrons and those wanting to grab a comfy chair in center court, I guess.

    [Reply]

  570. Visited Danbury Saturday, things aren’t all that bad there. Only a handful of empty stores exist scattered about the mall.

    According to customer service, there are no plans for the Filene’s store right now. I cant believe that Nordstrom hasn’t opened there. Right now part of that space is a junky clothing store.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Didn’t even know that other than an empty anchor, Danbury was perceived to have problems. I’m with you…that space would be the perfect place for Nordstrom. Knowing the route Macerich is going, I wouldn’t be surprised if the former Filene’s is redeveloped into lifestyle space.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Sorry if I implied that there maybe something up with Danbury Fair. What I saw was quite good, with very high foot traffic & you could count the number of empty stores on both hands with fingers left over.

    GO YANKEES!

    [Reply]

  571. Noticed this one while at the mall yesterday, 10/27: the Christmas decorations in FRM are now up! This is the earliest I’ve ever seen!!!

    Just an observation

    [Reply]

  572. Excellent foot traffic this evening @ FRM…hour wait @ PF Chang’s and Cheesecake Factory and the foot traffic had packages in hand…a good holiday season for the Freehold Raceway Mall!!!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, In the words of sportscaster Marv Albert, YES! Good news comeing from Freehold.

    I wonder if city building simulator games are of interest to you or other Labelscar readers. There are two that come to mind. The first is City Life that came out in 2006 & was updated in 2008. Second is Cities XL wich came out in October 2009. Both games are from french developer Monte Cristo. The difference between the two versions is the latter has features that can only be accessed with a costly subscription & is designed for global online play.

    I believe you can build malls in the game as long as you atract enough population in your city to support one.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    I was a Roller Coaster Tycoon and SimCity fan in college and also a fan of Mall Tycoon when it came out in 2002, however, I sacrificed playing all of them as they their commitment is too great.

    Freehold, beginning this Friday, will be open until midnight until Christmas Eve. The night I was there, crowds started to thin out a little after 10, but I believe they’ll keep the crowds coming in.

    Macerich has also been pretty successful in attracting crowds for their “Freebie Fridays” during the holiday season.

    [Reply]

  573. Another very busy day at the Freehold Raceway Mall. Did notice a few stores that are closing/have recently closed: Dockers (closing all stores), Kirkland’s (the FRM location), The Walking Company (FRM location), and Ruehl (all stores…and this one, I will miss). The holiday store in the former Kay Bee is also closing. Five very large vacancies, four of them in the Nordstrom wing…and the northern section of the lifestyle center has still not been occupied. I believe this is more of a sign of the economic times than the position of the mall itself.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I agree with you on Freehold’s market strength. How do the anchors & shops perform comparitivly to other malls in the area.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    I don’t have exact figures, but I am sure they do fine, considering the closest mall to Freehold is 12 miles away. The Freehold Nordstrom has gained much strength over the decade. In the late 1990s, Freehold’s Nordstrom was not in the top 3 in the Northeast (that went to GS Plaza, The Westchester and Menlo Park), but I think it could very well be in or near the top 5 now.

    Interesting story, I emailed FRM the other day asking them what was going on with the Nordstrom wing (lots of vacancies) and the northern part of the lifestyle center, as well as recommending stores that I think should open. I received a prompt email response from them and it was very cordial and detailed. Basically they told me they are working out the leases and will announce them when they are finalized, stating that I will be “pleasantly surprised.” Hope to have some good updates on this!

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @mallguy,

    First announcement: Bare Escentuals…hope to hear more soon. They sure are keeping the FRM fans in suspense about what will be opening in the Nordstrom wing :)

    [Reply]

  574. From retail Traffic

    Is Xanadu Meadowlands Not Meant to Be?
    Jan 26, 2010 10:53 AM

    Like the poetic fantasy that inspired its name, it seems the Xanadu Meadowlands retail and entertainment complex in northern New Jersey is destined to remain a pipe dream. The 2.3-million-square-foot development has been plagued by bad luck since its conception and had to halt construction last year after one of its principal lenders pulled its financing. Now, the New Jersey Governor’s office has essentially labeled the project a failure, calling for Xanadu’s current developer, Los Angeles-based Colony Capital LLC, to complete construction or turn the site over to the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA), which owns the land.

    On Jan. 22, the office of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made public a draft transition report by the New Jersey Gaming/Sports and Entertainment Committee which outlines a number of challenges facing Xanadu Meadowlands. Among these, the report cites a “failed leasing plan,” a “frozen” capital structure and virtual abandonment of construction activity. Much of the project’s superstructure is completed, but the site remains dormant.

    “The Xanadu project needs both cash and tenants to complete their obligations to NJSEA. Both are missing,” the document reads. “Hence the original business model appears to have failed. The NJSEA need to engage the owners to either complete and open, or surrender the property.”

    Some of the problems with the development have been triggered by the credit crunch—for example, Colony Capital lost a large portion of its construction financing after one of the project’s principal lenders, Xanadu Mezz Holdings, a non-bankrupt affiliate of Lehman Brothers, decided to back out of the deal. Since then, Colony and its affiliates have been shopping for an alternate lender, but have yet to secure the $500 million necessary to complete construction. But the project had been dragging even before that. It was originally slated to open in 2007 and its opening has been pushed back repeatedly. As it stands, the developers have no planned date for the project’s opening.

    Meanwhile, some tenants that have previously committed to Xanadu have delayed opening because of the uncertainty surrounding the project. Earlier this month, Tommy Millner, CEO of hunting, fishing, camping and outdoor recreation retailer Cabela’s Inc., told investors it was highly unlikely that the chain would open its planned store at the project because of all the problems surrounding the complex. A spokesperson for Children’s Place, another Xanadu tenant, said the company had signed a 5,000-square-foot lease for the property, but would not proceed with the build-out until the future of the project had been determined.

    “Retailers are only going to go where they need to be right now because they are facing internal budget constraints and … there is uncertainty with what’s going to happen with that project,” says Michael Fasano, vice president and regional manager with the Elmwood Park, N.J. office of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services. “There are two or three different dynamics happening at the same time so retailers are saying ‘We’ll sit and wait.’”

    On the flip side, at least one large tenant that has committed to Xanadu has balked at taking an alternate location elsewhere in the area, notes Jerry Putterman, senior vice president in the Fairfield, N.J. office of real estate services firm Grubb & Ellis. If the complex ever opens, that tenant would clearly prefer to be at Xanadu, he says.

    According to the report from the New Jersey Governor’s office, most of the major tenants at the development have an escape clause built into their leases that would allow them to pull out of the project if leasing remains below a certain level.

    More troubling still, Xanadu’s chances of securing enough financing to finish construction remain low, according to William Procida, president of William Procida Inc., a Fort Lee, N.J.-based provider of management and capital services for real estate companies. “The project was very aggressive to begin with, but the capital markets being what they are, you combine it with losing tenants, and it doesn’t look good,” Procida says. “They are lucky the government has been so patient with them.”

    In Jerry Putterman’s view, the project might have a better chance of securing a large equity commitment in place of a loan.

    The Xanadu development was ill-conceived from the beginning, notes Procida—he thinks the plan put forward by Hartz Mountain Industries back when the NJSEA was looking at development proposals in 2002 and 2003 would have a better chance of succeeding. Back then, Hartz Mountain and partner Forest City Ratner Cos. presented an $815 million proposal to the NJSEA, which combined a convention center, several hotels and office buildings with a few stores and an indoor racing center. During the selection process, Hartz Mountain criticized Xanadu’s original developer, the Mills Corp., for misrepresenting what it deemed to be essentially another enclosed mall as an entertainment complex.

    “We have plenty of shopping centers in New Jersey,” Procida notes. “They were trying to make the shopping center of all shopping centers, and while it’s a highly visible spot, the egress is not the greatest. Everything is going against them—people are not spending, banks aren’t lending, and they are already burdened with debt in excess of what it’s worth.”

    A spokesman for Governor Christie’s office said the state’s Sports and Entertainment Committee was still in the process of determining its recommendations for the project. Both Colony Capital and NJSEA declined to comment directly, referring inquiries to an outside public relations representative who did not return calls.

    –Elaine Misonzhnik

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    This thing has been such a disaster. With Christie raising the stakes, there is a greater chance that it may never open.

    It will be likely that all the planned stores or restaurants who were planning on going in there may go elsewhere in the North Jersey market.

    Maybe they’ll even make it down to Freehold!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, WCBS AM reported this morning that Larry Silverstein is going to complete Xanadu. It is going to open at the end of the year. The story is in today’s Bergen Reccord.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Read the article and I think the Paramus area malls who expanded/remerchandised in preparation for Xanadu are now glad they anticipated it. Governor Christie had given an ultimatum to the developers and it looks like that ultimatum was partly incentlve enough.

    [Reply]

  575. H&M is opening in the Nordstrom wing! people are saying it on frm’s facebook page.

    Hey, labelscar, there should be way more NJ mall posts.

    One small one could be Bridgewater Commons, they’re going under a major dining renovation, adding The Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen.

    Another can be Menlo Park, you can talk about its transformation from 1-level mall with JCPenney to retail powerhouse with Nordstrom.

    And the main post could be GSP, NJ’s most famous mall needs to have a post.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Joey, H&M would be a good addition to FRM and I look forward to seeing what else will be going in the Nordstrom wing. Except for a couple of stores, it’s all vacant, so I’m expecting some big names.

    I couldn’t agree with you more about more NJ posts and I would add The Mall at Short Hills, NJ’s first upscale mall.

    The thing that impresses me about the three malls you’ve mentioned is that in the time they’ve been around, they’ve all found ways to stay current and relevant.

    [Reply]

    AceJay Reply:

    Aha, so that’s why they moved a bunch of stores out of that wing… I wonder if they’ll ever fill that pad site next to PF Changs. Although I think having that big green space could be nice by itself. Throw in a few trees, benches, and maybe a fire pit and you have a nice community gathering place.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @AceJay, Word on the street was that green space next to PF Chang’s was supposed to be Chevy’s. Don’t know what is going on now, but I do agree with you on what should be done with it in the meantime…they also need to occupy the rest of the lifestyle center. Urban Outfitters would be a good match for one of the spaces…

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Again you are right on target. You too Joey, bring on more NJ malls!

    I was at GSP twice in the past three weeks & the vacancy rate is almost nill, & the ones that do, have comeing soon signs for the most part.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Noticed the same thing in Short Hills as you observed in GSP…they’re actually getting a couple of big names (Van Cleaf & Arpells and Teavana)

    I’ve been in touch with the management @ FRM about what is going in the Nordstrom wing, yet they don’t make upcoming stores public until the leases are finalized. H&M is likely one and Bare Escuentals has been announced.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, It’s amazing How a mall like Short Hills has a fare percentage of vacancies at any given time, yet it obscures the fact that this mall has been such a high performer sales wise & where only a few malls of that type exist in this country.

    Tysons Corner/ Galleria, South Coast Plaza, Forum Shops, Fashon Show, King of Prussia, Galleria Houston, Galleria Dallas & North Park Center are the ones that come to mind that could match on a sales per square foot basis.

    Sorry AceJay, I forgot to credit your post above.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Sorry to double post, what size H & M are we talking about. S, M or L.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I have a feeling this is going to be a big one. Both sides of the upper level of the Nordstrom wing are totally vacant. Part of the first floor is as well. While I have no inside knowledge on this, I would not be surprised to see a 2 level H&M.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Sound similar to what was done in Danbury Fair Mall. A 2-story H & M location was built in what was 6-store spaces next to Sears. Across from H & M, Old Navy also opened a 2-story location in what was again 6-spaces.

    Stamford TC has a single story H & M location above Barns & Noble wich it self is a good size store. I’m guessing around 14,000 square feet, knowing that B & N is twice that figure for it’s newer super stores.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, FRM and DFM are already former Wilmorite Twins, so it wouldn’t surprise me one bit, lol. I do think if H&M @ FRM does end up being 2 levels, it will likely be NJ’s first 2 level H&M. In terms of OId Navy, NJ has a 2 level location at Garden State Plaza.

    I have not been to Stamford Town Center since the rebuild of Filenes. It was smart of them to finally incorporate the mall with the surrounding city. The B&N in Stamford, I assume, is a single level? We have a few of them in NJ (Paramus, Riverside, Clifton Menlo) and one 2 level Borders at Freehold.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, The Barns & Noble in Stamford is 40,000 square feet, making it the largest store in Connecticut. That would make H & M closer to 20,000 not 14,000 sq ft as I posted above. Oops!

    Your right about the Old Navy at GSP, for a suburban location that store is huge!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @SEAN, B & N is two levels not one.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, For 40k square feet, it would have to be 2 levels. Oh and those four B&N locations I mentioned in NJ are 2 levels. You probably knew what I meant, depsite my lack of clarity. And especially with the Clifton and Menlo locations, I love how open and airy the stores are…maybe a little more so than Paramus and Riverside. (the B&N down in Tysons Corner is also very impressive) .

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, No big deal. The B & N in Menlo Park is a FANTASTIC store.

    The best B & N stores i’ve found are…
    1. Lincoln Square 66th & Broadway
    2. Union Square 17th & 5th
    3. Stamford ct
    4. Menlo Park
    5. The Grove @ farmers market L.A. what a store
    6. White Plains

    1 & 2 can be switched.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    I would add to the list the Tysons Corner B&N, B&N on the UES and the one near Rock Crt at 5th and 47th, and in NJ, Clifton and the Holmdel B&N…not as big as Menlo, but one of the nicest ones by the Jersey Shore.

    The Borders store in Freehold Raceway Mall eclipses the B&N across the street and in my opinion, is also the best Borders in NJ.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, UES? What’s that.

    I would put the old GSP Borders on that list as well. Man do I miss that store, the new one doesn’t come anywhere close & KOP is just as bad. Even the old Short Hills one was better.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    UES-Upper East Side…the store on 86th and Lex.

    I do miss the old GSP Borders and agree the new store doesn’t hold a candle. The KOP Borders is hideous (last time I was there, it still looked like it did when it opened). Short Hills is sadly lacking a bookstore and with B&N and Borders both in Livingston and the lack of room there, we’re not likely to see one.

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, UES, OH YEAH! I was brain locked on that one. LOL

    The old Borders in White Plains was a good store untill the last few years when it suddenly went downhill & adventually closed do to B & N’s openning. The Columbus Circle store at TWC surprisingly is a halfway decent location, but I still prefer the B & N in that neighborhood. Same for Borders at Atlas Park in Queens another fairly decent store.

    I guess this is what happends when you have a Metrocard glued to your hand, or an EZPASS on your windshield. LOL

  576. I would put the old GSP Borders on that list as well. Man do I miss that store, the new one doesn’t come anywhere close & KOP is just as bad. Even the old Short Hills one was better.

    [Reply]

  577. http://www.app.com/article/20100413/BUSINESS/4130329/Four-retailers-coming-to-Freehold-Township-mall

    H&M and 2 story XXI Forever coming this fall!

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Joey,

    Freehold Raceway Mall made it official with their press release. And we finally know what is going to occupy the empty area of the lifestyle center!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Hmmm, I wonder what else Macerich has up it’s sleave.

    XXXI Forever opened a 2-story location in Stamford TC a few years ago & wiped out I think 6 or 8 store spaces. It’s near Barns & Noble/ H & M.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    I know! There are still some spaces available spaces in the mall, most notably Ruehl and there mnay still be some space in the Nordstrom wing.

    XXI Forever Also opened a very large store in GS Plaza in the old Borders…not sure if it’s 2 levels though.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Yes the GSP store is a 2-story location. I think that is the direction XXI Forever is moving towards, do to the increasing number of empty department & large store spaces. Same for H & M, Kohl’s & Old Navy.

    Off topic. Have you sene the ABC program V by chance? If not check it out. It is so topical it’s frightning. The alian leader Anna & daughter Lisa are so bad, that they are so good.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Both the store spaces for XXI Forever and H&M are going to be HUGE, as evidenced by the coming soon banners put up. When standing between JCPenney and Nordstrom in the Lord and Taylor wing and looking toward Nordstrom, H&M takes up the entire left side of the upper level between Nordstrom and the Lord and Taylor wing. XXI Forever will take up at least the entire former spaces of the Foot Locker and Against All Odds, as well as Domain and Kirklands, on the upper and lower levels, respectively. There is still room in that wing and I look forward to what else may be announced.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I’ll bet dollars to donuts that Macerich has plans for the remaning empty spaces around XXI Forever. It is just a matter of time till we find out what they are.

    Never underestamate the Macerich company.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I don’t doubt that they do! Especially at FRM. Glad, also, they filled the empty spot in the lifestyle center and I’m hoping they get another restaurant and build on the grassy knoll next to PF Changs, as on the directory, it is categorized as “Leasing Space Available.”

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, What restaurants do you think could be a good fit for the lifestyle center along with Cheesecake Factory?

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I’ve heard rumblings about Chevy’s, but I don’t see it. Considering that there is a very successful Escondido’s (local place) down 537 from the mall, I think they should go with something Mexican. If they want to go upscale, I suggest Rosa’s (one on the Upper West Side and one in Riverside) and if they want to go midrange, I suggest Jose Tejas (also Cajun). If you haven’t been to the latter, I highly recommend it. There is one in Fairfield and another in Woodbridge.

    If they go Italian, I’d like to see Maggiano’s. If they go really wildcard, I’d like to see Texas deBrazil or Bahama Breeze.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Bahama Breeze? Hmmm, interesting choice. I’ve been to the one in King of Prussia several times. I thaught the food was good, my girlfriend loves that place. Didn’t they open in Woodbridge & wayne recently?

    How about Kona Grill, Legal Sea Food or Mitchell’s Fish Market. They all have been doing reasonablly well despite the ecconomic issues before us.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Bahama Breeze has a really cool vibe to it that would work in a lifestyle center, especially near the Jersey Shore. First experienced Bahama Breeze in Cherry Hill, but also have been to the one in Wayne. They have not yet opened in Woodbridge as they and Olive Garden had planned.

    Have been to Kona (recently opened in Woodbridge) and Legal, yet never to Mitchell’s. Are there any in NJ? Kona would be interesting and would work better in a lifestyle center than Legal. Although any of those would be a draw for Freehold.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, The only Mitchell’s is at Stamford TC. Could they work at FRM? I think so, the customer bass is there & like Kona Grill, it’s a unique setting with a different feel then Legal.

    I believe they come from Cleveland.

    Went to the Shops @ Riverside Saturday. I think despite the recent restaurant aditions plus Barns & Noble wich draw large crowds, the mall looks like it’s really struggling with some areas totally dead.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    They probably could. Kona Grill would also be a nice fit.

    Haven’t been up to Riverside in at least a year and that is somewhat surprising about the vacancies. Although with this economy, I’m not at all surprised. Riverside has had a history of stuggling against its big brother down the road (AKA Garden State Plaza) so at this time, the vacancies will be more pronounced. I’m not really concerned. On Riverside, I am glad they decided to open that hallway between the two Bloomingdales entrances to make a complete curcuit around the mall. It always had a somewhat strange layout.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I too thaught that Riverside had a strange layout, but some how they seme to make it work. If several restaurants signed leases for a mall that is no doubt struggling, then then only conclusions that can be drawn are either 1. there offering incredible rent deals or 2. there is enormous leasing activity. Perhaps it’s a combonation, because I did see several comeing soon signs.

    Truth be told, I don’t know how that mall is going to make it, with Paramus casting the equivalent of an eclipse over it. Short Hills I understand, Riverside perplexes me.

  578. Meet Forever 21’s stylish sisters
    Linda and Esther Chang, the daughters of the fast-fashion chain’s founders, may be the brand’s secret weapons.
    By BOOTH MOORE

    Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic

    April 4, 2010

    As Forever 21 continues to rocket into the 21st century, competitors are undoubtedly trying to decode the fast-fashion chain’s successful formula.

    Low prices? Trendy merchandise that cycles in and out of stores on a daily basis? Super-size stores modeled after the 86,000-square-foot location that recently opened in Cerritos?

    Forever 21 has all that, but the real secret weapon may be a couple of women who look as if they’re barely out of high school. Linda Chang, 28, and her sister Esther, 23, the Ivy League-educated daughters of Forever 21′s Korean American founders Don and Jin Sook Chang, seem to have the stylish eye and marketing savvy to take the $2-billion brand into the future and make it a competitor on a global level with European fast-fashion giants H&M, Mango and Zara.

    The Chang sisters joined the L.A.-based company a little over a year ago — Linda to run the marketing department, and Esther to spearhead visuals, including graphics, store displays and window design. Linda is the quintessential young professional in Alexander Wang boyfriend jackets and Forever 21 jeans, cooking lasagna on weekends for friends in her Hollywood apartment. Esther, the Gen Y younger sister in Forever 21 denim shorts, a TopShop flannel shirt and American Apparel knee-highs, still lives at home with mom, who is Forever 21′s chief merchandising officer, and dad, who is chief executive.

    If this is the first time you’re reading about the sisters, it’s because the company has shied away from courting the media. A reporter visiting Forever 21′s downtown L.A. headquarters is admitted only to the lobby and a conference room. The building doesn’t even have a sign outside.

    But now the Chang sisters, best friends who are “pretty much inseparable” when they aren’t traveling, are talking — and they are such perfect faces for the brand, you wonder why they haven’t been out front all along.

    Forever’s beginnings

    Don and Jin Sook Chang, who were born in South Korea and immigrated to Los Angeles in 1981, embraced the fashion business while Don was working at a gas station and noticed the best cars were driven by clothing merchants. The couple opened the first Forever 21 store in Highland Park in 1984; initially, the merchandise was similar to the clothing you’d find in the stalls in downtown’s Santee Alley: cheaply made knockoffs.

    There were some lean years in Koreatown while the Changs built the business, but eventually, Linda said, the family had enough money to afford private school — Buckley and Harvard Westlake — for the girls and a Beverly Hills estate.

    By 2000 the company had 100 stores. Nonetheless, Linda and Esther weren’t swimming in free clothes. “I never felt like it was a candy store,” Linda said. “I was always concerned about how we could make it better.”

    Last year, the retailer took over several leases from bankrupt department store Mervyn’s, signaling a move from specialty store to big-box retail format. One of those was in Cerritos, where the new Forever 21 store is the prototype for all openings going forward.

    There, all eight of Forever 21′s collections are merchandised in separate departments, each with its own visuals. Every current spring trend is covered — tribal ($11.50 belted zigzag tunics), military ($22.80 cropped khaki cargo jackets), florals ($29 baby-floral print lace-up booties) and creative knits ($27.80 crochet dresses).

    And that has earned the chain some props.

    Forever 21 has been name-checked recently by “American Idol” contestants and Hollywood stylists, and last week announced its first designer collaboration — a collection of graphic T-shirts with designer Brian Lichtenberg. (A favorite of Lady Gaga, Lichtenberg designed the caution-tape outfit for the singer’s “Telephone” video.)

    “Forever 21 offers great, trendy merchandise at low prices, and it turns very quickly,” said Michael Stone, president and chief executive of brand licensing and consulting firm Beanstalk Group in New York. “The customer likes shopping there more than Wal-Mart, Target and Kohl’s because of the experience. It’s brightly lit, there’s merchandise all over, there’s a hip and cool aura.”

    “With the younger fashionistas, it is a must-see,” said Ilse Metchek, executive director of the California Fashion Assn. “Like Bloomingdales at 59th Street, if you have nothing to do and some money is burning a hole in your pocket, you’re going to Forever 21.”

    No doubt the recession has helped fuel the growth of Forever 21, which has 456 stores and counting. But so has social media outreach and more compelling store environments, both of which are due in no small part to Linda and Esther.

    The next generation

    As kids, when the Chang daughters weren’t studying, they were helping out, wielding price tag guns at the company warehouse on Christmas Day and working the store cash registers during high school summers. But it wasn’t apparent from the outset that they would join the family business after college.

    Linda studied management as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and worked as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch and a product planner at Pottery Barn. “I came in [to Forever 21] thinking I was going to do planning, because that was my background, but I discovered we were missing a whole marketing department,” she said.

    “A brand image and having our customers understand who we were, that was what was missing,” she said. “We were just doing what we could to survive because we had expanded so quickly.”

    She hired a staff (which now numbers 20), launched a Facebook page (now at 747,000 followers), a Twitter feed (73,000 followers) and a blog, the Skinny, aimed at the Teen Vogue set. Forever 21 largely bypasses old media, reaching out to customers and fashion bloggers directly. Blog content is updated daily with DIY projects (rainbow hair streaks), video of Forever 21 shoppers (British pop star V.V. Brown) and trend features (“Pastel Pretty”) highlighting Forever 21 merchandise. The company even sent a photographer to the South by Southwest music festival to document street style.

    Linda is eager to shape the Forever 21 story as “a realization of the American dream founded by immigrants on really hard work” and to make headlines for things other than allegations of design theft. (Forever 21 has settled several lawsuits over alleged copyright infringement.)

    “We are a retailer, and the majority of our merchandise is bought, not manufactured,” she said. “When you see our stores, there’s fresh new merchandise every day. We’re getting more proactive, but mistakes happen, and I think it comes up more for us because of our millions of styles.”

    “It’s the nature of fast fashion,” adds Esther, speaking for a generation raised on free downloads.

    If Linda is giving Forever 21 a voice, her sister is giving it a more colorful look. As head of the visuals department (the company eschews formal titles), Esther supervises 30 people, including display and graphics designers and merchandisers.

    Esther majored in fashion and merchandising at Cornell University and had fashion-related internships at CosmoGirl magazine and Nordstrom. When she joined Forever 21, she assumed it would be as a member of the buying team. But she fell into visuals instead, intrigued by the challenge of adapting Forever 21 to the larger new retail footprints..

    “Because we don’t advertise that much, I want to distinguish our brands using interior finishes and visuals, giving the customer a sense of who we are,” Esther said. Her inspirations include Japan’s LaForet and Korea’s Lotte stores.

    For spring, Esther decked out the Cerritos store with flower murals and mannequins in picket-fenced AstroTurf “gardens” with overgrown terracotta planters. Forever 21 stores can feel sprawling and spartan, but here, the visual elements define each separate department and collection, albeit with varying degrees of success.

    “We want to do more of what we did in Cerritos, only bigger and better,” Esther said. Next up? Three store openings in Japan next month, and a 96,000-square-foot Times Square store opening in New York in June.

    The sisters are all business and don’t easily part with information about their personal lives. To hear them tell it, they work hard, stay out of trouble and save their money. They enjoy shopping ( Urban Outfitters, H&M and vintage stores) and eating (Umami burgers). And on most Sundays they attend church with their parents, who are deeply religious.

    Forever 21 famously has “John 3:16″ printed on the bottom of every shopping bag, referring to a New Testament scripture, and Bibles are on display in the corporate offices. “It’s a proclamation of my parents’ faith, not them saying you all have to believe,” Esther said.

    Her sister agreed, adding, “I wouldn’t say we’re as devout as they are, but that’s not to say we won’t eventually get there.”

    For now, they have a seriousness of purpose that comes from knowing that someday the business will be theirs.

    “I love it when people come out of our stores being so happy,” Linda said. “You go into some places and buy one item, and come out thinking, ‘Should I have gotten that?’ But our customers don’t have to feel that way. They can spend $100 and get a ton of cute things. Regardless of what the press says, it’s the customers who matter. If they are excited, then we are doing something right.”

    This article was reproduced in the Baltimore Sun

    [Reply]

  579. Menlo Park News.

    Chipotle Mexican Grill is comeing in a few days. It will be in the former CPK spot across from Champs americana. It only took 17-years to fill that spot.

    Not only that, home builder Toll Brothers has a showroom in the former Nobody Beats the Wiz & Fox & Hound has moved to the former Zany Brainy site wich happend a while ago.

    At GSP

    ABest Buy Moble opened near Ruby Tuesday & Mcdonald’s.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Also, Teavana is coming to Menlo Park…downstairs in the Macy’s midcout.

    Slight correction…Fox & Hound has always been in that location and former Wiz has been subdivided to not only Toll Brothers, but Ichi Umi a Japanese sushi buffet restaurant (which by the way is really good!)

    With Short Hills, they will be getting a Van Clef and Arpels.

    And Bridgewater Commons will be getting a Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen.

    No new store updates on Freehold, but Bare Escuentals is now open.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I saw where Tevana was going. Couldn’t remember the japanese restaurants name on my last post. Thanks.

    Went into the Toll Bruthers location & interestingly they do not have any communities in NJ, yet they have a showroom? I thaught this was stupid, unless they want us to buy a house & move to Phoenix or Las Vegas. LOL Believe me, there are enough unsold homes in both cities that building more are unessessary.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I never got Toll Brothers locating there.

    It’s very surprising they haven’t filled the space where Acradian Gardens/the playground place was, but with this economy, I’m not surprised. If Simon wanted to consider a Restaurant Row, this location of the mall would be a great place for it!

    [Reply]

  580. Wow, that Chipotle is going to be really close to the one at the Shoppes.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @AceJay, June 21st, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Wow, that Chipotle is going to be really close to the one at the Shoppes.

    Where is that AceJay?

    [Reply]

  581. Where 1 and 130 meet.
    http://www.theshoppesatnorthbrunswick.com/

    Well, kinda close.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @AceJay, Thanks. Checked out the web site, it sucks. Hard to navagate with text to speach software.

    Off topic… well sort of

    Have you or Mallguy ever been to a restaurant in New Brunswick called “Stuff Yer Face?” It was feachured on “Man vs Food” with Adam Richmond.

    The place left me & my girlfriend histericle, but the boli’s are fresh & delicious & well worth the trip.

    It is @ 49 Easton Ave. http://www.stuffyerface.com

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    YES! Stuff Yer Face is INCREDIBLE! Not only because of the bolis, but because of the atmosphere (1 block from Rutgers).

    They used to have a location on Route 18 at the south end of East Brunswick, but have since sold it.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    The Shoppes at North Brunswick is a “lifestyle center.” It’s OK, but it’s not as good as The Grove at Shrewsbury or Tices Corner.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Is it on route 1 where the Regal North Brunswick 18-theatres are located?

    Who wants a boli! LOL

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    The North Brunswick Regal 18 is in route 1, about 3 miles south of the Shoppes at North Brunswick…and 3 miles up from that is AMC New Brunswick 18. It’s kind of amazing that two 18 screen movie theatres are wihtin 6 miles of each other, and both do very well.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I know that is quite amazing, two megaplexes of that size thrive within six miles. I have been following the cinema industry for over a decade & what you see there are actually two concepts at work. First you have a defencive play where one large circuit builds a theatre & another one decides to come in & either compete or defend it’s existing market.

    The other concept is called zoning. Zoning is when film studios allicate one film to a theatre in a given market or a zone. In most suburban markets a zone is about three to five miles in size. This allows for Regal & AMC to have theatres on the same road within a short distence without overscreening the market.

    My description is rather basic & leaves out the legal aspects such as the 90/ 10 rule or bidding for film rights in some situations, but bidding is rarely used

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    That’s pretty interesting. I think the zoning definitely allows for the large theatres that hae been the norm in suburban NJ during the past 15 years. I remember back in the day when small movie theatres were the norm (East Brunswick once had 3 theatres: two 2 screens and a 5 screen, until MegaMovies in Brunswick Square came about).

    At least to these two theatres, Regal benefits from the fact that Loews is really a pain in the neck to get to if you’re coming from the south. Lowes New Brunswick is located on 1 south (on the old US1 Flea Market Site) on the bank of the Raritan River. To get there from the south, you have to go over the Raritan River and then another half mile to make a U-Turn at Woodbridge Avenue/514 before heading back. Both are excellent theatres.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Another thing. Do to the finantial crisis & a general overbuilding of theatres in the past decade, circuits are merging or dumping whole blocks of theatres. Three large transactions took place over the past year & a half witch is quite atipical.

    National Amusements sold half it’s theatres to Dallas, based Rave Motion Pictures including the theatre in Hazlet.

    Florida , based Muvico sold half of their circuit to Cinemark & AMC baught kirasotes, a Chicago, company in January.

    Spell check that last one.

    Don’t be shock if NAI sells the rest of the circuit to either Rave or AMC, Viacom is bleading cash & needs to sell assets quickly to pay off billions in debt.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @SEAN, A quick update.

    AMC recently sold nine theatres to Regal in the Chicago, Denver & Indianapolis markets. In return Regal gave two theatres plus cash. This was part of the Kerasotes merger.

    [Reply]

  582. Mallguy,

    Since you go to the Tysons Corner often, here are three articles you maybe interested in.

    Fairfax County supervisors authorize transformation of Tysons Corner
    By Kafia A. Hosh and Derek Kravitz Washington Post Staff Writers Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Fairfax County officials on Tuesday approved a landmark proposal to allow the transformation of Tysons Corner from a sprawling, auto-dependent office park into vibrant, walkable city.
    The Board of Supervisors voted 8 to 2 after a six-hour public hearing on new building rules and a 20-year blueprint for Tysons, its most significant land-use decision in recent years. The proposal permits Tysons to become a city of office and residential towers with sidewalk cafes, boutiques and manicured courtyards. It also calls for energy-efficient buildings, affordable housing, park space and a new street grid to filter local traffic. A planned circulator bus system would ferry riders among future Metrorail stations, offices and shopping malls.
    “Tysons is a downtown. While it may not be a municipality, it will be a community,” Supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill), whose district includes the employment hub, said before the vote. “Tysons is not going to be an auto-oriented environment. It’s going to be walkable for the people who live there and for the economy.”
    Decades of growth turned Tysons from a rural crossroads into the nation’s 12th-largest business district, home to the corporate headquarters of companies including Capital One, Freddie Mac, Booz Allen Hamilton and Hilton Worldwide. But it also created a sprawling expanse of high-rise buildings and wide, congested roads, prompting county officials to revaluate the area’s future.
    The proposal, which was recommended by the Planning Commission last month, permits the densest development within a quarter-mile of four Silver Line Metro stations being built as part of the rail extension to Dulles International Airport. At least 75 percent of all development would be located within half a mile. The plan places no limit on residential projects in housing-starved Tysons but caps office development at 45 million square feet through 2030. About 27 million square feet of office space exists in Tysons, with plans for 6 million more approved, including a future expansion of Tysons Corner Center.
    The biggest hurdles have yet to come. Excluding the rail system, officials have yet to identify a way to fund about $1.5-billion in road and transit improvements needed through 2030.
    The public hearing was the culmination of five years of planning. The county was under pressure to adopt a final land-use plan because the four Metro stations are slated to open in 2013.
    Supervisors Michael R. Frey (R-Sully) and Pat S. Herrity (R-Springfield) voted against the plan.
    The three Republican members of the Board of Supervisors attempted to delay a final vote until mid-July in what Frey called an attempt to “digest” the four hours of testimony heard Tuesday night “for transparency’s sake.”
    But the seven Democrats on the board said too much time — more than five years — had been spent debating the plan’s merits from the level of density allowed near Metro stations to building heights.
    “This has been an extraordinary process that has involved so many people through it. It’s been the whole spectrum, from business to landowners to neighbors,” said Supervisor Linda Q. Smyth (D-Providence), whose district includes portions of Tysons. “And everyone has had so much opportunity for input.”
    Public speakers included nearly 70 people, a mix of residents, developers and members of advocacy groups.
    Residents asked the county to consider traffic safety and to preserve the trees that buffer their neighborhoods from busy roads.
    Vienna Mayor M. Jane Seeman supported focusing growth in the area of the four Metro stations.
    “I’m looking out for the little guys, the residents who live in the Tysons area and will be impacted if growth outpaces the amenities and the transportation improvements,” she said.
    Landowners, who already pay a tax to fund the county’s share of the rail extension, said the plan was loaded with too many development conditions that would discourage construction. In addition to the green building and affordable housing requirements, the plan expects developers to fund a street grid and provide space for parks, fire stations, schools and other public facilities.
    “We can’t set the highest possible bar on every single front,” said Anthony J. Calabrese, an attorney for several Tysons landowners.
    But James P. Zook, Fairfax’s planning and zoning director, said at least five development proposals have been submitted to the county. “We expect more applications to be filed in the near term,” he said. “That’s an indication to me that there are those who believe that the perimeters of the plan will work for them.”
    Before the vote, Stuart Mendelsohn, the outgoing chairman of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, who is a land-use lawyer and a partner at Holland & Knight, said limiting density would discourage development in areas beyond the rail stations. “There will be development at some stations, but most of Tysons will take much longer to redevelop than it might have before the county staff severely modified the plan,” Mendelsohn said. “I believe this plan will be seen as a missed opportunity.”
    But Charles Hall, a founding member of the Greater Tysons Citizens Coalition, said that increasing density beyond the rail stations could push growth to outlying areas. “If you create a big swath of cheaper land a half a mile away, where do you think people will want to put their buildings?” he asked.
    Residential developers pushed for reduced affordable- and workforce-housing requirements, saying that the measures would make redevelopment too costly.
    The Tysons plan calls for 20 percent of housing to be devoted to those who make $51,350 to $123,240, or 50 to 120 percent of Fairfax’s median household income of $102,700. In exchange, developers would be allowed to build 20 percent more units.
    Lynne J. Strobel, a land-use lawyer with Walsh Colucci Lubeley Emrich & Walsh representing several Tysons Corner developers, urged supervisors to cut the lowest tier of workforce housing, for those earning 50 to 60 percent of the median household income in Fairfax. That would include annual incomes of $51,350 to $61,620. Starting salaries for teachers and police officers in Fairfax County range from $44,000 to $49,450.
    Tysons developers have sought to influence the planning process for Fairfax’s de facto downtown for years. The top campaign contributors to the 10-member Board of Supervisors over the past five years include McLean-based WestGroup, which is trying to sell its 24 Tysons buildings piecemeal; partners in the Georgelas Group, a McLean developer planning the area’s first transit-oriented development at Leesburg Pike and Spring Hill Road; and Pence-Friedel Developers, which nearly bought much of WestGroup’s holdings before the deal fell through in January.
    Tom Fleury, a longtime Tysons developer now with the Penrose Group, supported the plan’s adoption. “Tysons is the epicenter of the universe in terms of viable real estate development, and it’s been kind of in flux for five years,” he said. “The market isn’t going to wait for ever for something to happen. The time is now.”

    Transformed Tysons Corner still years away in Fairfax
    By Lisa Rein and Kafia A. Hosh Washington Post Staff Writers Thursday, June 24, 2010
    Fairfax County’s go-ahead Tuesday to remake Tysons Corner will not immediately bring bulldozers and wrecking crews to transform the traffic-clogged office and retail center into a model of urban living.
    The new Tysons is years away. The only immediate effect that residents, shoppers and workers are likely to see is still more delays as road improvements and construction of a rail line through Tysons to Dulles International Airport intensify over the next three years.
    Anyone who wants to profit from new rules that dramatically boost what can be built in Tysons must overcome big challenges: frozen credit markets, a glut of available office space and a system that requires landowners to consolidate their properties before they can win approval of their projects. The county must identify a way to pay for an estimated $1.5-billion in road and transit improvements to accommodate all the cars the growth will bring, even if many new residents and workers ride Metrorail. Fairfax cannot look to the state of Virginia, which is struggling to maintain its existing roads.
    “Everyone is trying to grapple now with whether what’s approved is financeable and economical,” said Mark Looney, a land-use lawyer whose firm, Cooley LLP, represents several big Tysons landowners. “Getting a property rezoned is a lot different from pulling the trigger on construction.”
    But behind the scenes some of the region’s biggest corporate giants, sitting on property within a quarter-mile of the new Metro stations, are preparing to cash in. The area’s biggest players are firming up plans to develop office towers, hotels, condominiums and stores at the rail stops’ doorsteps.
    With the county sanctioning unlimited density at the rail stations, WestGroup, the office park’s biggest landowner; defense contractors SAIC and Mitre; Capital One, the bank and credit card giant; and the Georgelas Group and NV Commercial development companies are expected to submit plans for urban towers, many with sidewalk-level stores. The county must approve each project case by case, and beyond a quarter-mile, the density allowed drops off dramatically.
    Most agree that when the first leg of the Metrorail extension opens in late 2013, the trains through Tysons will open their doors to the same parking lot-studded suburban office park that has defined the place for 40 years.
    “It took 40 years to get to this point, and significant changes are going to take another couple of decades,” said Mark C. Lowham, a senior vice president at WestGroup, which owns about 140 acres around the Capital Beltway. WestGroup tried unsuccessfully to sell its Tysons portfolio last summer, and now will propose a hotel and office center with condominiums on 40 acres at the Tysons East station along Route 123, Lowham said. The project would be phased in over 20 years. WestGroup sold three properties in its portfolio this year.
    Other projects include mixed-use towers proposed by Capital One and offices by Mitre, both at the Tysons East station, and a major expansion of the SAIC campus on Route 7 to accommodate more employees at what is now the company’s corporate headquarters. It is unclear when they would break ground.
    But the centerpiece of the redevelopment — two mammoth hotel, office and apartment complexes around the area’s two malls — is on hold, indefinitely.
    “We continue to take our time with planning and preliminary design . . . and will be guided by market demand,” said Rebecca Stenholm, spokeswoman for Macerich, owner of Tysons Corner Center, which won approval for an extensive expansion from the county Board of Supervisors several years ago.
    General Growth Properties, the owners of Tysons Galleria, has a concept for a similar project. But the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year and has no immediate plans to move forward, company officials said.
    To finance roads, athletic fields and other improvements, the county is turning to private interests for help. For permission to build more, landowners are expected to contribute to those amenities, including an internal grid of streets viewed as a linchpin to moving people around Tysons.
    But as the debate over the new Tysons unfolded over five years, civic groups feared the development boom could unravel the congestion relief promised by Metro’s arrival. A draft redevelopment plan would have allowed more density farther from the stations. The McLean Citizens Association, which represents about 26,000 households in McLean, Falls Church, Vienna and Great Falls, called Tuesday’s approval a “major victory,” because most of the heaviest development is concentrated around the Metro stations.
    “I would call it a positive,” association President Rob Jackson said. “It’s a positive framework towards an urban Tysons Corner that, if implemented correctly, will benefit everyone in Fairfax County. It puts density at the four stations where it should be, and it’s pretty hard not to be happy with that.”
    However, some business leaders say changes from the original vision — as well as conditions that require energy-efficient buildings and significant affordable-housing mandates — might thwart the plan at the starting gate.
    “They’ve said that grid streets are critical and yet they have discouraged the very development necessary to produce them,” said Stuart Mendelsohn, a former county supervisor and the outgoing chairman of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce. To avoid the “significant new requirements,” he predicted that these landowners will simply redevelop their property at suburban-style building densities permitted under the old system, leading to more of what’s there now.
    The family that owns the Dolley Madison, a complex of 581 garden-style apartments, plans to redevelop the 1960s-era buildings spread over 30 acres into 2,000 apartments and townhouses surrounded by an urban street grid.
    But the owners are concerned about the development conditions in the Tysons plan, which would require them to donate land for a two-acre park along with affordable housing and transportation costs, said their attorney, John C. McGranahan Jr.
    “That would be a substantial contribution,” McGranahan said.
    There will be other challenges. Over 40 years, Tysons has been carved into hundreds of properties with different owners. To ensure that the street grid, athletic fields and other amenities are built, landowners will have not only to propose redevelopments for their property, but also tell the county exactly what their neighbors plan to build too and where. It’s a level of cooperation with risks, because developers might disagree on plans and timing, several property owners said.
    The Board of Supervisors is likely to consider a financing plan for transportation improvements in the fall. On the table are new taxes and a system of tax-increment financing that would set aside a portion of future tax revenue from redeveloped properties for road upgrades.
    Supervisor Linda Q. Smyth (D-Providence), whose district includes Tysons, said she is hopeful that the road upgrades will be in place as Tysons redevelops.
    “It’s not as if tomorrow something is going to be built under the plan,” she said. “We have some time.”

    Transportation biggest roadblock for Tysons development
    By: Markham Heid Examiner Staff Writer June 24, 2010
    Fairfax County officials are scrambling to find the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to fund the transportation improvements needed to transform Tysons Corner.
    The Board of Supervisors voted lateTuesday night to approve a comprehensive 20-year plan to transform Tysons Corner.But that plan does not explain how the county will pay the more than $800-million tab for needed transportation improvements, which county staff estimates will come due during the next three years.
    “Everyone’s going to need to start looking at funding in more creative ways,” Supervisor Linda Smyth, D-Providence, told The Washington Examiner Wednesday. “What we have to figure out is the right balance between what the private sector pays and what the public sector pays.”
    Smyth and several other supervisors said the addition of four planned Metrorail stations bolstered by local road improvements would be the “biggest pieces” needed to solve the transportation puzzle in Tysons.
    But county planning staff say the Dulles rail project alone will cost the county more than $600-million during the next three years, along with another $230-million needed for road improvements during the period.
    County transportation officials estimate the county will face a $5-billion hole by fiscal 2020.
    Fairfax officials are considering a number of funding options, including a countywide property tax increase, new commercial and industrial taxes, and the creation of new tax districts within Tysons Corner.
    Supervisor John Cook, R-Braddock, said he did not support a countywide property tax, but said new tax districts would be essential to paying the transportation tab.
    Cook also suggested “congestion tolling” — or road tolls operating only during rush hours — as a solution that would both “raise funds and encourage traffic dispersion.”
    To make matters more difficult, county officials say a more populous Tysons will need more transportation options.
    “The new challenge we’re going to have is how do you move people around when you’re already in Tysons,” said Supervisor Jeff McKay, D-Lee, who stressed the need for new bus or trolley lines.
    McKay called the current situation “disastrous,” but said the comprehensive plan was a first step toward combating the area’s transportation problems, which he said could spiral out of control as Tysons continues to grow.
    “There are going to be headaches, but when you’re in a hole you have to stop digging,” McKay said.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    I was down there last May and the construction of the Silver Line is well underway. Lots of road construction as well between the HOT Lanes on 495 and an expansion of Chain Bridge Road and Leesburg Pike. And to go along with the Silver Line is a TON OF TRAFFIC :( What I find to be a drag is that even the side roads are congested!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Not only that, Fairfax & Arlington counties are in litigation over the HOT lanes on I-66, I-95 & I-395. One of the issues relates to the desire of Fairfax to have those roads widened while Arlington basicly says are you out of your mind? I believe Arlington has already spent upwards of $1,000,000 in legal fees fighting this, & it looks like they may win the case.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Arlington Co was also against I-66 being built from the Beltway to the Roosevelt Bridge. The reason why it is 2 lanes per direction and has severe HOV restrictions is because of the compromise. It doens’t surprise me Arlington Co doesn’t want the HOT lanes.

    While I may like a lot of the retail options in Northern VA, as well as its close proximity to DC, the entire region is a traffic nightmare!

    [Reply]

  583. As much as DC area residents become anoyed with traffic congestion, most of them cant put two & two together. Arlington’s population keeps on growing, yet congestion on local roads there is better today then what it was 30-years ago when there were fewer residents.

    Fairfax on the other hand is mostly wide streets & continoous sprawl. Residents there have a tendency to blame Arlington for the choke points on I-66 & not there own officials for there poor judgements on development patterns.

    There’s a video on Arlington’s web site called “Arlington’s smart growth journey,” it describes how the county grew with the introduction of the Metrorail system & how growth was channeled along the rail lines from Balston to Rosslyn & down to Crystal City. It is about 50 minutes long.

    Now Fairfax has the chance to correct the errors of 40-years with the Silver line, but some developers & polititions still don’t get it yet as the Post & Examinor articles I posted above describe in great detail.

    [Reply]

  584. The Disney Store will be coming back to Freehold Raceway Mall! From what I see in the pic, it’s going to be downstairs near the Apple Store on the Sears wing.

    [Reply]

  585. As many mall remoddles like FRM & lifestyle centers contain bookstores as junior anchors, this artical from “Retail Traffic” should be an eyeopener.

    Landlords Worry About Closures As Barnes & Noble Contemplates Alternatives
    Aug 11, 2010 7:51 AM, By Elaine Misonzhnik

    With Barnes & Noble announcing that it is considering strategic alternatives, including a sale of the company, retail property owners have to be wondering if they are in for another round of big-box closures.

    The chain is the leading brick-and-mortar bookseller in the country—a business that has come under strain because of a decline in discretionary spending, intense competition from Amazon.com and the increasing popularity of e-readers.

    Barnes & Noble’s management has kept up with changing market conditions by putting more emphasis on its online division and coming out with its own e-reader, among other initiatives. Industry insiders wonder, however, if Barnes & Noble might have to slim down its base of 1,300 stores as a result of the changing book market. The consensus is that while the retailer will likely tweak its portfolio, it is unlikely to undertake massive store closings.

    “The book business is challenging, but of the [players] out there, Barnes & Noble is probably the best positioned,” says Ivan L. Friedman, president and CEO of RCS Real Estate Advisors, a New York City-based retail real estate consulting firm. “I think there could be selective closings for both Barnes & Noble and Borders, but nothing like what happened with Circuit City and Linens ‘n Things.”

    There is no question that Barnes & Noble has been affected by the recession. The company reported a 3.1 percent decline in same-store sales at its 720 regular stores for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, ended May 1. Same-store sales at its 637 college bookstores increased 2.9 percent. During the same period, the company’s online sales increased 51 percent. Online sales currently make up about 10 percent of the retailer’s total sales. Barnes & Noble projects that in fiscal 2011 its brick-and-mortar same-store sales will likely range between flat and an increase of 3 percent. Its online sales will likely rise 75 percent, to $1 billion.

    The company’s stock has taken a beating recently. At the close of the trading day on Aug. 2, right before Barnes & Noble announced it was seeking strategic alternatives, its shares traded at $12.84 apiece. Its 52-week high is $28.78 per share.

    There are several reasons experts think going private might be the best option for the firm. It would enable Barnes & Noble to right-size its store portfolio and develop its digital business without having to worry about Wall Street’s frowning upon the capital expenditures, writes Morningstar analyst Peter Wahlstrom. In addition, the transition would eliminate the need to pay shareholder dividends, giving Barnes & Noble $55 million in extra cash on an annual basis. (Of course, if Barnes & Noble is acquired, it will likely have to pay some form of dividend to its new owners.)

    The question is whether it can attract a deep-pocketed buyer and what the company’s strategy might going forward. One encouraging sign is that Barnes & Noble founder Leonard Riggio has expressed a desire to acquire the chain in partnership with a private investor group, says Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates Inc., a New York City-based retail consulting and investment banking firm. Riggio already owns 30 percent of the bookseller’s outstanding shares.

    “Private equity wants somebody to bet their money with them and Riggio’s money will be in it,” says Davidowitz.

    Another shareholder, Yucaipa Cos. founder Ron Burkle, also appears keen on buying the firm, although industry insiders say Barnes & Noble’s decision to put itself on the market has a lot to do with its desire to get rid of Burkle rather than sell to him. Earlier this year, the company enacted a “poison pill” measure to prevent Burkle from buying more than 20 percent of its stock. The case is now in court.

    Barnes & Noble has also made strides in trying to increase its share of digital book sales. In the past year, it appointed its top digital expert William Lynch as CEO and launched its own e-reader, the Nook. The moves show that the chain’s management is able to keep up with the changing times, according to Wahlstrom.

    Perhaps most importantly, retail consultants feel that physical books resonate with many consumers in a way CDs and DVDs never did. And Barnes & Noble offers a rich in store experience with cafes and events such as public readings and book signings.

    “I do think it makes sense to shrink the [store] fleet,” says Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a New Canaan, Conn.-based retail consulting firm. “But there is always going to be a role and a place for bookstores. Nobody particularly enjoyed having a proper CD, whereas there is a value in having a physical book. Some people simply prefer them.”

    All of these factors make it likely Barnes & Noble will attract a private equity suitor. But that will take time and if the new owners will decide to close stores, those announcements will likely come sometime next year. Johnson notes that given current market conditions, it might make sense for Barnes & Noble to close anywhere between 10 percent and 15 percent of its stores. And any closures could hurt some centers by not only increasing vacancies but also potentially by triggering co-tenancy clauses.

    The good news is that the company has a very attractive real estate portfolio, with most of its locations in well-leased, well-performing centers, says Friedman. The majority of Barnes & Noble stores are leased, with 10- to 15-year terms. They average 26,000 square feet in size.

    Of course, if Barnes & Noble ends up closing stores, it will likely get rid of its worst, rather than its best, locations.

    “The liquidations of Circuit City and Linens ‘n Things brought a lot of attractive real estate to the market, so large box users were able to be opportunistic,” says Alvin Williams, principal with Excess Space Retail Services Inc., a Huntington Beach, Calif.-based real estate disposition and lease restructuring firm. “When a retailer is doing more conventional house cleaning, they get rid of the bottom 5 or 10 percent of their stores, and those stores typically have [real estate]challenges. With A-plus space, there is always a market for that. The B, C and D locations is where the headache lies for landlords.”

    As of second quarter of 2010, there were 17.8 million square feet of vacant big box space on the market in the U.S., according to the CoStar Group, a Bethesda, Md.-based research firm. The figure represents a national vacancy rate of 11.1 percent, an increase of 20 basis points from the second quarter of 2009. Net absorption was a negative 257,735 square feet.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    What I have noticed about Barnes and Noble and Borders (especially the one in FRM) is that they cut their hours. In NJ, outside of 2 or 3 locations, no longer are they open 9-11 every day. Most locations only keep those 9-11 hours on Friday and Saturday; closing at 10 the rest of the week and 9 on Sundays. Some locations even close at 10 every night.

    Definitely a sign of the economic times.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I also took note of the cutting of the hours as well. There was a rather large sign anouncing the change at the B & N at Palisades sometime last year.

    I need to ask a rather stupid question – was it nessessary to keep those bookstores open till 11pm almost every night to begin with?

    I can understand keeping late hours in urban settings like the B & N locations in Union Square or Broadway & West 66th, but not at most suburban malls.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    The Freehold Borders recently cut their hours until 10 M-S and until 7 on Sundays. I honestly don’t see the need to stay open that late, but understand why they some keep the late hours. The Menlo Park Barnes and Noble is still open until 11 every night, and having been in there around closing time, I can see it considering its location adjacent to the Cheesecake Factory and Champp’s. It makes economic sense for the most part and I also agree with you on the urban settings staying open later.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I went to KOP last weekend & keeping the bookstore theme going, I’ve noticed the Borders there is going downhill in terms of selection & really needs to be remoddeled ASAP. On the other hand, Despite being somewhat smaller than the older location, The GSP Borders is always busy just like Menlo Park’s B & N.

    A quick note for you Mallguy

    Downtown White plains is getting 4 yes 4 new restaurant franchises this fall & the best thing is they are all opening street locations & not in a food court.
    1. Buffalo Wild Wings.
    2. Chee Burger Chee Burger.
    3. 5 Guys Burgers & Fries.
    4. Anthany’s Coal Fired Pizza. If you haven’t herd of them, neither did I until a few days ago. They are based in Fort Lauderdale & they are opening locations in Edison, Ramsey & Carl Place as well. Apparently they are a big thing in south Florida. There’s one @ Town Square Las Vegas & that’s how I found them.

    Dan Marino is a part owner & if you go to the video press releases, he is being interviewed by CBS3 Philadelphia.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Last time I was at KOP two years ago, that Borders was really lacking and for a mall/shopping complex that size, they need to modernize that store. Yes, that is not surprising the GSP Borders is busy…considering its close proximity to the movie theatre.

    Having looked up Anthony’s and where in Edison it’s opening, it is near Raritan Center, the industrial complex and exposition center. It’s close to 287 and Exit 10 and there a a couple of hotels nearby, but that area of Edison is rather industrial, nowhere near the level of retail along Route 1 and near Menlo Park. Buffalo Wild Wings recently openened at Monmouth Mall.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, BWW semes to be popping up everywhere you look, sort of like Starbucks did a few years ago & most recently 5 Guys has been the one going through that rapid growth faze. Although Coldstone Creamery also was rapidly expanding not all that long ago, they have been melting locations as of late.

    I didn’t think Anthany’s was anyplace near MP based on the adress that dropped down. Is that near the Oaktree Road cinema & Shoprite? I’m looking foward to trying anthany’s when it opens, the food looks great.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    It is on the other side of town from Oak Tree Center. Anthony’s, again will be near Raritan Center, close to Exit 10…a very non-retail area of Edison (industrial, a few hotels that cater to business, Harold’s New York Deli and Raritan Center). Speaking of Oak Tree Center, the movie theatre in there has closed, as has ShopRite…the ShopRite then became a PathMark and has since closed…very sad to see the state of Oak Tree Center.

    Five Guys is all over NJ now (may be opening a location in Freehold Raceway Mall), as is Chipotle, which just opened in the old CPK in Menlo Park. I can think of at least 3 locations of BWW in NJ…I’m sure more to follow.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Sorry, I had to retrain my Garmin. LOL

    I went to the convention center there twice. That area through parts of Woodbridge is industrial as you said & is less than inviting especially around the tank farms. Perhaps I could get my girlfriends gas tank filled on the cheep? HAHAHAHA!

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    HAHAHA…and gas here is cheaper in NJ than in NY! They’re trying to make it more “commercial,” hence the reason Anthony’s wants to locate here. I think they’d be better off near Menlo Park.

    Speaking of Menlo Park, there was a LINE stretching into the food court for the new Chipotle. Honestly, I like Qdoba better.

    [Reply]

  586. The new Arhaus Furniture is coming along nicely in the Lifestyle Center. The design seems pretty impressive and I’ve previously come across this store in Tysons Corner Center and at Park Meadows outside of Denver.

    It’ll be interesting to see what the new H&M and XXI Forever look like. Both spaces are huge!

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @mallguy, And a follow up to my previous post, the new XXI Forever will be so large, it will have an escalator bank! Don’t even think the XXI Forever at GS Plaza has escalators! H&M will only be on the upper level opposite XXI Forever.

    [Reply]

    Joey Reply:

    @mallguy, the upcoming XXI Forever in Newport Centre might just be the largest single level location in the state! it looks twice, even three times the size of Willowbrook! lol, the freehold one is gonna be gigantic lol with 2 floors

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Joey, I’m hearing they’re now selling men’s clothing.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, From what I remember XXI Forever has been moving toward full anchor size stores since Myrvin’s closed up shop. The one in StamfordTC is a two-level junior anchor & same for Danbury Fair. Now those stores are becomeing the size of a Macy’s or Sears.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I’ve been reading about them popping up all over the place. I guess they’re taking advantage of all the anchor vacancies these days. The Freehold location will be 33,000 sf and apparently, FRM/Macerich was waiting on the leases in its current location to run out.

    [Reply]

    Joey Reply:

    @mallguy, Yes 30,000 square feet is big, but you haven’t seen big until you’ve been to the Forever 21 in Times Square. i was there today, it’s so big! 4 floors! lol. i bought a mens sweater for $20. pretty good. It also has the coolest digital billboard. Once in a while, the people on the street are shown on screen and a bubbly cheerful model shows up with a polaroid camera and takes a picture of the people on the street.

    I really like the idea of this junior anchor store size. I wish the former steve and barry’s wing in Menlo and above would become a 2-level XXI. The newport centre XXI is going to be a combined 22,367 sf. That’s still really big.

    Now, since XXI sells clothing for everyone, i think that they should expand into body care, especially for the junior anchor sized stores. They should have a section in these stores that looks like an old Victoria’s Secret Beauty but more modern and home-y and have Bath & Body Works/ Victoria’s Secret style products such as lotion, body splash, shower gel, etc. Also in the men’s section, carry a line of cologne, shower gel, body spray, and shave gel.

    Also, have a large shoe section for women, a decent sized section for men and kids, and also have restrooms located throughout the 2 levels.

    I’m basically trying to make the store resemble the look and layout of a Lord & Taylor minus the perfume counter, however the stores will have the Forever 21 look. I feel these changes will make the store look and feel like a small department store.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Joey,

    Is the XXI Forever in Times Square the former Virgin Megastore? That is a great space and it sounds like they took advantage of it.

    When the Freehold location opens up, I’ll definitely have to check it out. I’m very interested to seeing what else will go in the Nordstrom wing as there’s still space on the lower level, considering H&M is only on the 2nd floor.

    In Menlo, I could see them moving in there, but I don’t think they want that space as there is not as much foot traffic there as in the rest of the mall. Rainforest Cafe may be back there, but that’s not enough. It was always my hope that Simon would push for a new two level wing down that way with a Bloomingdale’s anchoring it. Believe it or not, there is the room for it. If that ever happened, then maybe a XXI Forever flagship would work back there.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Yes that’s correct. Where XXI Forever is opening in Times Square, that was VM. It was a great store, but there weren’t any real barggins to speak of.

    In the subbasement, there was a 4-plex theatre owned \by Loews that closed after a decade in opperation once the current AMC & Loews theatres now Regal opened on West 42nd Street near 8th Avenue.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I really miss the Virgin Megastore. Happened to be in there right before it closed…so sad to see that go. Next time I’m in the city, I’ll have to check out that XXI Forever.

    I remember the movie theater there too. Is that also a part of XXI Forever now?

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, You are not the only one to miss Vergin megastore. I enjoyed the DVD department despite the fact they were 40% higher than Best Buy price wise. Then again FYE’s prices were comperable to Vergin’s on most titles.

    I would think the old Loews space would be part of XXI Forever’s total square footage, but I’m not sure if it will be storage or part of the selling floor. I would guess it would be towards the latter because this will be a flagship location & you want to showcase everything you have to offer. That is more difficult to do in a suburban mall setting.

  587. Arhaus Furniture opens Friday. Next big opening is H&M on 9/23.

    [Reply]

  588. Happened to be in FRM yesterday, on the day of H&M’s grand opening. Let me tell you, that H&M is HUGE! The store is subdivided into different rooms and is the 1st H&M in the area to have a children’s department. Arhaus Furniture is also open.

    XXI Forever is the next big opening!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Drum roll… & that date will be?

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, They haven’t announced a date. I’m sure it will be sometime in late October/early November. The new Disney store should open around that time and a new store was just announced that will go downstairs near Nordstrom: Windsor…an upscale women’s store…the 1st in NJ.

    [Reply]

  589. Dicks Sporting Goods is taking 50,000 sq ft of the Filenes store at Danbury Fair Mall.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I heard about that. Still very shocked that Nordstrom didn’t move in there. Would have been a great location for them, as well as being in the largest mall in CT.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, What if Crate & Barrel took the other half of the Filenes space. Knowing you have nearby Candlewood Lake, an upscale home furnishings retailer might work there.

    Another store that could work in Danbury as well as Freehold Raceway is Love Sac. They are based in nearby Stamford & sell very plush beanbag like chairs & sofas called sactionalls. http://www.lovesac.com They just opened a store at Menlo Park Mall, with other locations at Bridgewater Commons & Garden State Plaza. If you haven’t tried one of these sacs yet, you got to give it a shot. You may start teaching from one & your students will end up either joining you or become extremely gellous.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I’m surprised Crate and Barrel isn’t already there (and I’m surprised they didn’t open in the Lifestyle Center at Freehold Raceway Mall…that space went to Arhaus Furniture instead) There is still the vacant, grassy space between PF Chang’s and Jared’s. Let’s see if they’re going to build anything there…

    I have to check out Love Sac next time I’m in Menlo or Bridgewater Commons. That store must have recently opened in Menlo because the last time I was there this month, I don’t remember seeing it.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I think Love Sac just opened. Each location on the site has a photo of the store & menlo Park doesn’t have one yet. What I find a bit surprising is that since that they are Stamford CT based, that the closest store is currently in GSP & not at Stamford TC. Although one of the sales persons told me they are working with Simon as we speak to open a White Plains location.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Do you know when AMC’s Fork & Screen is going to open at Menlo Park?

    Oh speaking of Fork & Screen, AMC is converting a 13-screen wing at a 30-plex outside Dallas to the new concept as well as cinema sweets acording to a recent press release. Lets hope the theatres in Newport, Freehold & Monmouth Malls get a similar treatment. But I have this weard gut fealing that the GSP cinema will be remoddled before the others do to GSP’s importents as a multi-regional draw.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I heard January of February. It’s an interesting concept and I hope it does well. With Freehold, I wish they would rebuild the movie theater adjacent to the lifestyle center, with a lifestyle expansion; with the Fork and Screen, of course. I agree on Monmouth.

    I’m still surprised that the AMC GS Plaza wasn’t built with IMAX when it first opened considering it gets a much bigger draw than Palisades.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, The new Imax projectors made by TXN are designed for an easy retrofit with existing cinema construction. They were created for National Amusements originally with AMC & Muvico following.

    None of the circuits built the giant Imax auditoriums that Regal did, however this was a quick way to play catch up & perhaps exseed the number of instalations compared to there compitition with a lower cost alturnitive.

    If AMC was smart the GSP16 , Empire 25 & Lincoln Square 13 theatres would showcase the latest inovations from Imax to Fork & Screen & beyond.

    Lincoln Square’s AMC does have an Imax there.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, FYI, AMC essex Green Fork & screen opens Wednesday 11-17-2010 with both concepts in house. That means Bridgewater Commons & Menlo Park theatres will be opening in the near future.

    The press release is online.

    [Reply]

  590. There is a Windsor in Jersey Gardens, it’s been there since it opened. it’s all dresses and shoes, etc.

    [Reply]

  591. this is opening up in the old ruehl, why would they use a such big space?

    http://www.charmingcharlie.com/

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Joey, Very surprising pick for that space.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, Perhaps a rent deal was struck. I cant figgure what else it could be.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, FYI Focus Home Entertainment a french software company is releasing Cities XL 2011, the newest building simulator game. I believe it comes out next week. I’m not sure, but how cool would it be if malls were part of the building package?

    There are 700 plus structures & in adition all public transport modes from bus to subway to airport are avaleable in this version.

    [Reply]

  592. The new Disney Store at FRM is now open! And there was a line to get in there. This location is supposedly a prototype design, but it reminds me of some of the early Disney Stores that opened in malls in the late 80s, which is a good thing as it brings back some individuality to the store.

    No annoncement on an opening date of XXI Forever. Also, FRM is apparently getting a new Santa set this year and he’s moving to center court. I assume it may be new as the one they’ve had the past three years between Nordstrom, Lord and Taylor and JCPenney cannot fit in that center court space with the Starbucks kiosk, the fountain and the seating area. They pulled up the globe on the fountain, so whatever is going there is likely to go over the fountain…we’ll see.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I know why… Santa couldn’t make the morggage payments on the old set & was forclosed on by Bank of America forsing him to move to another spot. LOL

    Just kidding.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, LOL. I’m surprised it’s not up yet. Past two years, it’s been up for a week. Maybe they finally got some sense to at least wait until Halloween passes.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, If you think thats nuts, the Macy’s in White Plains puts up it’s holiday displays just after Labor Day.

    What is the latest with XXI Forever at Freehold?

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Willowbrook’s Macy’s had their Christmas Department up in late August!

    XXI Forever now open.

    [Reply]

  593. Not surprised. Macy’s in Willowbrook has their “Holiday Lane” department up in AUGUST! I can’t think of Christmas when it’s still in the 70s and 80s.

    No new updates…I would think they’re going to open before Black Friday.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Is this going to be a XXI Forever junior anchor format store? It semes to be that way.

    Since I mentioned Macy’s having jumped on holiday displays too early, two Trivia questions for you to test your knowledge.

    1. What electronics retailer had christmas in august?

    2. A full length commercial from this retailer appears in what 1980s hit film?

    The answer from #1 should lead you to #2.

    Good luck!

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Yes, looks like it will be a junior anchor. They were supposed to be open by now. This space is huge. Pretty much will take up the two levels between Nordstrom and the main straightaway of the mall.

    In answer to your question, none other than Crazy Eddie, and even though I was really young, I still remember the stores, the commercials, and the movie in question is Splash.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Nice going. Next time I will need to find more challenging matirial.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I was right about my early post. Santa has arrived and the Santa set is up. They’re pretty much just using tree and putting Santa in front of it. And the tree is on top of the little globe fountain. Sad to see FRM went on the cheap with Christmas decorations this year, and for the record, they’re up way too early!

    I like the Nordstrom policy when it comes to Christmas!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Nordstrom semes to know what thay’re doing. Macy’s on the other hand, well…

    If I get a chance in the near future I will check on the goings on at FRM.

    Last year King of Prussia had two santa set ups, one in each building. The one in the Plaza was near Lord & Taylor & nearly took up the entire area between the stores entrence & where the three hallways merge to go toward the Court building. The display was huge!

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I’ve seen those in the past at King of Prussia. They are gorgeous. Freehold’s old Christmas decorations when the mall first opened were INCREDIBLE! They took up the whole fountain/stage area. Santa sat inside a two level house (Santa was on the first floor and on the second floor was a winter scene of animated child figurines playing with their Christmas gifts) and around the house was a snow scene with animated elves doing “Christmas-related” activity. When the mall was renovated their display was very pretty, but they’ve really cut back since then.

    In NJ, Short Hills Mall has the best Christmas decorations!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Nordstrom at GSP has it’s holiday lights up already, but it is much less intrusive then say what Macy’s tipicly does.

    A little GSP news for you, the manager of Lovesac is going to be taking over the new White Plains store at The Westchester when it opens in 2011 most likely in January.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Christmas decorations are now up @ the FRM Nordstrom. Finally checked out LoveSac…they are in both Menlo and Bridgewater Commons.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Do you love Lovesac? LOL

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist the joke despite it being bad.

    In case you missed my post on the MM page reguarding the AMC Fork & Screen theatre at Bridgewater Commons, it is now open & Menlo Park is not far behind.

    White Plains was very busy as I did my anual holiday walk through today. The busyest retailers were Target, Toys R Us & Wal-Mart. That last one was a bit of a shock because that particular location has been a perennial underperformer since it opened in 2007.

    The Westchester was quite busy especially the Apple Store. Meanwhile the Galleria was not as brisk, but not something to worry over. Well at least not yet.

    The strangest thing was that the streets were not as active as one might assume on black Friday. Oh yeah there were padestrians near the stores I mentioned, but the levels were not where they should be since walking from property to pproperty is rather easy & less stressful than moving the car from one garage to another & continue to need to feed the meter.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    They’re starting to promote and advertise Fork and Screen around Menlo. I think they said it will reopen in January.

    Freehold Raceway Mall was pretty packed on Black Friday. I was lucky enough to find parking pretty quickly, but the overflow lots were in full use on Friday! Macy’s (parts of the sales floor looked as if a tornado had passed through), the mall itself, Sears, and the new XXI Forever were among some of the stores where the crowds were as large as I’ve seen them. Nordstrom, JCPenney and Borders were also busy, but more manageable.

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Black Friday must have been absolutely insane. King of Prussia was rather quiet Saturday morning, but after lunch time the masses showed up. I was not aware of the dammage that mall suffered after the early October rain storm. Nearly the entire first level of the plaza building was under water. The food court near Sears was totally remoddled & only a few retailers remain closed most noteably Victoria’s Secret/ Pink & Express.

    From What I was told by store employees as well as cs personelle, storm drains couldn’t handle the volume & as a result water backed up into the mall. Not only that, the court building lost power mid morning & both Macy’s & Bloomingdale’s for a time could only opperate with back up generators. The source of the problem was in or near Cheesecake Factory.

    One interesting closure to take note of California Cafe Bar & Grill. They closed about a month or so ago, but I’m not at all surprised do to the changing of the menu within the last two years. Over all, the mall looks very healthy despite a few more closures since I went there last.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, That’s something about the flooding at KoP. In NJ, Willowbrook is located adjacent ot the Passaic River and much of the parking floods when that river floods (mostly in the back).

    Freehold will be having late hours the closer we get ot Christmas and the midnight shopping is always fun. Not sure if Macy’s is going to do 24 hours the three days before Christmas as they have done in the past (Freehold wasn’t even in on that as the Willowbrook, Menlo Park and Jersey City locations were) Haven’t been to the mall since Black Friday, but I’m sure they’re doing booming business, especially with many long awaited stores now open.

  594. XXI Forever is now open! This store is HUGE. It was an absolutle mobscene in there. Didn’t see a mens sections, as I thought this location would have, but the store is very nice.

    The rest of the stores that were planning to open are now in operation. This includes: Windsor, Charming Charlie, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, the (new) Disney Store.

    [Reply]

  595. Happened to be in FRM last night as they were open until midnight. I was really done with my shopping, but I like to go over there to check out the late night shopping. It was very busy and tons of people in the mall right until closing.

    [Reply]

  596. Not much of a surprise, but still worth mentioning…the large FYE downstairs near Macy’s has closed. Music stores have been dying out as shoppers have been turning to big boxes for lower prices and iTunes for more convenience (even Borders in FRM has downsized their music department). The store is rather large, so it’s worth mentioning, but there should be no problem for FRM to attract a quality tennant for that space.

    [Reply]

  597. QSR Magazine has an article on in cinema dining.

    Foodservice: The Next Movie Star
    Cinemas are enhancing the movie experience by offering more than soda and popcorn.

    Cinemas are enhancing the movie experience by offering more than soda and popcorn.

    Soda, popcorn, and candy have long been staples of the movie theater industry, but with ticket sales dropping and home-theater equipment improving, some cinema operations are expanding their foodservice options to appeal to more consumers.

    While the dinner-and-a-movie concept makes perfect sense to the guest, however, it’s proved to be a dramatic show for some operators.

    AMC Theatres in Kansas City, Missouri, finds it easy to hire great theater managers and capable kitchen managers, “but finding people who can put both of those together is tough,” says Justin Scott, director of public relations for the company. Seven of AMC’s 375 theatres have foodservice operations, with the possibility of expanding to 35 more in the next three years.

    Guest counts are predictable and staggered at restaurants, but at large multiscreen movie theaters, 800 people could sit down at the same time on a Friday or Saturday night and order food from their theater seats. “It’s like upscale restaurant meets banquet catering,” Scott says.

    Among the 5,8000 theaters across the country, nearly 400 offer more than snacks, says Patrick Corcoran, director of media and research for the National Association of Theatre Owners, based in Washington, D.C. Some have upped their concessions to include fried foods, while others serve trendy casual-dining fare to guests seated in reclining chairs who call wait staffs with a button on their armrests.

    “Until the late ’90s, you couldn’t get a first-run [movie] to play in a theater that served food. Studios thought it would be distracting. They wanted the movie to be the centerpiece,” Corcoran says. Disney, however, debuted a movie-and-food combo in the late ’90s and found that the two went together perfectly.

    But Corcoran is not quick to call movies and foodservice a match made in cinema heaven. “It’s doing two businesses, and you have to do both well. There are complications to it. Developing a system is thought-intensive,” he says.

    AMC hired two A-list foodservice executives to make it work. In 2010, it picked off Yum! Brands’ KFC executive George Patterson to become senior vice president of food and beverage, overseeing functions including concession optimization and in-theatre dining expansion. Jason Henderson, director of theatre dining, was previously corporate chef for Applebee’s International. Now he oversees menu development and execution for AMC’s dine-in theatres.

    AMC’s foodservice falls more in the casual-dining genre with such menu items as flatbread pizzettas, quesadillas, smoked salmon BLT sandwiches, Thai coconut chicken tenders, and bistro chicken mac and cheese.

    Guests can order these items at the bar, in the Fork & Screen theatre (with a $10 “experience” charge in addition to the movie charge and the food charge), or in the more upscale Cinema Suites where guests must be at least 21 years old. For a $15 experience charge, the Cinema Suites menu has a few additional items, the seats are plush recliners with more space, and guests receive mints, gourmet popcorn, and a hot towel.

    All details have been carefully choreographed. Chunky food is bite-size for easy handling in the dark, Henderson says. The plates are plastic composite to avoid noisy clanging. Servers, who can pop in and out at the whim of a guest’s call button, are careful to crouch, whisper, and wear black. They don’t whip out their handheld LED screen devices to record the order until they round the corner.

    While AMC is one of the biggest actors in movie foodservice, others have their own renditions.

    Muvico Entertainment, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, added its first fryer, TurboChef oven, and walk-in freezer to one of its nine theaters in the late ’90s. Its concessions sold popcorn shrimp, cheese sticks, chicken wings and tenders, fries, and pizza initially, and a similar line-up remains in each of its theaters.

    Although the set-up isn’t as elaborate as AMC, it still requires more mature staff than regular movie concessions do, says Mike Stover, regional manager in charge of concessions. More training is required, he says, including food safety.

    Seven of AMC’s 375 theatres have foodservice operations, with the possibility of expanding to 35 more in the next three years.
    Regarding the menu selection, Stover says that finger foods always win, as do items that hold heat longer for the periodic nibbling that goes on in the theater. Breaded curly fries, for example, hold heat longer than regular fries, he says.

    Stover is surprised that more healthful items, like dried and fresh apples and fruit drinks, do not sell well, even though guests have indicated an interest in healthier offerings.

    Next, Muvico will look into adding more sweets—perhaps funnel cakes or fried brownie bites.

    Two of Muvico’s theaters have a full-scale restaurant inside, Bogart’s Bar & Grill, with casual restaurant fare and pricing.

    Eight theaters strong, IPic Entertainment, based in Boca Raton, Florida, operates full-restaurant kitchens, each with its own trained executive and sous chef using fresh, local ingredients when possible. Its “concessions,” Tanzy Express, serves such items as crispy calamari, filet sliders, beef carpaccio, and rosemary-lemon grilled chicken skewers.

    All the seats are reserved seats, so there’s no pressure to find and hold a spot. Rather, patrons can come early to visit and order food, or they can order from their seats. “With people’s home theaters getting more robust, they need a better reason to step outside. We give them that reason,” says Mark Mulcahy, vice president of marketing for the company.

    IPic patrons are encouraged to become loyalty members. Free membership perks include discounts and event invitations. “It helps us market to consumers who enjoy the experience we offer,” Mulcahy says. The theaters also have a bar, and a few of the theaters operate a fine-dining restaurant called Tanzy next to the theater with a completely different menu.

    “We want the whole night to unwind in a fashion that is stress-free for a better night out with friends and family,” Mulcahy said.

    Odd that they forgot about National Amusements Cinema deluxe & Rave Motion Pictures who’s entire brand is based on dinner & a movie.

    [Reply]

  598. I’m sad to report that Freehold Raceway Mall will be losing its beautiful Borders store, as a result of closings due to Borders’ filing of Chapter 11. I’m shocked to see they’re closing this one, as I expected it to be a better performer as it’s attached to the mall and lifestyle center, but not the Eatontown location (stand-alone), which has a Barnes and Noble to compete against AT Monmouth Mall. This will be a temporary blight on the mall (as I think they’ll fill the vacancy sooner than MM has Boscov’s) and I hope and pray that Barnes and Noble decides to re-locate to this location from their dilapidated and cramped location across Route 9.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @mallguy, I know its sad the one in Garden State Plaza in Paramus is closing as well, but just like gsp Freehold is a good mall as well they wont let it sit empty like the management of Palisades center in West Nyack NY keeps empty stores for along time because of its interior Freehold and Gsp are beautiful looking malls. The big Borders on Wall Street in Manhattan is closing as well..

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Take a look at this article I just found on NJ BIZ, it will make you scratch your head.

    Grapevine: Xanadu growth Monday, February 7, 2011 12:00 AM
    By NJBIZ Staff Summer Olstad Author’s

    Xanadu’s growing pains
    Triple Five has approached the state about the possibility of making the Xanadu project larger, a key insider said.

    Some observers have said parking and financing are potential challenges to the project, but the insider said plans are to have as much parking as possible on the east side of Route 120, and believed “the Triple Five group will have the wherewithal to arrange financing,” in addition to the anticipated use of an Economic Redevelopment and Growth grant.

    The most troubling issue is “control of the out-parcels,” said the insider, who said the state would like to find a way to recover control of land currently in the hands of Mack-Cali Realty Corp. and Colony Capital. The state is “going through the legal process, in terms of who controls what.”

    If additional land controlled by the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority could be added to the project, “that would be considered also,” the insider said.

    Triple Five wants more because the proposed 2.2 million-square-foot Xanadu “is small” compared to the two largest malls in North America — the 4.2-million-square foot Mall of America and the 5.3-million-square-foot West Edmonton Mall — both of which are owned and operated by Triple Five. “Making it bigger is consistent with their business model,” the insider said.

    Meanwhile, at least three Triple Five executives are residing in long-term-stay corporate apartments in the Meadowlands area.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, In this economic time, I doubt that expansion project would get as much traction and attract the stores and/or residents. They do have an advantage with location and a train station, (the Meadowlands stop that begins at Secaucus Junction) however, I’d be surprised to see an exanded Xanadu get off the ground.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, With Tripple 5 behind the mall now instead of the morons from Mills, I think the project will finally get off the mat. It will not be what Mills nessessarily invisioned, but as you said the economic times will decide what expantions if any get built.

    At least they will repaint the building from that horable scheme that you see from the Turnpike. Who ever allowed that must have failed a drug test somewhere. I mean really nobody at Mills or in village hall said wait a minute take another look at this ugly monster? Tell me again how this is going to be esteticly pleasing & not a blight on the community?

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @rob, At Freehold, I’d hope that either the B&N across route 9 moves into this space or the current space for Borders is expanded enough to accomodate a replacement movie theatre for the one on the ring road; this one a “dine in theatre.”

    And I’m pretty confident GSP will eventually fill that space, even if it’s subdivided, as there are 2 B&Ns nearby (route 17 South near Paramus Park Mall and in the Shops at Riverside; both locations are 2 levels), and even though it’s Paramus, I doubt a 3rd will be likely.

    [Reply]

  599. went to freehold today and gsp last weekend. so shocked by the borders closures. i wonder what will replace them. freehold already has 20-40% the store. fye is gone in freehold too as well as the body shop. the mall is losing more and more stores. however, the H&M and XXI are great.

    Restoration Hardware closed at GSP, that place was too expensive. New York and Company as well, shocked by that too. Superdry and Affliction took over Ruehl. The spaces are so small, it’s a waste. Gilly Hicks should’ve been there instead. A&F gave up space in room 3 of the women’s side in Freehold and select US stores to sell Gilly bras and undies. And if you thought Ruehl was expensive, it’s Forever 21 compared to the insane superdry prices.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Joey, I wouldn’t worry about Freehold, even in this economic time. It’s one of the better malls for stores to be in within the Central Jersey/Jersey Shore region. As I said above, I’d hope B&N would relocate to the soon to be former Borders, or AMC would relocate/expand there and convert itself to a dine-in theater.

    Restoration Hardware has been changing their focus to be oriented more toward furniture than what it sold in the past. The Short Hills and Red Bank stores now have this format, although I am surprised to see the GSP location close.

    [Reply]

    Joey Reply:

    @mallguy, personally i think the Fork & Screen idea is terrible. the fact that kids can’t go see a movie and that they have to be 21 and majority of the theaters are the movie/eat and no regular cinemas.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, Some Fork & Screen locations are within AMC theatres such as Grape Vine Mills, while others such as the 3 NJ locations take the entire theatre. In the case of the former, a single wing is converted & the rest are left alone if not cosmeticly renovated.

    In the case of the latter Menlo Park & Bridgewater Commons had older theatres that needed to be renovated anyway & if they were in strong performing centers with good demos there’s no reason not to turn them into Fork & Screen sites. The West Orange theatre I thaught was an interesting location for Fork & Screen because it was redone & expanded around 2000 from 3 to the current 9-screens. I guess they have numbers that show that a concept like this will work in that community.

    Freehold I think could easily support a Fork & Screen location if a new theatre is built as mallguy suggested where Borders is leaving, but it would require16-screens in my opinion. 8-screens would be regular while the remaining are built to Fork & Screen/ Cinema Sweets standards. Now all potential customers have a choice to go for a standard showing or splerge alittle by having real food served seat side & not have anoying rug rats running around.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @Joey, I live near Garden State Plaza, its a very popular mall in a popular town Paramus they have no problem finding new tenants. Palisades center in West Nyack N.Y has PROBLEMS because of high rents and the interior of the mall. It has at least 12 -15 stores empty. I think ny and company closed in GSP because they opened an outlet store in Bergen Town Center nearby and I think there is a store in Paramus Park Mall. I think most of the malls in New Jersey are in better shape than Nanuet and Palisades malls in Rockland County N.Y

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, So true.

    [Reply]

    Zach Reply:

    @Joey, Wow, didn’t know the FYE had closed. That was one of the larger ones around. Oh well. Looks like there will be no more brick and mortar stores left at Freehold unless B&N moves into the Borders space which could happen but it probably won’t.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Zach, I hope it does happen, as that B&N is rather substandard, compared to area B&Ns.

    [Reply]

  600. this just in! lol H&M and Johnny Rockets are coming to newport centre! Johnny Rockets will open in the food court this spring (prob in the recently closed crepe & mrs fields spots) it will be sit down!

    H&M will be a 2-level shop located in the Sears wing! This is exciting! This was confirmed by the mall’s facebook page.

    Vans is also coming. the banner has been up for weeks in the old old Bath & Body Works spot.

    Newport finally has a sit down restaurant!

    Newport is heading in the right direction.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Joey, Surprising since there’s one in Hoboken. Where in the mall is the Johnny Rocket’s going to be?

    Newport Centre really needs to take advantage of its location (which has greatly improved over the years) and have a restaurants on their streetscape as Providence Place does.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I agree, but remember Newports streetscape is outside the mall proper. There are a few things that could be done to improve connectivity both inside & outside the mall.

    1. . Turning some lobby space on Newport Parkway into retail/ restaurant space. Some buildings have already done this.
    2. Moving the food court down stairs.
    3. Remoddling & expanding the AMC theatre to Fork & Screen like what they did in Menlo Park, but add aditional screens where the current food court exists. I guess you could add 3 or 4 depending configuration. Also keep in mind the current theatres are small & don’t have stadium seating.
    4. Reconfiguring the parking structure to add a restaurant row or a lifestyle section.

    [Reply]

  601. Inside Borders’ Disposition
    SCB interviews DJM Realty, charged with shedding 200 stores for Borders Group, to discover what the disposition means for the industry.
    Randall Shearin

    As part of its Chapter 11 filing, Borders plans to close about 200 locations and has awarded the disposition assignment to DJM Realty.

    When Borders Group filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February, it announced as part of its restructuring that it would be closing about 200 locations, representing about 30 percent of the retailers’ stores. Real estate disposition firm DJM Realty was contracted by Borders to handle the excess real estate, charged with terminating the 200 stores and renegotiating leases at other locations for Borders. Some of the locations that Borders said would close were in high profile locations in urban areas like Manhattan and San Francisco’s Union Square and high end shopping centers like The Domain in Austin, Texas, and Westfield Century City in Los Angeles. Shopping Center Business caught up with Andy Graiser, co-president of DJM, just after the announcement, to find out what the closing of 200 stores would do for the industry, and what tenants were circling to fill the space.

    SCB: What is the assignment given to DJM Realty by Borders Group?

    Andy Graiser

    Graiser: We have two things going on: one is we have to trying to sell [the leases] of the 200 stores that Borders announced it was closing as part of its bankruptcy filing. We are going to sell those leases during the store liquidation sale that will last 8 to 10 weeks. We are marketing stores all over the country. They are in a lot of different markets; they are in a lot of great markets, too. One thing about the Borders stores is that we have well located real estate. The other part of the process is that we are working for Borders to renegotiate existing leases to achieve rent reductions that will be necessary to save additional stores from closing and to ensure the company’s emergence from Chapter 11. The rent reduction program is one of the important parts of the restructuring program that needs to be accomplished.

    SCB: If I’m a landlord, and I have a Borders store in my center, what should I expect?

    Graiser: Every single landlord is going to get a phone call.

    SCB: What is the predominant location of the stores that Borders is closing? Are they power centers, mall stores, urban locations?

    Graiser: It is a mix. There are some freestanding stores, there are power centers and there are urban locations. It is across the board. There are two-story locations and single-story locations. We are seeing interest from furniture users and gyms for some locations. We are seeing interest from supermarkets for other locations. There seems to be a flurry of activity right now.

    SCB: If someone sees a specific Borders location on the closing list that they like, what’s the best way of expressing interest?

    Graiser: They should call us and ask to speak to Jim Avallone or Emilio Amendola. They can provide all the necessary information for the retailer to make a decision. Retailers have been circling the wagons quite a bit. There have been rumors about Borders for the last couple of months, so we’ve seen interest already. A lot of retailers have already started their work to secure some of these [Borders] locations. The only thing that was missing was to provide the rental terms, and that’s what we are doing.

    SCB: A few years ago, we saw a lag on the West Coast after Mervyn’s closed many of its stores. It took some years to fill that vacant space. Is this going to be anything along that scale where you have boxes sitting for years?

    Graiser: We were involved with Linens ‘N Things and Circuit City. We have seen a lot of absorption — not 100 percent, but a fair amount. It does take a few years to flush through a lot of the real estate. We expect the same thing here. It will take a few years to absorb all these locations.

    SCB: Will there be a bigger impact in some markets than in others?

    Graiser: It will have an impact, but it also creates an opportunity for retailers getting into markets. It allows a retailer entering a market to, in one fell swoop, pick up a group of stores instead of taking one at a time over several years. It allows them to spread out their marketing dollars as they are making that decision.

    SCB: What is the quality of the Borders real estate?

    Graiser: The real estate is well located in good markets. The demographics are generally very good. We are getting interest from specialty supermarkets, and they see this as an opportunity to open several stores at one time and market their marketing dollars more effective. The size of the stores ranges from 13,000 to 42,000 square feet. The average store size is 24,500 square feet.

    SCB: Some of the stores are in very prominent locations, like Union Square, Manhattan, and high end shopping centers like Santana Row and Westfield Century City. Will you market those locations differently than you will a store that’s in a suburban power center?

    Graiser: Everything will be marketed together. One thing about our marketing program is that you will have to live under a stone not to know about it. Prospective tenants for these locations will have a lot of access to a lot of information.

    SCB: What is the biggest challenge for DJM as you take on this assignment?

    Graiser: Since the bankruptcy code has changed, we have to do everything fast. It is not a challenge for us because we are well staffed to get all the work done. However, the landlords have to get through their decision-making process, including dealing with their lenders or joint venture partners. This can take some time and adds to the challenge. Many of these landlords and their lenders have been through this process before with Circuit City and Linens ‘N Things. Candidly, some of them were burned by not reacting quick enough. I think we will see the lenders react faster here. They will certainly be part of the landlords’ decision-making process.

    SCB: Separate than the Borders assignment, what other retailers are you working with?

    Graiser: We are doing a lot of work with Blockbuster, Mattress Giant, Toys “R” Us, and Advance Auto. Except for Blockbuster, who is also in bankruptcy, all the other retailers we are working with are good retailers who are just doing some house cleaning.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I would love to see Barnes and Noble move across the street into the soon to be former Borders. Will it happen? Not sure and not likely.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Visited the mall today & everything looks good. I can count the vacancies on one
    hand. Since this is a vacation week, tons of little kids were running about the mall. There was also a trackless train ride going around the first level. I found that quite interesting since usually those types of amusements tend to be opperated in a specific area to avoid comeing in contact with passersby.

    Boy what could be acomplished if AMC moves the theatre to the lifestyle area as we said over & over. As it turns out there maybe some hope on that front, according to some recent press accounts the AMC theatre at Randhurst village formerly Randhurst mall is being replaced. Odly enough the theatre will only have 12-screens instead of the current 16. I think it will be a Fork & Screen since they got a beverage licence.

    As a footnote, I asked if the AMC at GSP is going to add Fork & screen & I was told not currently because the theatre is too busy. I got the same answer at Palisades as well.

    NJT returned the bus stop to the front of the mall after having it off one of the side wings for a few years.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I’ve been so busy, I haven’t been to FRM since early March! Outisde of Borders, there are very few vacancies in the mall. Part of me wants to see B&N move into the former Borders (the one across the street is old and icky) as the mall and lifestyle area could still use a bookstore, but I’d be happy with a Fork and Screen…I’d even be happy with both! Once there is an available liquor license in Freehold Township, let’s see if AMC jumps on it.

    Speaking of AMC, there is now a possiblity that they will be moving into the old Fortunoff at Woodbridge Center, which should make things interesting! After examining the successes of Menlo, Bridgewater and Essex Green, hopefully AMC will bring a Fork and Screen to Monmouth County.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, If you look at the GGP malls with theatres, most of them are AMC. AMC it semes has similar arangements with Macerich, Westfield & a lesser extent Steiner Associates & Simon. I guess there’s a development deal between them.

    [Reply]

  602. Regional Mall Owners Seize Power, Lifestyle Center Tenants
    Apr 20, 2011 8:00 AM, By Elaine Misonzhnik, Retail Traffic Associate Editor

    As other retail formats struggle to keep vacancies in check, regional mall owners are aiming to take advantage of current market conditions to siphon off tenants.

    Over the past 12 months, retailers that have traditionally operated freestanding stores or taken locations in power and lifestyle centers have increasingly signed leases at enclosed regional malls, say four property owners and three consultants Retail Traffic spoke to. If the trend continues, it could help regional malls remain retail mainstays in their trade areas, these sources say.

    This coming October, for example, CBL & Associates Properties Inc., a Chattanooga, Tenn.-based REIT, will welcome a 46,500-square-foot Dick’s Sporting Goods store to its Layton Hills Mall in Layton, Utah. The retailer will take over a space vacated by Mervyn’s in December 2008. Meanwhile, Bed Bath & Beyond is currently hiring employees for its soon-to-open store at General Growth Properties’ Rogue Valley Mall in Medford, Ore. And Simon Property Group expects to open a 23,000-square-foot Container Store at its SouthPark mall in Charlotte, N.C. in the fall.

    All of these retailers have operated in malls before, but typically have preferred freestanding locations or spots in neighborhood and power centers. A unique combination of market forces has made it an opportune time to expand into regional malls, according to Jeff Green, president of Jeff Green Partners, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based real estate consulting firm.

    To begin with, there is available space. In the first quarter of 2011, the vacancy rate at regional malls reached 9.1 percent, up 40 basis points from 8.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to Reis Inc., a New York City-based research firm. Vacancy for anchor stores stood at 4.8 percent. Vacancy for in-line spaces was at 11 percent. According to data from the CoStar Group, a Washington, D.C.-based research firm, over the past three years vacancy at regional malls spiked by 67.7 percent compared to its levels prior to the recession.

    That has meant that whereas previously there were few opportunities for users of large spaces to build presences at malls, now the market has plenty of empty department stores to accommodate their needs, says Anthony Cafaro Jr., co-president of the Cafaro Co., a Youngstown, Ohio-based privately held mall owner.

    It’s also made the idea of bringing in power center and lifestyle center tenants more palatable to mall managers and landlords.

    “The old idea that it just has to be mall-based retail has to be thrown out the window because there is somewhat of an over-supply of space in the market,” Cafaro notes.

    Some tenants, meanwhile, have been concentrating on shrinking their square footage, a trend that has made it more challenging for them to find appropriate size boxes at power centers, says Gerry Mason, executive managing director with the New York City office of Savills, a real estate services provider. For example, prior to the recession, Dick’s Sporting Goods would often open stores as large as 70,000 square feet.

    But in the current climate, most large tenants prefer going smaller and enclosed regional malls offer a greater range of store sizes for them to choose from.

    Finally, the change in market conditions happened to coincide with the end of many 10- and 15-year power center leases signed in the mid and late 1990s, notes Green. So at the precise moment that big-box retailers have begun looking at smaller prototypes, many of them found themselves unencumbered by previous lease agreements.

    As for the regional mall owners, power center and lifestyle center tenants present an opportunity that is two-fold. At a time when many of them are struggling to fill holes left over by failed department store anchors such as Mervyn’s, tenants that are looking to lease tens of thousands of square feet can help drive down vacancy levels.

    More importantly, however, bringing in stores normally associated with other retail formats helps regional malls to regain their footing as the dominant shopping destination in their trade area, says Richard S. Sokolov, president and COO of Simon Property Group, the Indianapolis-based regional mall REIT with the largest mall portfolio in the country.

    “We are constantly trying to upgrade the mix of our tenants to enable us to maximize our market share,” Sokolov notes. In the past, “the mall just didn’t have the square footage to accommodate those users. But as there was an increasing number of department store boxes that ceased to be, that opened up a new opportunity. Then, as those tenants opened in the malls, they found their stores were productive and that encouraged them to pursue more opportunities” of that kind.

    New partnerships

    Dick’s Sporting Goods has been among the most frequently mentioned newcomers to enclosed regional malls. In fiscal 2011, the company plans to open 34 new Dick’s stores and three new Golf Galaxy stores.

    Virtually every major mall owner Retail Traffic spoke to mentioned that it has either signed leases with the chain or is currently in negotiations for new deals. The retailer operates stores that average 50,000 square feet and signs leases for a term of 10 to 25 years, with multiple five-year renewal options.

    Bed Bath & Beyond is another fresh addition to mall rosters. The retailer operates stores that range between 20,000 and 50,000 square feet, with lease terms that start at 10 years. In fiscal 2011, the company plans to open approximately 45 new stores across all of its concepts, including Harmon Face Values and buybuy BABY.

    Mall owners are also increasingly bringing in department store Kohl’s, which formerly gravitated toward freestanding units, discounter Target, electronics category killer Best Buy, furniture seller Crate & Barrel and The Container Store.

    “If you go to a lifestyle center or a strip center [today], you might see a Dick’s Sporting Goods, a Kohl’s, or Bed Bath & Beyond,” says Chris Macke, senior real estate strategist with the CoStar Group. “If you can pull a couple of those into a mall it makes the mall very competitive.”

    At the moment, the trend is in its infancy, says Mason, but regional mall owners are definitely working on expanding their tenant lists.

    “What we are seeing is a lot of discussion, a lot of back and forth,” he notes. “If you can take someone like PetSmart of GolfGalaxy, which traditionally went into 30,000-square-foot or 40,000-square-foot boxes and put them into a 20,000-square-foot space at the regional mall, it’s a real win for the mall.”

    Making it work

    The challenge, according to both Macke and Mason, is working out deals that make economic sense for the mall owners. Category killers like Dick’s and Bed Bath & Beyond drive hard bargains on rents and tenant improvement allowances, Mason notes. A tenant of that stature would look to pay about half the rent of an in-line mall tenant and would likely want to get a sizable build-out allowance from the landlord.

    Moreover, expanding retailers currently have plenty of properties to pick from for new store locations, so they are likely to consider only class-A regional malls as their new homes. Owners of class-B and class-C centers will find themselves out of luck.

    There are instances, however, when bringing in a lifestyle or power center tenants, or better yet, a handful of them, can work out to the mall owner’s benefit even if their pay below-market rents. Retailers like Dick’s, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Best Buy tend to be traffic drivers, and the regional mall, more than any other retail format, depends on creating cross-shopping opportunities for its tenants, Mason says.

    The strategy could be a particularly good fit for owners who have added open-air lifestyle components to their enclosed regional malls and therefore already have appropriate spaces to house these new tenants in without having to spend too much on build-out allowances.

    “They do absorb space and the economics probably work because of the traffic those boxes bring in,” Mason notes. “The mall owners want you to come into the space, shop at one of these market leaders and pick up a few other things while you are there.”

    The rents and TI dollars mall owners are willing to put into these kinds of deals vary with the property, but Sokolov says Simon wouldn’t be pursuing the new partnerships if they didn’t make sense.

    “Every negotiation is different, but obviously we are able to strike financial deals that we think work for us and the tenant thinks works for them,” he notes. “The nature of the deal is a function of the quality of the location, and the quality of the property and the business the tenant thinks they can do at that location.”

    Observations & thaughts

    This is the advantage super regional malls like Freehold Raceway have over malls such as Nanuet & most lifestyle centers. Oh sure there are lifestyle centers that draw as well if not better than a mall, but they are becomeing harder to find.

    As much as Palisades center on the Nanuet thred gets blasted by myself & others as being ugly & in need of a serious renovation, the one large positive is Pyramid did recognise the drawing power of the big box as an anchor along with department stores before it became trendy.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, Well i see retail traffic is recognizing Palisades needing a rennovation job, Like I said the way they are mentioning Dicks if they would turn Nanuet Mall into an open air center Dicks would open and asi said Century21, Whole Foods, coach etc a few restaurants and a theatre. Make the two malls diffferent one enclosed and one open air. Simon Property needs to wake up and when will something be announced we are nearing May they said January or February.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, The first question is do retailers see the Nanuet Mall as a viable location? We have debated this from several angles, but since Nanuet is not an A level location convincing a large retailer to come in is rather challenging since Paramus the 800 pound garilla is only 15-miles away. Don’t forget about White Plains the 600 pound garilla across the Hudson. This is not monkey business. LOL

    Seriously I don’t see how Nanuet can be sene as a viable retail location anymore. Dollars speak loudly & the local population is saying we don’t want to shop around here because Paramus & White Plains have all the retailers we want & Palisades is for out of towners.

    The second question is what is Rockland County doing to turn the tide? As of now the answer is nothing.

    To compare look at FRM & what they acomplished with a complete remoddle a few years ago that Mallguy cronicled at the top of this thred. Now before you go on a Simon bashing spree, remember even Macerich has it’s share of duds as do all the large real estate owners.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, FRM cemented their position as the dominant center in Monmouth County and the Jersey Shore region as a result of that renovation and expansion back in 07-08. Just hope they figure out what’s going on with Borders ASAP and I have no doubt they will.

    In NJ, if you have a dormant/idle mall and don’t do anything to boost its status, the mall dies (e.g. Manalapan Mall, Seaview Square, Fashion Center, Wayne Town Center).

    And to defend Simon (at least in NJ) they’re on top of their malls (sometimes a little too on top). Livingston and Rockaway were just renovated, as was Newport Centre, Menlo is in excellent shape, Riverside is doing well now, as is Ocean County Mall, and Brunswick Square is doing well (although I think more can be done, as I’ve explained in that thread)

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, I see what you are saying but something has to be done with Nanuet, Passing that mall on route 59 the way it is an eyesore, especiially the former Boscovs building its three years they closed already.. I know what you mean about Paramus and White Plains. What gets me angry with Simon back in December they have plans to be announced in January or February and still nothing they are leading the residents of Rockland astray. If they really had interest in this property they would be doing something. I still feel they should have sold this property t o another mall company.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, Third question… right now are the finantial institutions lending the funds nessessary for such a redevelopment of the Nanuet mall? There is a good chance the answer is NO.

    Remember when Macerich remoddeled Freehold, Danbury Fair & Queens Center the banks were very willing to give money for redevelopments & expantions because it ment huge profits from transaction fees as well as intrest from construction loans. Fast foward a few years & banks cant aford to make such commitments because they don’t have the reserves if a loan goes bad. Just look at the number of houses banks are holding with unpayable morggages right now. If they dump them on the open market, house prices will really crash & the banking sector will go with it. Don’t believe the profits that get reported on the news, it is mostly acounting trickery & cash hording that creats the great results for Wall Street.

    High priority redevelopments had there funding secured well before the banking sector had it’s convoltions, but now it maybe difficult to get the nessessary loans for a redevelopment of a struggling mall like Nanuet. Of course I would love to be proven wrong, however I don’t think the finantials or the demos are there & if gas prices continue to rise, forgetaboutit!

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, I knew it We are all going to look at this pitiful sight for god knows how much longer. They should have dumped it the same time they dumped the Bergen Mall. They have too much and thats why they are not really concentrating on Nanuet so they souldnt have forced Boscovs to leave. I get what you are saying Sean.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, One more thing you are right about Wall Street also believe me I used to work on wall street they always predict and many times get caught with their pants down.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, What did you do on Wall Street.

    I assume you understand the linkages between the commercial & residential real estate markets I described. Although two seperate parts of the real estate field, they are in many ways intertwined & constantly effect one another.

    When a mall like Freehold Raceway or any shopping center gets developed, one of the most basic concepts employed is known as “counting roof tops” & that is self explanitory. They do income & traffic analyses as well, but what has become quite obvious is those moddles don’t apply anymore since there are way too many housing units & shopping malls based on the nations population.

    The New york metro area is somewhat insolated from the dead mall problem but not immune from it. If you look at Atlanta, Dallas Fort worth, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Phoenix & Las Vegas as examples, all of those metro areas had explosive housing growth & along with that came millions of square feet of retail space. Do I need to say how this story ends?

    http://www.drhousingbubble.com is a good resource. It focuses on southern California, but the concepts are universal.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, I used to check stocks traded the previous day to make sure trades were correctly bought or sold I worked down there 20 years i was laid off in 2005..Sean go on Nanuet Malls website there is a posting nanuet mall gets a new lease. CBS interviewed Gromack this morning 11.30 a.m It said Smon has a plan but wont comment.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, Wasn’t able to find the link, but when I googled it the lablescar page was the third item listed.

    Oh I goofed with the link I posted above it’s http://www.drhousingbubble.org. Sometimes I have a habbit of doing that. If that doesn’t work, then just google it.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, I saw they are announcing the plans the end of may.They are knocking the mall down in September They are keeping the macys and sears buildings.Its going to be in the journal news tomorrow.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, Thanks, I’ll be looking for the article at work since I’m the research person there.

    Are they remoddling Sears & Macy’s while they are at it? I hope AMC signed on as a tennent.

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, Well they better at least remodel macys that building needs it so bad. They can afford to close it temporarily being that they have their other one at Palisades. In my opinion people are asking for Bloomingdales they should knock down macys and re build it as Bloomies and still own the property.People are also asking for Nordstrom I cannot picture them opening here in Rockland having stores in nearby White Plains and Paramus. What i see around Nanuet , Pearl River, etc the residents are not Nordstrom shoppers maybe a small volume who dont want to trek to Paramus. I would rather them open stores that i said Century21 whole foods etc. Rockland to me people looking for sales and bargains.Not spending 98.00 for a shirt at Nordstrom while you can a similar one at Lord and Taylor for half or less.

    [Reply]

  603. Stopped by the mall a little earlier today and it looks like there’s a little construction going on! Next to PF Chang’s, there was a vacant grassy spot…there is now building and construction going on there! No idea of what it will be, but I’m hoping for a sit down restaurant. There’s been talk of Chevy’s and with the one in Parsippany closed off as a result of the fire, maybe they’re looking to open another NJ location, and make a foray into the shore area!

    No word on the vacant Borders, but I’m still hoping Barnes and Noble moves from across the street into this location.

    [Reply]

  604. Taubman Brings New Tenants to Mall at Short Hills

    Taubman Centers signed several new leases at the Mall at Short Hills in Short Hills, N.J.

    The Cheesecake Factory signed a 10,000-square-foot lease. The restaurant chain plans to open its new location in July.
    Reed Krakoff signed a 2,800-square-foot lease. The retailer will open in early August.
    Swarovski signed a 940-square-foot lease for its new concept, Crystal Forest.
    Ann Taylor signed a lease for its new concept.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, Did you see this guy GM Said that Boscovs is reopening in the Monmouth Mall. That may be great news for Monmouth Mall. They are already working on it. Should tell mallguy.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @rob, Heard about it! Definitely is great news for Monmouth Mall! Hopefully this will get some more tennants to populate that portion of the mall.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Thought I heard they were supposed to get XXI Forever, as well. Many stores are reshuffling their spaces at Short Hills.

    They also got rid of one of their fountains :(

    [Reply]

  605. the cheesecake factory facade at short hills is strange. since it’s within the mall it’s facade is attached to the brown wall of that side of the mall. the goldish facade thing sticks out a tiny bit but looks streamlined into the exterior walls of the mall.

    i really don’t understand why CF has to open at Short Hills. Bridgewater already has one, and Newport doesn’t. makes no sense to me. The Bridgewater one is really small, but to me short hills doesn’t need one

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, What is so bad about Short Hills getting Cheesecake Factory? It’s a good 45 minutes to Bridgewater Commons from Short Hills.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Joey, Disagree…it’s a great thing Cheesecake Factory is opening in Short Hills! When they reshuffled sit down restaurants a few years ago, 2 left (Ruby Tuesday…replaced by Qdoba; Houlihan’s…replaced by Legal Seafoods). California Pizza Kitchen also opened, but it is rather small. There are huge waits at the remaining sit down restaurants on weekends during the dinner hours and an additional establishment will bring in more diners, give more of a choice and assuage wait times. This is one of the highest grossing malls in NJ and TCF has been on a long wait to get in here (with the closing of Short Hills Caterers, they were finally able to snag a liquor license). As to why the restaurant is set back as opposed to being its own building, I don’t think Short Hills could afford to lose any parking spaces (and there’s a legal requirement that they can’t), so when space was reshuffled to make room for TCF, you see much smaller spaced stores in that area of the interior mall.

    While I would have preferred a Grand Lux Cafe at Short Hills, I’m more than happy TCF is coming! It will do very well there!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Cheesecake Factory will also be opening at Danbury Fair as well with no date anounced as of yet. Brio Grill also signed on at DFM.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, On Yahoo there is an article about shopping malls changing their tactics.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, What’s it entitled.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, What the malls are doing using tactics to lure customers back to the mall to off set online shopping by putting in interesting restaurants and amusements such as skating rinks bowling rides etc like mall of america and palisades. They are planning to do that at that meadowlands mall. they are planning a similar mall as mall of america.I think many New Jersey malls more south may do that. Now Palisades has to watch meadowlands may take away from them.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Neither surprise me, yet I’m still surprised Nordstrom never opened up in the former Filenes at Danbury Fair Mall!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, It looks as if both Cheescake Factory & Brio will be taking up space in part of the former Filene’s store as XXI Forever & Dicks already have done. It is more or less a lifestyle center within the walls of Filenes.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Interesting…reminds me of a Pavilion at King of Prussia setup.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, You know something, that’s exactly what it is. I totally forgot about the Pavillion at King of Prussia. Ironic isn’t it that both centers converted a former department store into junior anchors & included Cheesecake Factory as partof the mix.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Joey, It’s still a longer ride, with many lights, between Willowbrook and Short Hills, and furthermore, Short Hills is a bit easier to get to from the Hudson Co area than Willowbrook.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Haven’t herd from you in quite a wile. Now where exactly is Cheesecake going to be in Short Hills? I cant picture where it would fit since the configuration of the mall varies from section to section.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Been a very, very busy couple of months. Cheesecake Factory is going to be by the mall entrance near Macy’s (adjacent to the globe fountain) that fronts JFK Parkway and is parallel to the mall entrance near Bloomingdale’s. Cheesecake Factory will take over Johnny Rocket’s old space and will also take over some of the mall space, as they have installed smaller stores for the interior mall in that area.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Thanks, now it makes sence. I assume Johnny Rockets is not moving to another location as retailers often do there.

    I find when I travel to Short Hills Mall, it is very easy to lose ones bearings do to the twists, turns & elevation changes within the mall. Plus there are the side passageways to & from the garages & parking areas that are easy to miss if you aren’t looking for them.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Johnny Rocket’s is done in Short Hills. The mall does have a rather odd layout and when I was younger, I thought it was rather confusing.

    Speaking of the ramps, they are currently rebuilding/redesigning them (on the lower and upper levels of the mainline of the mall between Macys and Neiman Marcus)

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Are they making the ramps wider? The last time I was there a few months ago I saw the construction & couldn’t quite put my finger on exactly what the perpus was for all the work. As odd as it was, the ramp system worked fairly well consideringg the malls configuration.

    I am a little surprised that Johnny Rockets left Short Hills in the first place since fast food options are lacking there. Then again that was done by design.

    Notice that Freehold doesn’t have such issues with either dining or padestrian movement except for the AMC theatre. Heck even Menlo Park doesn’t have such problems & that mall is one giant sloap.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Not only are they making them wider, but they are making them more straight. The upstairs ramp area also got a new seating area.

    Over the years, Short Hills has been trying to upscale their dining offerings, hence the reason they pushed out/did not renew the leases of Johnny Rockets, Houlihan’s and Ruby Tuesday. The only “fast casual” dining options @ Short Hills are Qdoba and Au Bon Pain.

    The only other malls in NJ that come to mind with steps/slopes are Woodbridge, Garden State Plaza and Willowbrook (except for the upstairs Bloomingdales mall entrance, most stairs were converted to ramps or brought to the level of the rest of the mall after the 1988 renovation and addition of Lord and Taylor (which replaced Orbach’s/Steinbach)

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Did you mean Menlo Park & not Woodbridge? Other than the main entrence, Woodbridge doesn’t have a sloap in the main mallways unlike Menlo Park.

    Happy 4th to you & Rob as well.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, Happy 4th to you as well Sean.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Thank you and to you as well.

    Woodbridge has a slope as on the lower level as you approach JCPenney…you also have to go down stairs or a ramp on the lower level to get to Macys and Lord and Taylor. There are also lowered seating areas on the second floor that overlook center court…very unique!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Forgot about that. I always found the center court area in Woodbridge rather cool. Sometimes the center court becomes a traffic jam do to the plus sign shape of the enormous fountain & upper level seating areas wich may cause constriction of padestrian movement if the mall gets extremely crowded. But as I said before, very cool.

    You don’t see fountains built like those anymore. One of the most impressive fountains in a mall can be found at Stamford TC. They aren’t large, but it’s how they spray water up 10-stories that’s the eye catcher.

    Check out a company called “Wet Design” & the fountains they have created. There’s one right here in downtown White Plains that is a scaled down version of there Balagio fountains in Las Vegas. It has the dancing waters just like it’s big brother on the strip.

    mallguy Reply:

    @mallguy, Very familiar with WET Design. Locally, they also created the former fountain in Roosevelt Field between JCPenney and Dicks/Bloomingdales Furniture. They were the ones who rebuilt Epcot’s Fountain of Nations, which is synchronized to music!

    At Woodbridge, they do not really run the center court fountain anymore…just the two fountains on the side. Speaking of fountains, I really miss the old fountain at Freehold. It’s been a while since I’ve been to STC, so I do not remember that one.

    And on the subject of fountains (and Orlando), I find the number of fountains in the Mall at Millenia rather impressive! Albeit small, the count is at 7 interior and 4 exterior.

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Didn’t know that about Roosevelt Field. I wish the fountains would return since the sound of the water would drown out the extreme eckos of the dome areas in the mall. When you go there you’ll understand what I mean by the dome & the eckos that go along with it.

    If you have a chance to come to White Plains durring the summer , go see the fountains I described above. You will find them at the corner of Main Street & Mamaroneck Avenue next to Starbucks, across from the Ritz Carlton. Best time is after dark when the restaurant & bar sene gets hopping.

    mallguy Reply:

    @mallguy, Menlo has the same issue in the Nordstrom midcourt, where there used to be a fountain, so I know exactly what you mean. And I have noticed it in Roosevelt Field, especially with the carousel. Beside that location, where else were there fountains in Roosevelt Field? The only one I remember was the one I previously mentioned.

    I think I’ve heard about that fountain, but a pretty cool one in the state of New Jersey is at the Pier Shops at Caesar’s in Atlantic City…it’s synchronized with music and lights!

  606. idk i’m iffy about CF at Short Hills, GLC should’ve been there.

    All will be well if Newport finds a way to open CF and either McCormick’s & Schmick’s or Maggianno’s with the new openings of H&M and Pandora.

    I think Willowbrook could use a PF Chang’s as well.

    As for the underdeveloped Livingston, H&M is expanding (no surprise here) into the old Steve & Barry’s.

    Livingston needs a Cheeseburger In Paradise/ Bonefish Grill and Pei Wei since Applebee’s is gone. It could also hop on and be the last NJ mall to hop on the super Forever 21 bandwagon.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, Hay there been a long time. I too rather see Grand Lux at Short Hills, but Cheesecake still works for me. I agree with all of your restaurant choices you posted above.

    Keep posting your ideas, perhaps some of them could happen.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @Joey, Newporte mall could us CF OR P.F CHANGS especially that the mall is near offices and near popular Hoboken.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Joey, I actually haven’t seen Grand Lux open new locations lately and although Grand Lux would work well, Cheesecake Factory is perfect for the mall!

    Newport Centre could use more sit down options and I’d hope they’d eveutally go the route of streetscape, the way Providence Place has. Livingston is also weak on restaurant options.

    At Woodbridge Center, they have started building the Olive Garden and Bahama Breeze, near the Route 1 and Woodbridge Center Drive intersection.

    There is also something new going up at Freehold Raceway Mall next to PF Chang’s…don’t know what it is yet.

    [Reply]

  607. According to their lease plan Freehold Raceway Mall will be the new home of a Brio Tuscan Grille to open in the former green space next to PF Chang’s. This is an interesting, yet good development…now we need to figure out what to do with the former Borders, then the lifestyle center will be complete!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I have an idea for the former Borders, how about Playboy club? LOL! Seriously D & B’s could be a viable option or some other entertainment venue of that ilk. I know you rather see Dave & Busters at Monmouth Mall, but it’s worth a shot here.

    Please AMC build a new theatre at the lifestyle area.

    [Reply]

    jhshifris Reply:

    A Playboy club will never work out but Dave & Busters or better yet, Chuck E. Cheese will.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I could see D&B’s at Freehold also, but I think that if B&N doesn’t snag that space and move from across the street, I’d like to see Books-A-Million give it a whril. FRM needs a bookstore! AMC could also move closer and a new building would expand the lifestyle area, as well a provide a more pedestrian friendly walkway to Dick’s (this location being one of the last new former Galyan’s)

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, What, you don’t like the Playboy Club idea?

    As soon as I herd about Borders closure I thaught about Books-A-Million & intisapated that you would approve of it. I also like the Crate & Barrel idea as well since there product lines stand out compared to other home furnishing retailers. Yeah,, Bob I’m looking at you!

    Any chance of a 5 Guys opening there? The one in White Plains has been doing gangbuster business since it opened about 2-months ago.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I think it would work better in Atlantic City thank in the Freehold Raceway Mall! Crate and Barrel has 4 locations in NJ (Short Hills, Paramus, Bridgewater and Cherry Hill)…a location in Freehold would definitely work!

    Five Guys was supposed to open up in the food court in the former McDonald’s, but haven’t heard any word since that rumor. There is one about 5 miles up route 9 in Manalapan and one about 6-8 miles south in Howell.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, The whole Playboy Club thing was a joke. Books-A-Million is my first choice for the former Borders. My other wishes would be Dave & busters, H H Greg or Crate & Barrel.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, They were talking on cnbc about Borders and they said that retailers such as BED BATH, DICKS,KOHLS,AND RESTAURANTS ARE EYEBALLING SOME OF THE FORMER BORDER STORES THAT ARE FREE STANDING..BARNES AND NOBLE ISNT ON STABLE GROUND AND THE INTERNET HAS HURT THESE BOOK COMPANIES.HAVE U HEARD FROM UR FRIEND AT SIMON PROPERTY ON NANUET MALL.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, I just called her, but the voicemail is messed up. Try her again Tuesday.

    Most of Borders stores are in good locations & shouldn’t be hard to fill.

    [Reply]

    jhshifris@aol.com Reply:

    No, I can not imagine H.H. Gregg opening up there. How about Best Buy or K-Mart?

    [Reply]

  608. i think D&B should open in the vacant Lowes 6 theater in Secaucus. the new theater plus all the restaurants will make it a new entertainment destination!

    i’m heavily dissapointed by the closure of all Borders, thanks to all the e-readers :’(

    I think Crate & Barrel or even The Container Store could take up the old Borders in Freehold even though Arhaus is there.

    If XXI didn’t open up inside the mall, it would have worked in the old Borders.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Joey, XXI is in a huge 2 level space next to Nordstrom…takes up the whole north side of the Nordstrom wing. I could be fine with Crate and Barrel in the old Borders, but I’d prefer a bookstore…just a personal preference.

    I’d also like to see D&B in the Wayne Town Center, but I still think Monmouth mall would be the best fit for it!

    [Reply]

  609. i know they opened a huge store, i’m just saying XXI would’ve worked in the borders space if it hadn’t expanded yet.

    [Reply]

  610. I think the lifestyle center wing should be torn down and another anchor (Dick’s Sporting Goods, maybe) should be built there. Or subdivide the Borders space and try to cater to local stores (trustworthy ones, not mom-and-pop, mind you)

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Pseudo3D, Dick’s is already at Freehold Raceway Mall, and it’s a 2 level location. (former Galyan’s) What should be done is the lifestyle center needs to be extended out to it with a pedestrian crosswalk/crossing at the ring road. They’re building a Brio Tuscan Grille next to PF Changs, so maybe they’re on their way to doing that. Borders needs to be filled, either relocate B&N there, open Books-A-Million or relocate/rebuild the movie theater in that spot. I always felt the lifestyle center was a little weak there, but filling Borders will put it back on track, now that every other store there is filled.

    [Reply]

  611. To jump into the dead Borders talk:

    I’m not sure of the size of my local Borders (Arizona), which was already closed before the GOB began. However, we have quite a few dead spaces in the area of major size:

    1. A Golf Galaxy (16,000 sf). Closed last year as an underperforming unit.

    2. A 36,705 sf former theater that hasn’t operated in any form since 2004. The ceilings have been filled in, but the space would have to be subdivided and the entrance redone to attract clients. It’s also in a more community-oriented center.

    3. A closed grocery store that operated in a 1980s time warp right up to its closure. The local company went into bankruptcy and shed some underperforming stores. PHX is the country’s most competitive grocery market, with four full grocers plus a host of national and smaller entries.

    4. A dead Circuit City.

    5. A dead Razmataz next to the CC. One of the two footprints is being reused.

    Yeah, not fun.

    [Reply]

  612. http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/844/restnp.jpg/

    here’s my plan for a restaurant expansion at Newport. alot of retail spaces are empty because i didn’t think of ideas.

    but Zara is in the old hair salon/CVS space and it will have a similar look and layout to the Bridgewater store. Lids and Charlotte Russe will relocate to make room for some of The Cheesecake Factory.

    LensCrafters recently moved anyway. part of H&M is going there too.

    Apple will take over the old Avenue space, i was going to add abercrombie kids there (as well as A&F) to the mall, but they aren’t expanding in the US anymore.

    The first new restaurant is McCormick & Schmick’s. located between Macy’s and JCPenney (which i plan to turning into Nordstrom). It will include both indoor and outdoor entrances. The outdoor entrance makes it easy for picking up and dropping off.

    The second is the ever so popular Cheesecake Factory. This is a big configuration, incorporating large storage space from behind Sephora and Bath and Body Works, part of Charlotte Russe, the police station, and McDonald’s. The size of the location is roughly around the same size as the Bridgewater and Short Hills locations. Since it is in such a unique area, it will have the same outdoor facade and interior feel as the Short Hills one.

    http://www.shopshorthills.com/asset/get.asp?asset_id=24522

    However, the main entrance will be flipped over to the left. It will also have an entrance from inside the mall in the former McDonald’s facade. The location will offer a unique Curbside To Go service located in the parking garage.

    Do to these new additions, the parking garages will be overhauled with a new look as will the outdoor facades by the new additions.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Joey, With the changes seen in that area, (I remember when there was NOTHING around Newport Centre when it first opened) an upscale mall could do well. From what I’ve seen, I’m glad they’re on the way. Yes, they do have a long way to go, but at least they’re starting.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Do you think a Fork & Screen/ Cinema Sweets could work along side Joey’s ideas above? I personally think so, since there’s more wealth in that area than what Newport Centre suggests. I said that way back up the thred, but it bears repeating.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I absolutely do! However, I’d still leave a portion of the food court upstairs with the cinemas taking a bigger footprint. It’s good to see some changes taking place at Newport Centre…if they eventually do go full upscale, New Yorkers will be more willing to take PATH for a shopping trip (the Newport station is adjacent to the mall)

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I’ve taken PATH there numerous times & liked the remoddle that was done to Newport Center. Kind of surprised of the lack of dining options considering the number of residents & office workers in that particular part of Jersey City down through the Exchange Place area.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, I have been to Newporte I didnt know they remodeled.They do lacK restaurants. they could use a P.F CHANGS, FRIDAYS CHILLIS OR CHEESECAKE FACTORY. I HEARD THE END OF THE MONTH THEY WILL BE STARTING WITH NANUET MALL.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @rob, They renovated about 3 years ago. The mall is much brighter, however, I do miss the fountain.

    Now that the Pavonia/Newport neighborhood around the mall is rather hopping, they’d be wise to have a streetscape of restaurants similar to what is at Providence Place.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, When you mean a streetscape of restaurants are you refering to the building on Washington Boulevard where you pass through on your way to Newport when you are comeing from the PATH station? I ask since the lobby area could be reconfiggured to occomadate such uses. This same building is also 1 of the 2 access points for the HBLR station that’s behind it.

    Perhaps you are refering to another location on the mall property? Interestingly there’s a Cosi on Washington a block away & a Starbucks in another office building that fronts a park on the edge of the Hudson near several highrise apartment buildings. Other than a high priced stakehouse & the Newport athletic Club, dining options are scarce wich surprises me do to the number of residents & office workers there.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, By streetscape, think Providence Place…Cheesecake Factory and other restaurants are on street level. They would work well facing Washington Street.

    It still amazes me how this area was built up from nothing!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, That makes two of us. Incredible, just incredible.

    As a footnote went back to Morristown last week & it is just amazing the number of dining astablishments in a community of 18,000 residents. From Morris Street near the train station to South Street across from the Ggreen & points in between, restaurants aline almost every block.

    Check out the Morristown partnership web site for more details.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I know Morristown very, very well and this has been the case around the Green for a few years now. The new restaurants are doing very, very well and have complemented what is curretly there. They also got their Starbucks back! (It was in the old Epstein’s building and closed when they threw it down. Starbucks is now in the new 40 Park complex. Communities around the US are trying to take Morristown’s lead and some are doing a great job!

    The Green is spectacularly done around Christmas! Definitely worth a look in a couple of months.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Went to that Starbucks in Morristown & it’s one of the nicer locations I’ve sene. Kind of reminds me of the one in Rye, NY.

    Funny thing was I got lost amung the hallways of Headquarters Plaza since they all seme the same & most of the retail spaces were empty despite the general foot traffic durring the day in a complex of that size.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, A lot of the newer Starbucks are designed like that one.

    Headquarters Plaza, back in the early 90s, believe it or not, used to be a little more hopping. The movie theater was always there, as was the hotel (yet it became a Hyatt only a few years ago). Bennigan’s used to be there, as was a large Sam Goody and a few other shops. Between the elevators and the movie theater, it’s pretty much just the Morristown Branch of County College of Morris, an entrance to the hotel and hotel’s bar, and that’s really it.

    The outdoor/streetside shopping works much better in Morristown anyway.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, I know exactly what you mean regarding Headquarters plaza. Believe it or not, that theatre was originally AMC & Cablevision baught it about 15-years ago.

    I could see downtown Morristown giving any nearby shopping center including Rockaway Townsquare a serious run for their money.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, True, it was an AMC…and the student discount in the late 1990s was $3.75! Headquarters 10 still validates your parking.

    With Century 21 opening (that former Macy’s was vacant for years) and 40 Park, Morristown could absolutely give Rockaway Townsquare a run for their money. If a large bookstore were ever in Morristown, I’d be nervous for Livingston Mall, which is smaller and closer to Rockaway. Rockaway Townsquare is pretty secure, as that’s the significant shopping mall for anyone living in Western Morris Co, Sussex Co and Northern Warren Co.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, I don’t think downtown Morristown has many empty stores or developable land parcels left. The last big site is where the Highlands at Morristown station is located. I saw the inside of that complex & I thaught it was pritty nice inside, but I hope the trains don’t blow there horns at night since the building abuts the station itself. You can here those horns perfectly as far away as South Street if not further.

    When AMC sold the theatres at HQ plaza full price admition was $6 while other large complexes were $8.50. When Clearview took over the price jumped to $8 & has kept up with other circuits since.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Morristown is pretty much set…New Jersey towns would be wise to follow its pattern!

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, What about the food court & the AMC theatre. I would move the food court down one level & convert the top floor into a completely new cinema complex with AMC’s newest concepts.

    [Reply]

  613. Fast-Casual Burger Joints Snag a Seat at the Table
    While McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s Focus on Broader Menus, Small Limited-Service Chains Drive Category Growth
    By: Maureen Morrison

    Published: September 26, 2011

    The hamburger category may be dominated by the big three — McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s — but smaller chains such as Five Guys, and even smaller chains like Smashburger and The Counter, have bright-looking futures.

    Most of the biggest burger chains have spent their recent efforts advertising items that broaden the menu and customer base. That lack of focus on burgers, as well as the boom in fast-casual restaurants, has left an opening for small and medium-size fast-casual chains with burger-focused menus to swoop in and take advantage.

    “Because they don’t serve breakfast and focus on burgers, they have a greater tendency to bring in the customer who is looking for a burger,” said Darren Tristano, exec VP at Technomic.

    U.S. sales for the top 75 limited-service burger chains rose 1.6% in 2010 to more than $65 billion, according to Technomic. Of those top 75, more than half are fast casual, but they only account for 2.6% of the sales. That’s partly because of McDonald’s, whose 2010 U.S. sales accounted for nearly half of that $65 billion. The top three burger chains account for nearly 75% of fast-food and fast-casual burger chains’ U.S sales.

    Still, fast-casual burger joints are a driver of growth in the mature burger category, growing sales by 16.4% in 2010, while the hamburger segment overall grew 1.6%.

    Here we look at some of the top fast-casual burger restaurants who are starting to reinvent burger chains as we know them.

    Five Guys burger Five Guys
    One of the fastest-growing burger chains and fast-casual chains, Five Guys ended 2010 with 737 locations and an estimated $625 million in sales. The locations themselves are no-frills and the menu is sparse: aside from greasy burgers, the chain only has hot dogs, mini burgers and grilled-cheese or veggie sandwiches. That’s it, except for a range of free, more unusual toppings such as grilled mushrooms, green peppers and jalapenos.

    Smashburger
    Founded in 2007 in Denver, Smashburger is the No. 2 limited-service burger chain in terms of unit growth, according to Technomic. Last year, the chain grew to 93 units, a 116.3% increase from 2009, and brought in $69.2 million in sales. As of early September, it had expanded to 118 units in the U.S. and had just inked a deal to expand to the Middle East.

    The chain was founded by Tom Ryan, former worldwide chief concept officer, U.S. CMO and senior VP-menu management at McDonald’s. It offers customizable burgers and the choice of a unique burger for every local market highlighting the distinctive flavors of that region, like the Atlanta, whose toppings include peach BBQ sauce, grilled jalapenos and vidalia coleslaw.

    Umami Burger
    This chain is small — it has about five locations in the Los Angeles area — with an estimated $7 million in sales in 2010, according to Technomic. The chain grinds its own meat, processes its own cheese and pickles its own veggies. Umami, a Japanese term translated more or less to “savory,” is generally thought of as the fifth basic taste after salty, sour, sweet and bitter, but it stems from the presence of glutamate, an amino acid found in tomatoes, asparagus, meat, cheese and soy sauce. Unusual burger toppings include shiitake mushrooms and truffle glaze.

    Shake Shack
    Shake Shack is the fastest-growing limited-service burger chain by units, according to Technomic. At the end of 2010 it had grown to $18 million in estimated revenue with seven locations, up from three in 2007. The chain in total now has 13 units, including one in Dubai and one in Kuwait. And while Shake Shack is now primarily known for burgers and, well, shakes, its roots are a bit different. Prior to its 2004 opening in Madison Square Park in New York, it operated for a few summers as a hotdog cart. Go figure.

    The Counter The Counter
    This is definitely a departure from your classic burger joint, from the ordering process down to the toppings. As the Counter’s website says, it was “anti-established” in 2003, and when you walk in the door, you’re presented with a clipboard with a list of ingredients, including grilled pineapple and dried cranberries, that allow customization. In theory, you can never get the same burger twice — that is, unless you order 312,120 burgers, you won’t have a repeat. The Counter boasts industrial decor, beer, wine, and cocktails. At the end of 2010, it had $49 million in sales, up almost 20% from the prior, and had grown 18.2% in units to 26 from 2009.

    Fatburger
    Founded in 1952 in Los Angeles by Lovie Yancey, Fatburger has grown to include more than 90 units after it began franchising in 1980. In 2010 alone its unit count was up nearly 14% and the chain brought in an estimated $70 million in sales. Noted franchisees include Montel Williams, hip-hop artist Pharrell Williams and Kanye West, who in 2008 brought Fatburger to his hometown of Chicago. He had rights to open 10 shops, but so far two have opened, although one has since closed. Fatburger also has locations in the Middle East and Indonesia.

    Thaughts…

    Keep your eyes on these names & others like Bobby’s Burger Pallace since they may land at a mall near you in the not to distant future turning the standard food court restaurant on it’s head.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, I remeber fatburger in palisades mall they didnt last. BOBBYS BURGER PALACE WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER FOR PALISADES THEY DO WELL AT BERGEN TOWN CENTER. FIVE GUYS DOES VERY WELL IN NANUET.BUT I STILL LIKE THOSE BELLY BOMBERS FROM WHITE CASTLE.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, I’m not a White Castle fan, but I L O V e Bobby’s Burger Pallace. I also remember Fat Burger at Palisades & I didn’t understand why they didn’t make it. You forgot about Cheeburger Cheeburger, a Johnny Rockets clone that lasted a few years next to Barns & Noble. That space has never been leased since they left. They did open a new location on Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains earlier this year.

    Even though this article focused on burgers, other concepts are in growth mode such as Anthany’s Coal Fired Pizza & Panera Bread to name two.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, Although we have Panera Bread in Nanuet I would like to see it open in Palisades Mall. Panera Bread is very popular popping up in other states such as north carolina etc. I forgot about chee chee burger, Johnny Rockets are on the 2nd floor. IHOP IS OPENING SOMETIME IN OCTOBER IN PALISADES. TARGET RENNOVATED IN PALISADES AND ADDING PRODUCE ETC OCTOBER 9.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, You mentioned California Pizza Kitchen in earlier post. FYI CPK signed on at almost every mall expantion & new upscale lifestyle center over the past decade & notice how at Palisades they have been absent.

    http://www.qsrweb.com & http://www.fastcasual.com are good resources on this topic as well as QSR Magazine.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, I get what you are saying but being that that there might be an opening in Palisades maybe they will take a shot because most of the restaurants on the 4th floor is casual dining. Maybe they wont go to Nanuet because Banchetto Feast is coming back to Nanuet when it reopens. California Pizza is more reasonable than Bravos. I dont know if there is any Californias in the Hudson Valley area . They are on Long Island WALT WHITMAN MALL, GSP IN PARAMUS,

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, There’s enough Empty space at Palisades that they don’t nessessarily need to go into the Bravo spot, but it may make the most sence if they chose to open a location there. Truthfully Palisades demographics aren’t conducive for CPK to be profitable despite it being a mid-priced chain. They tend to open locations in lifestyle centers & higher end malls, but not exclusively.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Rob, The next time you go to CPK look in the waiting area where the take out menus are, you will find a restaurant locations guide. Go ahead & take one, they look like little acordians.

    The first thing you will notice is how many of them cluster near Macy’s, Nordstrom & other high end department stores. Secondly they tend to be in Westfield, Macerich, GGP & Simon properties but not exclusively as I said above.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, I JUST READ ON YAHOO THAT FRIENDLYS MAYBE FILING BANKRUPTCY AND MAY CLOSE LOCATIONS. CHARLIE BROWNS ALSO ARE IN BANKRUPTCY AND HAVE CLOSED SOME LOCATIONS. IT SEEMS THAT SOME RESTAURANTS ARE STILL FEELING THE EFFECTS OF THE RECESSION.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, Bear in mind that both of those chains have been struggling well before the ecconomic crisis hit. Friendly’s had closed nearly half of there restaurants in the past 5 to 10 years. Besides look at the chains on growth mode right now…

    1. 5 Guys
    2. Panera
    3. Bobby’s Burger Pallace
    4. CPK (mostly over seas right now)
    5. Buffalo Wild Wings & other wing joints
    6. Cosi
    7. Seasons 52
    Fast casual restaurants are really the ones in growth mode & the fast food chains are losing market share all be it slowly. refer to the links I posted above for more detailed information.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Brio Tuscan Grille is coming to Freehold, supposedly next month. There has been talk of 5 Guys at Freehold, but nothing has been officially announced.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Sounds good. Is Bravo going into the grassy area next to the Cheesecake Factory?

    It amazes me how much atention “better burger” chains like Five Guys have received over the past year or so in the press. All the articles I read basicly point that MCDonold’s, Burger King & Wendy’s are the big boys, but watch out for the little chains as they bring something different to the table.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Brio is being built on the grassy area next to PF Changs. Supposed to open next month.

    There’s been talk 5 Guys is going to be where McDonald’s was in the food court, but again, nothing concrete.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, I thaught that wasBravo’s spot, since it just made logical sence to me. Now if AMC followed suit.

    Darden has been on growth mode as of late as well including Seasons 52 & Bahama Breeze. Also

    keep your eyes out for the influx of bakery cafe chains like Panera Bread. At least one will end up setting up shop in Freehold since they are verry popular right now. Just go to the nearest Panera location & you will see what I mean.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, According to the lease plan on the mall’s website, it’s Brio. Glad they’re putting something there. Panera Bread is already in Freehold, in a strip mall about 3 miles southwest of the mall on Route 537.

    Seasons 52 is good…been to the one in Mall at Millenia in Orlando. Would love to see them come to Central/North Jersey.

    For now, the former Borders is a Halloween store. Haven’t heard anything about what will become of it afterwards.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Seasons 52 is opening at Roosevelt Field in 1st quarter 2012 between Grand lux & AMC. I could see them opening at GSP/ Riverside Square or at Willowbrook/ Wayne TC since the latter already has a Bahama Breeze. If I recall correctly Bahama Breeze was going to open at Woodbridge Center as well.

    Saying all that, the best central NJ location for Seasons 52 is Freehold Raceway based on the similar customer base to Willowbrook & Cherry Hill. Then again at Willowbrook you don’t want to get tattooed. LOL

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, That’s interesting to know about Seasons 52. I could definitely see them at Garden State Plaza or Freehold Raceway Mall, especially if the lifestyle center is ever expanded, but I could also see them at Menlo Park…just no room for it now.

    And in my last visit to Willwobrook Tattoo Nation is still there..ugh…

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Menlo Park is perfect for Seasons 52. There are two spots facing one another that might work in the front of the mall. The first is where Rainforest Cafe is located & the other is directly across the hall in the furniture store. They might fit in at where Champs Americana is, but I doubt they are going anywhere.

    You think Seasons 52 could find a spot at Short Hills? Personally I’m not sure since it took what semes like for ever for Cheesecake Factory &CPK to land there in the first place.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Rainforest Cafe in Menlo is doing pretty well, as is Champp’s (and the latter had better not be going anywhere!!!!) Across from Rainforest Cafe is a new and downsized Fortunoff, which is, so far, doing pretty well. If they ever decide to build a structure where that stupid outdoor playspace store is (between Macy’s and Fox and Hound) that would be a perfect spot. Then there’s also the issue of the availability of liquor licenses, which is what took Cheesecake Factory so long to come to Short Hills (they were able to get the liquor license of the former Short Hills Caterers). Only way you’ll see it in Short Hills is if one of the present restaurants, with a full bar, closes.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, based on your last post I get the impression you are a Champs Americana fan? It’s the only restaurant of that type where I can actually see the TV’s since they are at table hight & not just hanging from the cealing. The last time I whent there was a few years ago when the Eagles & Steelers were in back to back wild card games that night & needless to say, the place was nuts considering that’s mostly Giants terratory around there.

    When it comes to regulations, I defer to you.

    You may have something reguarding Seasons 52, we’ll see how it plays out.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Champp’s is great! It’s a little nicer that a Friday’s or Chili’s, the food is of better quality and they have specials all the time! Plus, this particular Champp’s gets a great bar crowd. It’s the only one in North/Central Jersey and I’m surprised they haven’t expanded more. Also have been to the one in Fair Oaks Mall (VA) and International Plaza (Tampa) and they’re pretty hopping too!

    And speaking of Menlo, I’ve always dreamed of a small expansion to branch out from the wing where Rainforest cafe is, which could be made into 2 levels, to include a Bloomingdale’s or Neiman Marcus…not too likely in this economic climate…

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, If the ecconomic crisis wasn’t so extreme, I think Neiman Marcus would work at Menlo Park. Reguardless what gets built there, that office building must go.

    If you read some recent commercial & residential real estate articles, you would come to the conclusion that everything is fine & dandy in the ecconemy & massive growth was just around the corner. If you look at the latest Chicago roundtable article on the Malls of downtown Chicago page I posted today, you’ll see what I’m talking about. These guys never stop drinking the cool-aid.

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, I contacted Boscovs to see if they would come back to Nanuet or around the surrounding area they said they will look into it. They said they are looking into opening new stores. Maybe they could fit in with Menlo Park. If Sears would disappear next year they could put Boscovs back at Nanuet or Paramus Park. I wrote to clarkstown and Alex Gromack said now it would be sometime in November or begining of December. I cant believe they would wait till the winter weather comes to start demolishing the mall.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Rob, There’s next to zero chance of Boscov’s going into Menlo Park because the mall is to up market for that store. Paramus Park, Woodbridge Center, Willowbrook, Livingston & Nanuet could work if Sears starts closing stores or they take over the former Fortunoff locations in Woodbridge or Wayne.

    I can tell you first hand that the White Plains Sears store has struggled since it moved to the Galleria in 2002. Interestingly when JC Penny closed, there wasn’t the mass exitous of stores that you sometimes see when an anchor closes. What that shows is just how strong the WP market is. You could say the same for Paramus, Wayne, Freehold & the New York area generally speaking since so few malls here are dieing or have died.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I agree on Boscov’s in Menlo Park. It definitely may work in Woodbridge, and they do need to figure out what is going on with that Fortunoff. For a few months, I’ve been hearing rumors of an AMC Theater going in there, but I have nothing concrete on that; they are just likely rumors.

    I also agree that office building needs to go at Menlo Park and to my knowledge, the only thing I know of that’s in there are mall offices. The wing where Rainforest Cafe is could be converted to 2 levels, it could be slightly expanded and Neiman Marcus could go there. And parking could also be expanded with another deck.

    No way have we turned the economic corner…it’s evident here in New Jersey, as well as what you pointed out in Chicago.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, I just realized that as you walk from the main entrance of Menlo Park to the office building that we both agree must be demolished in order for the mall to be expanded, there’s some kind of underground truck tunnel that comes out between the two structures. How do you propose dealing with that. How large of an adition are we looking at 100K, 80K? I cant quite see it since the area semes rather tight since the ring road it self creats it’s own set of problems.

    AMC in Woodbridge would make a nice bookend to Menlo Park’s theatre.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, That current wing leading from Macy’s to Rainforest Cafe, I would propose building a second level on to it and then a court area in front of the anchor. I think the court area and an anchor can be built without having the office tower torn down…it would fit nicely in the parking area right in front of Rainforest Cafe/Fortunoff. The rest of the surface parking area can be built into a parking deck, and it can connect with the current parking deck between the movie theater and Nordstrom. It would come up to ring road and there would be enough room.

    If the office tower is turned down, a lifestyle center could be built in its place and fit nicely; connecting around to Macy’s.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Makes total sence. Besides Neiman Marcus, what types of retailers/ restaurants would you add. As for me I would like to see… Crate & Barrel, Cosi, the return of CPK & Bang & Olofson.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, All good choices! I’d like to see Maggiano’s, Blue Martini (they’re in Mall at Millenia), Rosa’s Mexicali, Papa Razzi and Joe’s American Bar and Grill.

    Interesting fact about Bang and Olufsen…they used to be located in Short Hills Mall, but chose to relocate to Downtown Summit.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Don’t you mean American Joe’s? Oops! I just had a kevin James flashback. Seriously though Pappa Razzi would work nicely as well as the other choices you mentioned.

    This will sound completely insane, but how about Harold’s New York Deli with it’s rediculus sized portions opening another location at Menlo Park. After seeing them profiled on Man v Food, I was like what in the world is that!

    had no idea Bang & Olofson moved to Summit. They had a store at Roosevelt Field up to a few years ago, but they closed. That is some serious electronics we’re talking about in both form & function.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Ah yes, the “West Orange Pavilion Mall” (but it’s really Burlington Mall in MA)

    If Harold’s New York Deli wasn’t already 3 miles away on the other side of Edison, I think it would work well. Doubt they will move to the mall from where they are.

    Summit rivals Morristown, Ridgewood and Westfield in terms of extensive downtowns in this state! There are a lot of stores there one would think would be in Short Hills! Bose would also work in Menlo Park. They’re also in Bridgewater Commons, GS Plaza and Short Hills.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Why do I have the sudden erge to buy a segway?

    What if Harolds went to Freehold Raceway in the lifestyle area. Now that would be great.

    There’s one word to describe downtown Summit, cool!

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I want a Segway too! I’ve ridden one before (in Epcot)…so cool!

    I think it would be good, however, I don’t see Harold’s moving to a mall anytime soon. The current one does a booming business.

    Summit has a good mix of everything. I’d also include Red Bank in that list of awesome NJ Downtowns.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, You got an extra $5,000 laying around? That’s how much one of those segways cost.

    I forgot about Red Bank, another cool town. Believe it or not, Asbury Park is on the come as well after laying dorment for a few decades. It’s not there yet, but if you check real estate prices & property taxes at 300 & 511 Cookman Ave. & at 1501 Ocean Ave. you would be surprised at the numbers. Buyers in these buildings are FRM shoppers if not at Short Hills.

    Well if Harolds doesn’t work & Stuff yer Face is a landmark in it’s own right in New Brunswick, then I think there are only two other options thanks again to Man v Food; one is known for tomato pies & the other makes ginormous ice cream sundaes called the octopus.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy,

    New Jersey RESTAURANTS

    Hoffman’s Ice Cream
    Adam Richman visits Hoffman’s for some of the best ice cream on the Shore. Since 1976, Hoffman’s has been serving up huge cones and enormous sundaes.

    800 Richmond Ave., Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742

    Chicken or the Egg
    Adam Richman takes on Chicken or the Egg’s Ludicrous Wings Challenge — 12 jumbo wings soaked in a spicy sauce. If Adam becomes the fourth person to conquer the wings, he wins a T-shirt and food glory.

    207 North Bay Ave., Beach Haven, NJ 08008

    Maruca’s Tomato Pies
    Adam Richman heads to Maruca’s, a 60-year-old New Jersey institution, for their original take on pizza – a thin-crust pie that stands out with its delicious swirls of tomato sauce.

    Boardwalk and Porter Ave., Seaside Park, NJ 08751

    See on Map »

    ACTIVITIES

    Point Pleasant Boardwalk
    No visit to the Jersey Shore would be complete without a stroll along the boardwalk.

    300 Ocean Ave. (Between Boardwalk and Parkway), Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742

    Funtown Amusement Pier
    Adam visits Funtown Amusement Pier, an almost 80-year-old Jersey Shore institution that delights visitors with thrilling rides and scenic ocean views.

    1930 Boardwalk, Seaside Park, NJ 08752

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I’ve been to all of the places you mentioned! Hoffman’s is the best ice cream at the shore…they have 2 additional locations in Little Silver and Spring Lake Heights.

    Asbury Park still has a long way to go! In terms of Renaissance at the Jersey Shore, that title goes to Long Branch. Pier Village=Wow! They have also done a fabulous job with their oceanfront. Broadway area still needs a litte help.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Some how I figgured that. Haven’t gone to pier Village yet, but I will go soon.

    Communities like Long Branch & Asbury Park are being rediscovered & as a result, development of condos near the beach & restaurants on the nearby downtown streets are increasing. Check out Cookman Ave. in Asbury Park as an example, however you are right in saying AP has away to go. They don’t have a grocery store near the downtown & you would think that AP officials would be begging a supermarket to open near the center of town.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, A trip to Pier Village is recommended, especially during the summer. Long Branch does have a FoodTown in the city.

    Outside of the beachfront and Cookman, Asbury, still has a very, very long way to go!

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Went to KOP yesterday & there’s a whole lot going on there. First of all a complete section of stores were relocated as part of a new wing expantion. This is where the old Warnamaker’s/ Macy’s once stood. As a result, the access to the parking garage was also remoddled.

    Recent store moves & aditions include…
    1. Coldstone Creamery moved down stairs near Jc Penny.
    2. Old Navy is in the former Borders location in the Court.
    3. Modell’s is in a smaller space not far from the old store.
    4. LL Bean opened in the former Old Navy location in September.
    5. Mammoth a retailer of home theatre electronics & furniture opened last May in the plaza between Bose & Pizza Market restaurant. http://www.mammothrooms.com You need to check this place out as well as the other aditions & changes that were made through outt the mall.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Thanks for the updates! I was wondering where LL Bean was going to be…they just opened in Paramus Park, but I haven’t made it over there. Did KoP announce what is going in that new wing?

    Spent Black Friday at Freehold Raceway Mall. Was pretty busy (and they were open since midnight) and by the time I left in the afternoon, the traffic around the mall was monumental. Also went to the Grove at Shrewsbury later in the evening. Was a little more quiet, but from what I heard, was quite busy during the day.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, No anouncements as of yet, but they will be soon. I forgot to add that Wegmans will be opening soon close to the mall. I’m not sure of the location, But they are comeing acording to a sales person at Crate & Barrel.

    Check out the link I posted above.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Wegmans North Golph & Warner Roads King Of Prussia, PA 19406. Opening 2012.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Not one bit surprised to see a Wegman’s there. They’re trying to exand on their current states…just wish they’d solidify in NJ.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, If A & P keeps on closing stores particularly in the northeast, that can open the door for Wegmans, Fairway & others to move in. This will put pressure on ShopRite, Royal Ahold, Safeway & Croger with there various nameplates to compete more agressively on price, selection & even store location.

  614. Simon to Expand, Connect the Venues at King of Prussia Mall
    Dec 2, 2011 1:06 PM, Staff Reports

    Simon Property Group Inc. will unify the two main shopping venues of King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, Pa. The project will involve a multi-level expansion connecting the five-anchor 1.68-million-sq.-ft. plaza with the two-anchor 902,000-sq.-ft. food court. The expansion will include approximately 40 new retailers, several restaurants, an upscale dining pavilion and a customer lounge, altogether totaling 140,000 sq. ft. of space. Simon timed the project to coincide with the center’s 50th anniversary.

    “This expansion will not only enhance the shopping experience, providing an enclosed retail and amenity-filled link between the two properties, but also create much needed additional space to accommodate the demand that exists for this property,” said David Contis, president of Simon Malls. “Given the productivity of this property, there is significant demand from retailers and restauranteurs unique to the market wishing to cater to our clientele.”

    [Reply]

    Pseudo3D Reply:

    Too bad that KOP has been claiming the “largest mall” prize for all this time, even though they’ve been two separate centers for all this time.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Pseudo3D, I’m not sure what you mean. The square footage numbers indicate that KOP is the largest retail center in the US. MOA on the other hand, is the largest mall over all. The confusion lies in the fact MOA has 170,000 square feet of NON-retail space including the theme park in the center of the building.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I take it this expansion and connection is going to take place at the point of the former Wanamaker’s/Strawbridges?

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, The connection between the Plaza & Court will be close to where the current access is now. The former Wanamakers building is being reconstructed into 10 aditional store spaces, but is not tied to this connection project.

    Remember that the current walkway access is between Lord & Taylor & Neiman Marcus on the Plaza side. The Wanamakers building is on the other side of Neimans. I just wonder how this connection will interface with the court building. As of now you need to go through Macy’s to reach the walkway, wich can be a bottleneck at times with cars passing through two areas.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I would not be surprised if they lower the roadway so it passes under the mall…kind of like Queens Center or Scottsdale Fashion Square. Otherwise, that’s going to be a very long ring road.

    I doubt Macy’s will be blocked from highway visiblity (that also requires a parking deck closure/demolition/renovation), so it would not surprise me it connects to Macy’s or wraps around Macys and connects behind it.

    I’m really curious as to how they’re going to do this.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Was looking at the directory a little while ago & I cant quite place where the connections will be. Part of the current ring road off Mall Boulevard does dive down to allow for the current walkway.

    My GF Did see construction ajacent to the main parking garage near where the former Wanamakers building stood, & she thinks that part of the garage is going to be reconstructed. The garage basicly wraps around the former Wanamakers, Lord & Taylor & Nordstrom stores.

    The placement of the existing Macy’s creates a challenge to create a passage that gets you between the two sections quickly, but doesn’t require you to walk half way to Norristown in the process. I guess it wont matter since the entire walkway will be lined with more stores & restaurants anyway.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Always thought there were two parking decks at the Plaza-the first stretching from Lord and Taylor, surrounding Nordstrom and to Sears, the second between the Wanamakers building and Neiman Marcus.

    I am very intrigued by this connection and think it’ll definitely benefit the mall. At least you won’t have to, in the winter, put on a coat to walk between the two.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, You maybe right in regards to the parking deck layout, but I do recall seeing Nordstrom signs after passing Neiman Marcus. The structure isn’t squared off, rather it follows the Plazas curviture. You will notice this as you drive through. In several locations the turns are less than 45 degrees.

    If you look at the press release below, take note of the fact that there’s going to be another food court added. They say “dining pavillion,” but this will be the forth food area in the mall. I hope it will be different than a tipical mall food court, besides veriety is good.

    Come to think of it, MOA has only two food courts on aposing sides of the third level, while KoP will be constructing there forth. The FC areas at MOA are tipical to most malls in the US in terms of design, layout & offerings. Only the FC near Sears at KoP is what you might call tipical & even that maybe changing as we speak.

    [Reply]

  615. @ Mallguy, Here’s Simon’s press release on the project.

    Major Expansion of King of Prussia Mall
    Simon Property Group to Develop 140,000 Square Feet of New Retail and Restaurant Space Connecting The Plaza and The Court KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa., Nov. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ –

    Simon Property Group, Inc. (NYSE: SPG), the country’s largest owner, developer and manager of high quality retail real estate, announced today its plan to unify the two main shopping venues of King of Prussia Mall, expanding one of America’s most productive and iconic retail destinations.

    This noteworthy project will entail an enclosed multi-level expansion connecting the five-anchor, 1,680,000 square foot Plaza, and the two-anchor, 902,000 square foot Court. The 140,000 square foot expansion will include approximately 40 exciting new retailers, several restaurants, an upscale dining pavilion and customer lounge. The timing of the project coincides with the upcoming 50th anniversary of the center and will further enhance one of the nation’s largest and most successful retail venues.

    “Within weeks of increasing its ownership and assuming control of the operations of the King of Prussia Mall, Simon presented their unique vision for the property and we’re excited to work with them on making it a reality,” said Robert Loeper, Upper Merion Township Planner.

    “This expansion will not only enhance the shopping experience, providing an enclosed retail and amenity-filled link between the two properties, but also creates much needed additional space to accommodate the demand that exists for this property,” said David Contis, President of Simon Malls. “Given the productivity of this property, there is significant demand from retailers and restauranteurs unique to the market wishing to cater to our clientele.”

    Already underway is a major redevelopment of the center which will convert the former Strawbridge’s building into a home for ten new retailers in a two-story, 100,000 square foot space. This redevelopment is set to debut in time for next year’s holiday season.

    There are always new retailers opening at King of Prussia. New stores in 2011 have included: L.L. Bean, Love Culture, lululemon athletica, LUSH, Mammoth, Swim ‘n Sport, True Religion Brand Jeans, Vera Bradley, and Wolford Boutique.

    About King of Prussia Mall

    King of Prussia Mall, 96% owned and managed by Simon Property Group, is the East Coast’s premier shopping destination. Featuring seven department stores, more than 400 retailers and 40 restaurants, King of Prussia is easily accessible from Route 202, I-76, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. King of Prussia is within one mile of Valley Forge National Historic Park and the Valley Forge Convention Center. For more information about King of Prussia Mall, visit http://www.kingofprussiamall.com.

    [Reply]

  616. Yesterday, I happened to have visited 3 malls in North Jersey in the interests of getting some Christmas shopping done in relation to where I was. I visited Rockaway Townsquare, Livingston Mall and The Mall at Short Hills. We’ve heard the reports that Black Friday sales were strong, but after what I saw yesterday, I doubt those sales will be sustaining throughout the holiday season. In all 3 malls, I readily found parking near the door (and saw plenty available). All three malls didn’t seem crowded and at Short Hills, those there didn’t seem to be overwhelmed with carrying their purchases, let alone carrying any purchases.

    Anothrer observation…I really must question the need and reasoning for renovating Livingston and Rockaway back in 2008. The carpeting was a bad choice and the use of earth tones make the malls darker…I liked it better the way they were.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I think the goal is to front load the christmas sales to give the impression that things are better than they actually appear. As evidence, can you recall a time when christmas sales began thanksgiving night or earlier? Many retailers are desperite & need all the good news they can muster.

    Most sales & store growth for US retailers are now outside the states, in such countries as Canada. There have been several articles on this trend in recent months in both US & Canadian publications. The largest of these is Target taking over most Zellers stores from The Bay. Other notable transactions include GAP & Best Buy.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Here’s an article from the NYT that proves my point & references what you observed last weekend.

    As Sales Lag, Stores Shuffle the Calendar

    By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD

    When is the final Saturday before Christmas? Don’t bother consulting a calendar if you’re shopping at Macy’s, Sears or J. C. Penney.

    They’ve moved it forward a week.

    A sharp drop in shopping since Thanksgiving weekend has prompted worried retailers to slash prices, extend specials, stay open later — and rewrite the calendar.

    Usually one of the most heavily discounted shopping days of the year, the Saturday before Christmas — it falls on Dec. 24 this year — is too crucial to retailers’ holiday sales to be left in the hands of procrastinating Christmas Eve shoppers. Instead, many of the promotions pegged to “Super Saturday,” as the day is known in the retail industry, are now scheduled for this Saturday — a full eight days before Christmas.

    “If you wait until the 24th, you have no time to recover,” said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, which tracks consumer spending.

    But not all stores are making the switch. And that is creating a good amount of confusion in the retail world.

    “It’s chaotic,” said Dan Biederman, president of the 34th Street Partnership, an organization in Midtown Manhattan that will help market the Saturday promotions for retailers. “The world seems to be split.”

    Mr. Biederman’s organization was set to do its marketing on Dec. 24, including putting up an oversize digital sign that counts the number of shopping bags people in the area carry on the all-important Saturday. Then the group learned that about half of the national chains represented on 34th Street, like Macy’s, J. C. Penney and Aéropostale, would hold their big sales this Saturday, while the other half, including Skechers, Victoria’s Secret and Mango, were leaning toward Dec. 24, said Tricia Lewis, director of digital media for the partnership.

    Even within companies, there is discord: Gap Inc. said its Old Navy and Gap stores would do their big promotions this weekend, with its Banana Republic division focusing on the 24th. “It obviously confuses a bag count,” Mr. Biederman said.

    Martine Reardon, executive vice president of marketing at Macy’s, said the 17th “just happens to fall on the calendar very nicely.” Like other retailers, Macy’s will be open on the 24th, but its major promotional push will occur a week earlier.

    The dueling Saturdays might seem like a lot of consternation about nothing to consumers weary of faux shopping events: Black Friday, Sofa Sunday, Cyber Monday, Red Tuesday, Mobile Sunday, Green Monday and Free Shipping Day (Friday this year, for those keeping track).

    But the worries are real for retailers who are seeing the season slip away from them, and the potential effects on the economy are considerable.

    After a Thanksgiving weekend that set records in terms of sales, in-store shopping has dropped significantly in the two weeks that followed. The cumulative drop from Thanksgiving-week sales in those weeks, of 2.4 percent, was the biggest since 2000, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. The Commerce Department said this week that retail sales in November, including online sales, came in lower than analysts had expected, rising just 0.2 percent to $399.3 billion, the smallest increase in five months.

    “That suggests we may not get quite as much momentum in the holiday-sales season as people were expecting,” said Peter Buchanan, an economist at CIBC World Markets. Given that consumer spending makes up the majority of the gross domestic product, he said, “the chances of having a really decent recovery are rather limited if consumers continue to hold back.”Almost 40 percent of Americans said they were done with their holiday shopping as of last week, according to a survey from America’s Research Group and UBS, suggesting there may not be too much spending left to do. Still, the National Retail Federation, the main retail industry group, remains optimistic, and on Thursday raised its holiday forecast to 3.8 percent growth for the season, up from 2.8.

    “With a stronger emphasis on Black Friday, the more the industry pushes, it works, but the price of that is this lull,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist for the International Council of Shopping Centers.

    That lull makes the final days before Christmas especially important this year. Stores including Sears and Target are staying open until midnight in some markets in the run-up to Christmas. Toys “R” Us is staying open for 112 consecutive hours in the days leading up to Christmas, and Macy’s will keep more than a dozen stores open for 83 hours straight.

    And all Saturdays are important. “December Saturdays are the highest volume days of the year,” Mr. McNamara said. But none more so than the last Saturday before Christmas — or, this year, the competing last Saturdays — which is sometimes bigger in overall revenue than the Friday after Thanksgiving. Retailers tend to offer deep, cross-category discounts on that day, rather than the limited-quantity specials they offer after Thanksgiving.

    J. C. Penney, for instance, plans to offer 60 percent off toys, women’s and men’s coats and luggage sets, and 65 percent off fine jewelry. Sears will give away diamond earrings with $199 jewelry purchases, along with offering 75 percent off most of its jewelry and 65 percent off sweaters. Adding to the confusion, Wal-Mart, which will run a Dec. 17 sale with its lowest prices of the season on items like toys and bikes, says it will not call the day “Super Saturday” — it used that term back in November.

    The goal of the Saturday discounts is to get as much Christmas merchandise as possible out the door. And by moving the promotions back a week, retailers will have more time to sell languishing inventory when there is still some demand for it. “The discounts will be deeper, because as they draw nearer to the end of the season, there is merchandise they have to move,” said Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation.

    As for the 34th Street Partnership, it will be out in full force this Saturday — in addition to the digital sign, it will blog about deals and coordinate security and sanitation crews. Mr. Biederman said his staff would also provide the security and cleaning help on Dec. 24, but it was still puzzling over whether its shopping bag count could be compared to Super Saturday of last year.

    “What’s the real day?” he asked.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, Not related, but another interesting read.

    The Death of the Fringe Suburb
    By CHRISTOPHER B. LEINBERGER
    Washington

    DRIVE through any number of outer-ring suburbs in America, and you’ll see boarded-up and vacant strip malls, surrounded by vast seas of empty parking spaces. These forlorn monuments to the real estate crash are not going to come back to life, even when the economy recovers. And that’s because the demand for the housing that once supported commercial activity in many exurbs isn’t coming back, either.

    By now, nearly five years after the housing crash, most Americans understand that a mortgage meltdown was the catalyst for the Great Recession, facilitated by underregulation of finance and reckless risk-taking. Less understood is the divergence between center cities and inner-ring suburbs on one hand, and the suburban fringe on the other.

    It was predominantly the collapse of the car-dependent suburban fringe that caused the mortgage collapse.

    In the late 1990s, high-end outer suburbs contained most of the expensive housing in the United States, as measured by price per square foot, according to data I analyzed from the Zillow real estate database. Today, the most expensive housing is in the high-density, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods of the center city and inner suburbs. Some of the most expensive neighborhoods in their metropolitan areas are Capitol Hill in Seattle; Virginia Highland in Atlanta; German Village in Columbus, Ohio, and Logan Circle in Washington. Considered slums as recently as 30 years ago, they have been transformed by gentrification.

    Simply put, there has been a profound structural shift — a reversal of what took place in the 1950s, when drivable suburbs boomed and flourished as center cities emptied and withered.

    The shift is durable and lasting because of a major demographic event: the convergence of the two largest generations in American history, the baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and the millennials (born between 1979 and 1996), which today represent half of the total population.

    Many boomers are now empty nesters and approaching retirement. Generally this means that they will downsize their housing in the near future. Boomers want to live in a walkable urban downtown, a suburban town center or a small town, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors.

    The millennials are just now beginning to emerge from the nest — at least those who can afford to live on their own. This coming-of-age cohort also favors urban downtowns and suburban town centers — for lifestyle reasons and the convenience of not having to own cars.

    Over all, only 12 percent of future homebuyers want the drivable suburban-fringe houses that are in such oversupply, according to the Realtors survey. This lack of demand all but guarantees continued price declines. Boomers selling their fringe housing will only add to the glut. Nothing the federal government can do will reverse this.

    Many drivable-fringe house prices are now below replacement value, meaning the land under the house has no value and the sticks and bricks are worth less than they would cost to replace. This means there is no financial incentive to maintain the house; the next dollar invested will not be recouped upon resale. Many of these houses will be converted to rentals, which are rarely as well maintained as owner-occupied housing. Add the fact that the houses were built with cheap materials and methods to begin with, and you see why many fringe suburbs are turning into slums, with abandoned housing and rising crime.

    The good news is that there is great pent-up demand for walkable, centrally located neighborhoods in cities like Portland, Denver, Philadelphia and Chattanooga, Tenn. The transformation of suburbia can be seen in places like Arlington County, Va., Bellevue, Wash., and Pasadena, Calif., where strip malls have been bulldozed and replaced by higher-density mixed-use developments with good transit connections.

    Reinvesting in America’s built environment — which makes up a third of the country’s assets — and reviving the construction trades are vital for lifting our economic growth rate. (Disclosure: I am the president of Locus, a coalition of real estate developers and investors and a project of Smart Growth America, which supports walkable neighborhoods and transit-oriented development.)

    Some critics will say that investment in the built environment risks repeating the mistake that caused the recession in the first place. That reasoning is as faulty as saying that technology should have been neglected after the dot-com bust, which precipitated the 2001 recession.

    The cities and inner-ring suburbs that will be the foundation of the recovery require significant investment at a time of government retrenchment. Bus and light-rail systems, bike lanes and pedestrian improvements — what traffic engineers dismissively call “alternative transportation” — are vital. So is the repair of infrastructure like roads and bridges. Places as diverse as Los Angeles, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Charlotte, Denver and Washington have recently voted to pay for “alternative transportation,” mindful of the dividends to be reaped. As Congress works to reauthorize highway and transit legislation, it must give metropolitan areas greater flexibility for financing transportation, rather than mandating that the vast bulk of the money can be used only for roads.

    For too long, we over-invested in the wrong places. Those retail centers and subdivisions will never be worth what they cost to build. We have to stop throwing good money after bad. It is time to instead build what the market wants: mixed-income, walkable cities and suburbs that will support the knowledge economy, promote environmental sustainability and create jobs.

    Christopher B. Leinberger is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and professor of practice in urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan.

    [Reply]

  617. A Strong Holiday Shopping Season Bodes Well for 2012
    Jan 5, 2012 1:07 PM, By Elaine Misonzhnik, Senior Associate Editor

    The 2011 holiday shopping season turned out to be relatively strong for U.S. retailers, promising a stable year ahead.

    Same-store sales for U.S. chains posted an increase of more than 3 percent during the November/December period, a performance comparable to 1994. At the same time, much of the shopping took place during periods of extreme promotions such as Black Friday and the retailers that posted the strongest gains were also the ones offering the most aggressive discounts, signaling consumers’ continued insistence on getting value for their money.

    Going forward, this trend might eat away at retailers’ margins.

    “Given the backdrop—that retailers are operating with 8.6 percent unemployment and a stagnant housing market—it turned out to be a successful holiday season,” says Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics Inc., an independent research firm tracking the retail industry. “But it was also more event-driven than in the past, with the bulk of shopping taking place during Black Friday and Super Saturday, and there was a significantly higher level of promotions and discounts.”

    Hard numberss

    ICSC estimates that U.S. chain store sales rose 3.5 percent this December, an improvement of 40 basis points over the increase posted last year. For the combined November/December period, ICSC reported a same-store sales increase of 3.3 percent. The figure is slightly lower than the 3.8 percent gain posted for November/December 2010, but still constitutes one of the best holiday shopping seasons in the past five years.

    ICSC based its estimate on a survey of 25 retail chains. Its numbers don’t include the U.S. biggest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

    The Retail Metrics Same-Store Sales Index also beat expectations in December, posting a gain of 3.6 percent. For November and December combined, same-store sales rose 3.4 percent in 2011—lower than the 4 percent gain retailers achieved last year, but still a respectable figure.

    Similarly, Kantar Retail, a Columbus, Ohio-based consulting firm, calculated a 3.6 percent increase in same-store sales in December, on top of a 3.1 percent increase in November.

    What’s more, industry analysts including Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a New Canaan, Conn.-based consulting firm, feel the level of spending retailers saw in the past two months is more sustainable than in years past because shoppers have been spending money out of their current incomes, rather than relying on credit cards.

    “Shoppers were feeling a little better through the end of the year than they were in August and September, when there was a lot of uncertainty,” notes Frank Badillo, senior economist with Kantar Retail. “So we are seeing some positive signs heading into 2012, but at the same time, there are still reasons to be cautious. The biggest question mark is what impact will things happening around the world have on the U.S. economy?”

    In addition, Badillo expressed concern about how the lower level of inflation in 2012 might affect same-store sales. This year, higher prices on food and apparel helped drive sales higher, he notes. As inflationary pressures dissipate in the months ahead, retailers might face lower sales levels.

    Winners and losers

    Once again, the two segments of the retailing universe that performed the best during the holidays included luxury chains and discounters. As a group, luxury stores posted an 8 percent gain in same-store sales in December, by far the biggest increase in the retailing universe. Warehouse clubs posted an increase of 7 percent.

    Discounters experienced an increase of 3.1 percent in December, but the gains were not evenly distributed. TJX, for instance, reported a gain of 8 percent, while Target’s same-store sales went up 1.6 percent.

    There were also significant discrepancies in the apparel and department store sectors. The Gap ended December with a 4 percent drop in same-store sales. At the same time, Limited posted a gain of 7 percent and Ross Dress for Less a gain of 9 percent.

    In the department store sector, Dillard’s and Macy’s posted increases of 4 percent and 6.2 percent respectively. On the other hand, J.C. Penney reported a gain of just 0.3 percent.

    In certain cases, such as that of Kohl’s, which posted a same-store sales decrease of 0.1 percent, the poor performance might be attributed to unseasonably warm weather and not-aggressive-enough discounting.

    In general, however,” the same people who were lagging earlier in the year: Sears, Talbots, J.C. Penney, lagged during the holidays,” according to Johnson.

    Does this reek of spin or what.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, HEY SEAN , mOST STORES DID WELL BUT J.CPENNEY , KOHLS WERE VERY SHAKY. J.CPENNEY NEEDS TO REVAMP THEIR MERCHANDISE . THE PALISADES STORE IS VERY POORLY RUN, I EITHER BOUGHT IN THEIR MANHATTAN OR GARDEN STATE STORES. KOHLS WAS VERY HIT OR MISS THIS CHRISTMAS. I DONT KNOW WHAT PEOPLE SEE IN MACYS I DID NOT BUY MUCH THERE AT ALL. I THINK MACYS HERALD SQUARE DOES MOST OF THEIR SALES GAINS THANKS TO THE TOURISTS, THEY DONT SEE THAT MOST OF THEIR SUBURBAN STORES DO SO SO.WILLIAMS SONOMA IS CLOSING IN GARDEN STATE AND PALISADES. NANUET IS STARTING ANY DAY THE MALL IS CLOSED OFF TO SHOPPERS AND THE SECOND FLOOR ENTRANCES OF SEARS AND MACYS ARE CLOSED.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, JC Penny having a bad christmas season was predicted months ago along with Sears. Kohl’s on the other hand was a bit of a surprise.

    The article above neglected to look at the obvious – that is people are spending money in the mall that would have gone to such items as morggage payments. Besides if the morggage ballence is higher than the value of the home & you wont get much interest by putting the money inn the bank, you might as well go to the mall & spend it.

    Kind of surprised that William-Sanoma is closing at GSP, Palisades on the other hand isn’t a shock at all.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, THATS A PREVIEW IF AN UPSCALE KITCHEN STORE IS CLOSING AT PALISADES, WILL THE SHOPS AT NANUET BE ABLE TO SUPPORT UPSCALE SHOPS AS WELL. ITS MORE COMPANY WIDE WITH SONOMA THAN PALISADES ITSELF IT LASTED SINCE THE MALL OPENED. SEARS HAS BEEN ON SHAKY GROUND FOR AWHILE EVER SINCE GOING PARTNERS WITH KMART. LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO SYMS THEY BUY FILENES BASEMENT AND END UP OUT OF BUSINESS. RETAIL IS STILL SHAKY DEPITE HOW WELL MACYS,OR NORDSTROM IS DOING EVEN DILLARDS DID BETTER THAN KOHLS.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, THATS A PREVIEW IF AN UPSCALE KITCHEN STORE IS CLOSING AT PALISADES, WILL THE SHOPS AT NANUET BE ABLE TO SUPPORT UPSCALE SHOPS AS WELL. ITS MORE COMPANY WIDE WITH SONOMA THAN PALISADES ITSELF IT LASTED SINCE THE MALL OPENED. SEARS HAS BEEN ON SHAKY GROUND FOR AWHILE EVER SINCE GOING PARTNERS WITH KMART. LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO SYMS THEY BUY FILENES BASEMENT AND END UP OUT OF BUSINESS. RETAIL IS STILL SHAKY DESPITE HOW WELL MACYS,OR NORDSTROM IS DOING EVEN DILLARDS DID BETTER THAN KOHLS.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, I wonder if WS will reemerge at the new Nanuet along with it’s brethren of like retailers. This could put Palisades in a bind in atracting good stores into that giant thing they call a mall.

    Interesting if you have been noticing that the king of retail Paramus – has been losing stores as of late. Are we starting to see the end of the duel locations of retailers in Paramus?

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, The larger store is at Riverside. Not surprised in economic times like this, even in Paramus…

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, If What I said above is true regarding the end of duel store locations in Paramus, What will the town & developers do with all that excesssquare footage.

    Get this, at GSP the current borders space is becomeing part of Forever XXI. This is ironic since Forever XXI was the original Borders in the first place & now the two stores are becomeing one.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, I was at GSP TODAY I SAW THE FORMER BORDERS. WELL LOOK AT PALISADES FOREVER XXI TOOK OVER THE RESTAURANT FOX SPORTS GRILL ITS TWO FLOORS. GSP IS STARTING TO LOSE ITS UPSCALISH TREND AND SEEMS TO BE A MIXTURE OF A LIITLE UPSCALE AND MIDDLE SCALE MALL. BERGEN TOWN CENTER IS HOPPING AS WELL. KOHLS IS LOADED WITH MERCHANDISE SO THAT TELLS YOU THAT ITS TRUE OF WHAT KIND OF SEASON THEY HAD.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I think it’s probably a temporary thing with the current state of the economy. Other chains will open second locations once things improve.

    Yeah, that’s pretty funny regarding XXI Forever and Borders!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Lovesac is also closing at GSP in Febuary, but this was a Westfield problem. not a Lovesac one.

    As for GSP losing it’s upscale immage Rob, Riverside is the higher end mall in Bergen County, but many stores that could sign leases there rather open at GSP or Short Hills do to location, name recognition & there cotennents. Just look at the number of large vacancies Riverside has for such a small centter.

    If both of you are into city building simulator games, check out Cities XL 2012 from Focus Home Entertainment. The graphics are astounding & this is comeing from someone who is visually challenged. Mallguy I recall you saying you use to play Sim City, but this is a bit more challenging & perhaps a bit more fustrating as well. If I recall correctly, once the city reaches a cirtain population on either side of a million there are shopping malls you could add in for ecconomic development.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Napa Valley Grille has now closed at GSP, as well. I have a feeling that location will be taken up quickly by another upscale chain. It’s a coveted spot, as is their liquor license.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @mallguy, Hi Mallguy are you sure about Nappa Valley Grille AT GSP I WAS JUST AT GSP ON SATURDAY AND IT WAS OPEN AND THERE WERE PEOPLE EATING IN THERE. WELL, RESTAURANTS ARE COMING AND GOING IN PALISADES MALL A RESTAURANT BRAVO JUST CLOSED IN PALISADES AND A NEW ONE CALLED YARDHOUSE IS OPENING THEY HAVE ONE IN YONKERS AND OTHER STATES. OPENING THIS SUMMER.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @rob, Got the email yesterday from them stating they’re closed and to “come visit us if you find yourself in Westwood or near the Mall of America”

    They’ve been closing locations, so I’m not surprised to see the GSP location close. That space will be snatched up quickly!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy,

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, First it was California Cafe & now this! Who is most likely to grab that desireable spot in your opinion. To me it needs to be on the same quality level as Legal Seafood & not one of the run of the mill chain eateries that you could find any place else.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I believe it will be higher end. Capital Grille is @ GSP now. I’d like to see Brio or even Seasons 52

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Capitol Grill is at GSP? When did they open & where is it located. Seasons 52 would be perfect since Darden is in rapid expantion mode with that brand & they are putting it in higher end malls like South Coast Plaza, Cherry Hill, King of Prussia & Roosevelt Field.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, CAPITAL GRILLE IS ON THE 17 SIDE I THINK NEAR MACYS. I HEARD OF BRIO THEY ARE IN CRABTREE VALLEY MALL IN RALEIGH NC AND THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GOOD. IF PALISADES MALL CAN REPLACE RESTAURANTS SO CAN GSP. YARDHOUSE IS REPLACING BRAVO AND A BENNI HANNA TYPE IS GOING INTO THE FORMER FIRE AND ICE. NOW THEY NEED SOME RESTAURANT TO REPLACE CHEVYS.

    SEAN Reply:

    @Rob, Thanks, I’ll check Capitol Grill out. There’s another location at Stamford TC that gets a healthy corporate crowd from the office buildings throughout the downtown.

    I hope Yard House does well at Palisades, but there has been a higher rate of restaurant turnover there than any other mall in the area for one reason or another.

  618. News at GSP! Not only did Napa Valley Grill close, but Coldwater Creek closes Jan. 22 & Lovesac closes Jan. 28.

    The former Napa Valley Grill is becomeing another eaterie called Zen Burger, a burger restaurant & wine bar. No opening date was anounced. Also Townhouse Restaurant is now scheduled to open sometime in the spring with no exact date anounced there either.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, hey Sean Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn closes today at Palisades. See palisades isnt the only mall with comings and goings GSP goes through the same. Williams Sonoma closed there yesterday. I can dee lovsac closing i am surprised at ColdWater Creek closing.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, I never said that GSP doesn’t have comeings & goings, rather I was refering to both the unusually high number of them & wich ones are closing wich by it self is a surprise. As an example Coldwater Creek, Starbucks, Restoration Hardware & Sony Style have already closed or will close vs Radio Shack, Old Navy, The Avenue & Lenscrafters wich are still open. I know it was an apples to oranges comparison, but I figgure you get the point I was trying to make.

    The manager of Lovesac told me that she thinks that mall management is trying to push out the lower end stores there & woo the stores away from riverside. It’s possible & I wouldn’t dismiss it,however personally I’m not certain if that’s the case.

    [Reply]

    robjavascript:void(0) Reply:

    @SEAN, I agree I really think management of these malls give stores a hard time and thats why they leave i dont think its because a lack of business. WS ON THE OTHER HAND SAID ON CNBC THE OTHER DAY That THEY ARE CLOSING UNDER PERFORMING STORES. i know GSP WILL REPLACE THESE STORES WITH GOOD ONES ITS PALISADES I WORRY ABOUT. i THINK ORVIS IN PALISADES IS NOT GOING TO MAKE IT THEY ARE OVER PRICED ESPECIALLY THAT LL BEAN IS N PARAMUS PARK AND A BIT MORE REASONABLE.

    [Reply]

    robjavascript:void(0) Reply:

    @SEAN, I spoke to the Management of Palisades Mall and I told them that now that Nanuet Mall will be starting in the spring and they need to step up and improve the interior of the Palisades Mall especially that some are not happy of an outdoor mall..AS for WS and Pottery Barn they are closing under performing stores so its not a management thing with the malls.Orvis wont make it they are over priced and having ll bean in near by Paramus Park Mall.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, I spoke to Palisades management I told them they better get on the ball on trying to get them to rennovate the mall. WS AND POTTERY BARN IS A COMPANY THING CNBC SAID THAT THEY ARE CLOSING OTHER LOCATIONS BESIDES PALISADES. I ALSO SUGGESTED PF CHANGS OR CALIFORNIA PIZZA TO REPLACE CHEVYS. I DONT KNOW ABOUT ORVIS THEY ARE OVER PRICED AND WITH LLBEAN IN PARAMUS PARK THEY ARE MORE REASONABLE.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, It really says something when P.F. Changs & CPK avoid a high profile property Like Palisades. Palisades is instead atracting IHOP, Buffalo Wild Wings & Yard House? Am I missing something? Nothing against Yard House, but they are not at the top of the restaurant food chain right now. Luckily Cheesecake Factory is staying put, otherwise they really would be in a pickle & it would be a big dill.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, Well thats what palisades needs a CPK ITS VERY POPULAR AT GSP AND ISNT SO EXPENSIVE.THATS WHAT TELLS YOU THAT THIS IS NOT A HIGH END AREA AND MAKING NANUET UPSCALE SHOPS IS NOT GOING TO WORK TO PLEASE A FEW PEOPLE WHO CAN AFFORD THOSE TYPE OF STORES I STILL THINK NANUET SHOULD BE AN BERGEN TOWN CENTER TYPE MALL. ITS LAZINESS WITH PEOPLE AS WELL CHEESECAKE FACTORY IS IN A PERFECT SPOT ON THE FIRST FLOOR. AT LEAST DAVE AND BUSTERS , OUTBACK, TGI FRIDAYS AND CHILLIS ARE THE ORIGINAL RESTAURANTS THAT OPENED WHEN THE MALL DID AND HAS STILL SURVIVED.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, Remember what I kept saying how Rockland County is getting squeezed by Bergen & Westchester. You are seeing it being reflected in the inability of a solid plan for the Nanuet Mall redevelopment. Compare that to what was done at FRM &it’s sister property in Danbury.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, Did you see this in the NYT?

    Giants and Jets Sue to Block Mall in Meadowlands
    By CHARLES V. BAGLI
    The Giants and the Jets filed a lawsuit on Friday to block the proposed American Dream shopping and entertainment mall in the Meadowlands, which they contend will threaten their ability to successfully hold games at the nearby MetLife Stadium.

    The Giants and Jets said the mall, in East Rutherford, N.J., “will clog the complex’s already congested transportation networks” on game days, according to the lawsuit.

    The teams and the mall’s developers had been negotiating for months over their differences. The teams asked the developer to close the planned mall — which includes an amusement park, an indoor ski jump and an indoor water park — on game days, 20 times a year, when more than 80,000 football fans converge on the stadium.

    So far, the developer, the Triple Five Group, has said it will not do so.

    “The Giants and the Jets have $1.6 billion invested in this stadium,” said John K. Mara, president of the New York Giants, “and we can’t afford to make it more difficult for our fans to get in and out of here on game days.”

    “We’ve got 25,000 to 30,000 cars here on game day,” he added, “and now we’re going to have the biggest mall in America. Common sense tells you there are going to be problems with ingress and egress.”

    The lawsuit names both Triple Five and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority as defendants.

    The teams say a 2006 agreement with the authority and the developers essentially gives them veto power over expansion plans at the planned mall that might affect the stadium on game days.

    John Samerjan, a spokesman for the sports authority, declined to comment. Alan Marcus, a spokesman for Triple Five, also declined to comment, saying he had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit.

    Mayor James L. Cassella of East Rutherford criticized the teams, saying that the project would generate much-needed tax revenue. “This is typical of their arrogance,” he said.

    The litigation casts another cloud over a troubled project that has been a decade in the making. Construction stopped three years ago, after more than $1.9 billion had been spent on the project. Over a year ago, Gov. Chris Christie and Triple Five announced plans for a new design, which would eventually expand to 7.5 million square feet.

    Thaughts…

    Nowhere in the article was it mentioned that Tripple Five received a $400-Million tax break to keep American Dream alive. Without that tax benefit, this would have been the most spactacular dead mall in America. The Giants & Jets do have a point with traffic, but access via publictransit is esential for both mall customers & stadium atendees.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @SEAN, this is a little similar to the situation involving the San Francisco 49ers and their plans to build a new stadium next to the Great America theme park in Santa Clara. Apparently parking was the hot topic and the park owner and team got into this legal mess over it. I think it has been settled down now but maybe these people in New Jersey could get some ideas from there for the American Dream project.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Gary, How did Great America & the 49ers resolve there differences? In the case of the Giants & Jets, this issue has been something of an open wound that hasn’t truely heeled, especially as far as the Giants are concerned.

    [Reply]

  619. @SEAN, I sent two notes on Freehold Mall to you ITSnot letting me submit them

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, Try again & see what happens.

    [Reply]

  620. Inside The Chinese Box
    May 1, 2007 12:00 PM, By Anne Field

    Two years ago billionaire Alex Wu’s Dongguan San Yuan Ying Hui Investment and Development Co. opened the largest shopping mall in the world in China — the South China Mall — to great fanfare. The 7.1-million-square-foot megalithic shopping center and amusement park located north of Hong Kong in Dongguan City, is the length of six football fields. It boasts windmills, theme parks and a replica of the Arc de Triomphe and is organized into seven “zones” based on international cities and regions including Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, California and so on. Shoppers can even ride a gondola on a Venice-like, mile-long canal built along the perimeter.

    Trouble is, according to many observers, while the project’s premise is to roll the glitz of Hollywood and the feel of Disneyland into an uber-retail environment, it is failing to live up to those lofty expectations. According to Morgan Parker, president of Taubman Asia, Taubman Centers’ Hong Kong-based subsidiary, and others who have visited the sprawling complex estimate the mall’s retail space sits half empty.

    The problems are manifold. Since the South China Mall is situated in a suburb, it is borderline inaccessible to the vast majority of Chinese residents who don’t have cars. (There are only 11.5 million cars owned by individuals in all of China.) To say the least, foot traffic has not been brisk. A Bloomberg News account of the property in mid-April described the mall as “almost deserted.” The property’s planners anticipated 100,000 shoppers a day would pass through the property. But a mall spokesperon acknowledged that foot traffic is currently just one-tenth that amount.

    What’s more, observers say, the property has a patched together feel and violates many of the fundamentals of mall design — some laid down at the dawn of the mall era. “You see corridors with blind spots hiding tenants,” explains Ross Glickman, chairman and CEO of Urban Retail Properties in Chicago. “You see corridors ending in walls.”

    With the mall struggling so much two years after its opening, some wonder if it will ever live up to the initial hype. (For its part, Dongguan San Yuan says the mall is still in a “development phase” and expects its sales performance to improve.)

    And the South China Mall is just the tip of the iceberg (though an extremely large tip). Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that China is booming and so is mall construction there. Industry professionals on the ground in Asia estimate that hundreds of new properties have cropped up in the past three years, clustered in and around the nearly 160 Chinese cities with populations of one million or greater. Meanwhile, as many as 600 more malls are under construction or in the development pipeline, according to David Hand, managing director for the Beijing office of Jones Lang LaSalle and head of China retail. Nearly 30 million square feet of new mall construction is in the works in Beijing alone, according to Bryn Davies, executive director of retail services for real estate services firm CB Richard Ellis, Greater China.

    A much smaller number — perhaps 5 percent — are 2-million-square-foot Goliaths. But those projects alone will mean that by 2010, China will be home to seven of the ten largest malls in the world.

    At the same time, just because these malls are going up doesn’t mean any of them will be successes. Observers say the majority of the malls are being constructed by inexperienced local developers who are repeating the same mistakes made at South China Mall. Most developers have little understanding of how to plan or design a coherent shopping center that offers more than just a motley assortment of tenants.

    There’s also a lack of viable local retailers to fill the space. For U.S. developers considering how to enter the market, the prospects are especially complicated. Price of land in the three booming areas of China — around the Pearl River delta, the Yangtze River and Beijing — has skyrocketed. And, entering the market is impossible without the help of local partners, who are just as likely to help you as they are to suddenly end the partnership and strike out on their own after getting what they need. “You have to wake up and understand the reality,” Parker says.

    That’s not to say U.S. developers should just pass on China if a chance presents itself.

    “Across the spectrum of development, from small to large, the opportunity is massive,” says Hand. With a retail market standing at an estimated $700 billion, a real growth rate of 8.5 percent forecast over the next three years, and an annual 64 percent average increase in disposable income among urban households, any developer with international aspirations has to consider a foray.

    The bottom line: most U.S. developers interested in testing the Chinese market in the short term will need to rethink their strategies and not just expect to set up operations that try to fill the same niches they do in America. That’s why, for example, CBL & Associates Properties, of Chattanooga, Tenn., which has built up a more than 70-million-square-foot portfolio of regional malls predominantly in secondary markets, has teamed with private equity firm Bain Capital to become an investor in a local mall developer that specializes in building what are called “deco-malls” — properties that are filled entirely with large and small merchants hawking furniture and housewares.

    Anatomy of the market
    Just what is the lay of the land in China? There are, of course, the mega malls, which have gotten the most attention. Besides South China, there’s the Golden Resources Mall in Beijing with 6 million square feet, the Beijing Mall with 3.4 million square feet and the Zhengjia Plaza in Guangzhou with 3 million square feet — all of which are larger than the King of Prussia Mall with its 2.8 million square feet of retail space. All of these have been built in the past five years.

    Golden Resources, which until South China came along was the largest mall in the world, is faring better than its larger rival. It opened in November 2004 and stands 90 percent occupied. It counts a department store, home decorating center and hypermarket as some of its largest tenants and overall features more than 1,000 shops and restaurants.

    But a common problem many of these monster malls face is their location. Unlike the majority of other malls built in China, which are in urban areas, the giant malls are typically situated on the outskirts of big cities. “It requires some effort to get there,” says Ira Kalish, director of consumer business for Deloitte Research in Los Angeles. With or without a car, most Chinese residents still prefer to shop in the city.

    Other problems, while more acute at larger centers, are shared by all properties. The vast majority, according to industry experts, have taken a backward approach in how they’ve been designed, planned and leased. More eager to simply fill space, little thought is spent on whether the tenant mix is right. In general, the malls seem to be an attempt to ape what Chinese developers may have seen overseas, but without knowing how those properties were put together. Hand says, they have yet to demonstrate “a basic understanding of everything from tenant mix to creating a pleasant customer experience.”

    Take the matter of design. In U.S. malls, anchors are situated at opposite ends so shoppers have to pass every tenant if they want to visit multiple anchors. Escalators and elevators are placed at the ends of corridors. And on higher levels, all walls and railings are clear so shoppers can see what’s above or below. In China, many developers have positioned bigger stores at the entrances on the upper level, but then buried smaller specialty retailers on lower levels with no easy way to get from the main artery down to the lower level. And some railings and guard walls are opaque.

    Then there’s overall strategy. According to observers, Chinese developers do not identify the type of consumer they’re targeting and then come up with a tenant roster to correspond to that demographic. “There’s a ready, fire, aim approach,” says Ian Thomas, president of Thomas Consultants, a Vancouver-based consulting firm specializing in retail development. “It’s the Field of Dreams: The feeling is, if we build, it they will come.”

    The result is a haphazard tenant mix, an eclectic array of retailers with no common price-point or target customer. You will find an upscale department store flanked by a low-priced supermarket. “It’s a hodgepodge,” says Gene Spiegelman, executive director of retail services for Cushman Wakefield, the New York-based retail services firm.

    More significant is the fiscal approach. Chinese developers tend to treat their centers as if they were condominiums. Rather than securing financing and leasing space to retailers, they sell space in the mall to investors who are then free to rent it to whomever they want. That adds to the already haphazard nature of the tenant mix. Even worse, it means that the owner of the property loses the ability to dictate mall hours and conduct property repairs. “You’ll have corridors with leaks because the roof is leaking and no one can agree on when or how to fix it,” says Parker.

    The problem, in part, stems from China’s relatively paltry supply of retailers. Unlike the United States, it doesn’t have a plethora of chain stores — the bread and butter of U.S.-based malls — from which to choose, says Parker. “The basis of any retail market is the indigenous companies in that country,” he says.

    And that means desirable retailers will increasingly be able to call the shots. Already, in some underperforming malls some tenants are getting free rent so that the owner can save face, says Parker.

    The exceptions
    The market is riddled with problems. But not all malls in China are suffering. There are a handful of successful, well-run, high-end shopping centers, says Hand. What they have in common is that they’ve been built by international developers with a track record in commercial real estate. The biggest presence is from firms primarily headquartered in Singapore and Hong Kong.

    Now, a new generation of local developers, who have learned from past mistakes, are starting to build more sophisticated malls. Seasons Place in Beijing, for example, built by Beijing Financial Street Holding Co. Ltd. and set to open this summer, has a 95 percent occupancy rate, with tenants such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci. There’s also the 1.3-million-square-foot Solana in the same city, being developed by Beijing Blue Harbor Properties Co. Ltd., which has been more thoughtfully leased and is geared specifically to young families.

    In some cases, Chinese developers are also reviving existing malls with new strategies. Take the 3-million-square-foot Super Brand Mall in Shanghai, a property Davies describes as a “failed mega mall.” According to Davies, by working more closely with retailers, management has attracted such brand names as Toys ‘R’ Us, Sephora and Zara.

    What does it all mean for U.S. developers? For one thing, entering the market requires teaming up with a reliable local developer or partner who understands the lay of the land. Especially important is knowing how to maneuver the maze posed by provincial governments that approve all projects.

    It’s also crucial to choose a viable strategy. Thanks to the complexity of the market, the difficulty navigating government bureaucracy and the still immature nature of development, “International developers need to change their business model,” says Davies. Plus, there’s the matter of acquiring prime real estate in the most desirable areas. Although there is still plenty of land available in Shanghai and other first-tier cities, prices for prime real estate have skyrocketed.

    The field is considerably more open in second-tier cities located in inland China where the government has started a push to encourage development.

    One developer taking advantage of that opportunity — and diverging from its standard model of development in the U.S. — is the nation’s largest mall owner Simon Property Group. In 2005 the REIT announced a joint venture with Morgan Stanley and Shenshen International Trust & Investment to build up to 12 multilevel shopping centers, each anchored by Wal-Mart. The first, slated to open in the second quarter of 2008, will be a 470,000-square-foot mall with 150 retail stores located in Changshu.

    For Simon, it’s the most savvy way to gain a toehold. But it’s not looking to expand the effort just yet. “There will be no further activity in China until we get some more experience under our belt,” said president David Simon during a recent analyst call.

    CBL too is being cautious in its approach in China. It is only making a passive investment and not trying to establish a beachhead. Along with Bain, CBL has invested in local firm Jinsheng Group, a Chinese mall operator and real estate development company.

    “We hope that this will lead to more opportunities with this company and others,” says president Stephen Lebovitz, adding that the firm’s goal is to capitalize on the growing demand for home furnishings among Chinese consumers. That segment is forecast to experience 11 percent growth between 2005 and 2010, according to Retail Forward. Jinshen’s six “deco-malls” will range between 500,000 square feet and one million square feet and house 50 to 100 retailers.

    Urban Retail is taking yet another tack. In the U.S. it is primarily a third-party manager (though it has recently kick-started its development operations). In China, it is looking to build lifestyle centers. By the end of this year, Glickman says Urban plans to break ground on a property in Shanghai called Dragon City. The 2-million-square-foot project will include as many as three hotels, office, residential and retail space.

    And then there’s Taubman, which has been operating in Asia now for several years, though it has primarily looked at South Korea to date. Parker says China isn’t primed for the typical upscale malls that the Bloomfield, Hills, Mich.-based REIT specializes in, so it’s considering other options.

    “We’ve looked at 200 shopping center development opportunities in the last two years and have not elected to go along with any of them,” Parker says. For now, the solution is Macau Studio City, a casino-resort that will boast 750,000 square feet of tony boutiques catering to the well-heeled.

    At the same time, Parker predicts, by 2010, China will be mature enough to embrace the type of enterprise Taubman would be interested in developing. “I want retailers and consumers to evolve so that when I arrive, they can understand the difference between what makes for a good center,” he says.

    Five Biggest Malls in China
    SOUTH CHINA MALL
    Location: Dongguan
    Year Opened: 2005
    GLA: 7.1 million square feet

    GOLDEN RESOURCES SHOPPING MALL
    Location: Beijing
    Year Opened: 2004
    GLA: 6 million square feet

    BEIJING MALL
    Location: Beijing
    Year Opened: 2005
    GLA: 3.4 million square feet

    ZHENGJIA PLAZA
    Location: Guangzhou
    Year Opened: 2005
    GLA: 3 million square feet

    CHIA TAI SQUARE
    Location: Shanghai
    Year opened: 2005
    GLA: 2.6 million

    Source: Retail Traffic research

    Despite the date, the article is still quite interesting & relevant.

    [Reply]

  621. Boscov’s Signs Two Leases With GGP

    Boscov’s signed leases with General Growth Properties for a 197,000-sq.-ft. store at the White Marsh Mall in Baltimore and a 180,000-sq.-ft. store at the Woodbridge Center in Woodbridge, N.J. The Baltimore store will open in November 2012; the Woodbridge store will open in August 2013.

    [Reply]

  622. Went to FRM this past weekend. The Borders space is still empty, but Bravo recently opened next to Cheesecake Factory & PF Changs.

    Vacancies are few & far between. In one of those empty locations in the food court, Best Buy Moble will be opening up in the near future.

    One thing of note is the number of furniture stores located here, but no Restoration Hardwhare, Crate & Barrel or Lovesac. They do have Ashley & The Gameroom Store that specializes in pool, ping pong, blackjack & poker tables. Believe it or not, they even have a full size craps table for sale that caught my eye.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Noteworthy is that Airhaus Furniture is at Freehold Raceway Mall.

    To replace Borders, I would love to see the Barnes and Noble from across the street relocate there (I personally think the Freehold B&N is substandard) or even bring in Books a Million to make its Central Jersey debut!

    [Reply]

  623. Meadowlands Mall to House the First DreamWorks Theme Park in the Country
    Jul 13, 2012 10:58 AM, Staff Reports

    Triple Five Worldwide signed an agreement with DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. to open the first North American theme park to exclusively feature DreamWorks characters at the American Dream at Meadowlands complex in East Rutherford, N.J. DreamWorks films include Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Puss in Boots and How to Train Your Dragon.

    “American Dream at Meadowlands is working with the most creative minds in the entertainment business,” said Triple Five President Don Ghermezian in a statement. “The theme park will have direct input from the creative talents behind the films to create a park experience that will attract a global market.”

    Triple Five plans to open the first phase of the project in late 2013.

    [Reply]

  624. In my last Freehold Raceway Mall trip, I noticed the Microsoft Store has opened here. Interestingly enough, Freehold and Bridgewater Commons were the first mall in NJ to get this store.

    Nearby to Freehold Raceway Mall, Quaker Bridge Mall is in the midst of its long awaited renovation! The mall is totally gutted (escalators pulled out, drywall/ceilings ripped out, floors pulled up and walkways blocked off) and about 80% of the stores in the mall are closed. If you go in the Cheesecake Factory wing (which will open in the mall next month), you’ll see the new flooring, which slightly reminds me of the flooring pattern at Garden State plaza, minus the green. This was so desperately needed and I’m so glad the mall is getting the attention it deserves! I believe Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom cancelled their stores here, but I have a feeling they’ll reconsider once the economic situation improves.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Microsoft is opening in The Westchester shortly.

    I remember Quakerbridge Mall having cheep floressant lights that would shine down. The effect was an atempt to mimic sunlight, but it would have been better just to have skylights to bring in the real thing.

    Are all those stores that are closed also being remoddled along with the mall it self? Also Were the Neiman Marcus & Nordstrom aditions put on hold or outright canceled.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I’m sure we’ll be seeing the Microsoft store in more places soon! First discovered them in Lenox Square, when I was in Atlanta.

    Yes, Quakerbridge had that in portions where there weren’t skylights (it would have made more sense to expand the skylights). Most of the stores are being renovated and they have winding paths through the corridors of the vacant wings.Truly looks and smells like a construction zone. I don’t see how they finish by Christmas, which is their plan. If Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom are still planned, they’re going to have to go in different spots within the mall. Cheesecake Factory opens there next month and like in Freehold, we’re likely to see Brio open next door (I would prefer Maggiano’s)

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Oh!No doubt about the expantion of Microsoft stores. Infact I would go as far as to say they will be in Apples core rather quickly. LOL I could see Microsoft making some serious headway on apples turf & who knows maybe a Google store or an Amazon store at some point?

    I like both Maggianos & Brio, so either one works for me. FYI Brio is a sister brand of Bravo Restaurante italiano AKABravo Group. Is there an actuall distinction between one & the other?

    I was in your neck of the woods last weekend, took the train to New Brunswick with my gf, her sister & a friend of hers to eat at Stuff yer Face. The latter two have never been there before & needless to say, THEY LOVED IT!

    [Reply]

  625. Boscov’s is scheduled to open at Woodbridg Center Summer 2013. I can see them doing really well there since the location is one of the best in central NJ. This also includes Staten Island NY where a lot of there shopping base reside, since it is a quick trip on 440 & I-287 to either property.

    interestingly if you compare Woodbridge Center & Menlo Park Mall there are only about 30 stores that have duel locations out of nearly 400, keeping overlap under 10%. This keeps the market healthy & diverse & may cause some shoppers to paitrenise both malls despite that a Woodbridge shopper isn’t tipically a Menlo Park one & vice versa , as the store lineups indicate. Menlo Park aims upscale & Woodbridge is more mid-market.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, I called Boscovs to see if they have any intentions of coming back to Rockland or coming to Bergen county They are looking and are looking into opening more stores.. I wish they had opened in Bergen Town Center instead of Century 21, I even suggested that they take over the Jc PENNEY LEASE AT Palisades. Who knows how long Jc Penney is going to survive if they dont go back to sales and coupons.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, Boscov’s is most suted for mid-tier malls. In the NYC metro area, this would include…

    1. Green Acres
    2. Westfield Sunrise
    3. Cross County
    4. Palisades Center
    5. Galleria in White Plains, Crystal Run & or Poughkeepsie
    6. Broadway Mall
    7. Livingston
    8. Wayne TC
    9. West Orange?

    This assumes either JCP or Sears close some stores or Boscov’s has ground up development. In the Wayne Town Center case, they could take the former Fortunoff as they are doing in Woodbridge. They could take a flyer on the former Fortunoff in Westbury, but that may be too high risk since both Nordstrom Rack & Sacks Off 5th have jumped ship causing Cheesecake Factory to be the one that keeps that mall alive. I wouldn’t be shocked if CF relocates to Roosevelt Field in a few years once the new Neiman Marcus wing opens in 2015.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, The problem with Wayne Town Center is that the mall was torn down and if you drive past it, there is a blank space between JCPenney and the Fortunoff building. That was supposed to be Dick’s, but never was built.

    The problem with opening at Livingston is that there is no room to expand, so I don’t see them there too soon.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cheesecake Factory move to Roosevelt Field, but I don’t know too many malls with both CF and GLC. Where is the Neiman Marcus wing going to be?

    A quick note about West Orange…if you are suggesting Essex Green, that’ll never happen. Essex Green was demalled years ago and the Macy’s there is quite old and very unkept. They don’t even have a down escalator! (you have to walk down stairs to get to the mini first floor)

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Part of my asumption regarding Boscov’s includes Sears & J C Penney closing some stores in the NYC area & only a handful of new build locations if any at all.

    There are two florida malls that I know of that have both a Grand Lux & a Cheesecake Factory. One is Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise & Aventura Mall Aventura is the other.

    The Neiman Marcus wing at Roosevelt Field will be constructed ajacent to Macy’s main mall entrance where Bose & The Disney Store are located. It will be built through the existing parking lot that goes along the side of the Macy’s store. This will sever the far portion of the ring road that includes access to Grand Lux, Seasons 52, AMC, Capitol Grill, Houston’s, Havanna Central, Skinny Pizza & Bobby’s Burger Pallace.

    This extention will include a new food hall, but I’m not sure if that means if the current food court will remain or be removed since the current food court area is inadiquit to say the least. People often need to sit on the floor to eat since there aren’t enough tables & the traffic volume is so high at most hours of the day. I’ve described the mad rush as “the Delta terminal at Kennedy airport”.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, as a follow up to the above comment, the following stores are scheduled to open at RF in the next few months…
    Tesla motors
    Havanna Central (former Modells)
    Capitol Grill (former California Cafe & Legal Sea Food)
    Crumbs Bake Shop (next to Tesla)
    Lush (now open)
    Au Bon Pain (along with Lush, were a bank & then an off brand furniture store).

    As an interesting sidenote, there are only three empty stores beyond those with coming soon signs. That equates to a vacancy rate of 1.25% roughly speaking, wich when you give it some thaught is both amazing & unexpected since that general area is the retail magnet of Long Island.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Didn’t realize that Essex Green was demalled since all I knew of it was AMC theatres & Macy’s.

    I forgot to add one more store opening at Roosevelt Field, Sir La Table will be opening ajacent to Bloomingdale’s on the main level. They will be opening in White Plains shortly as wel at The Westchester as Tesla has already done.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Quakerbridge got a Sur La Table and Garden State Plaza has Tesla!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy & Rob, Take a gander at this regarding AMC Theatres…

    Dalian Wanda Acquires AMC in $2B Deal
    By Amy Wolf Sorter

    Wanda takes over AMC Entertainment
    in a $2B deal; more capital will go
    into movie theater upgrades.
    KANSAS CITY, MO-Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd. of Beijing closed on its acquisition of locally based AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., paying $2.6 billion and becoming the world’s largest movie theater owner in the process. The transaction effectively relieves AMC from its load of debt, while providing capital for movie theater upgrades and expansions.

    From a commercial real estate perspective, the main impact of the acquisition will be better-looking movie theaters, as Wanda is funneling a lot toward capital improvements. “Wanda’s committed to putting half a billion dollars of new capital to get the theaters looking better,” notes Ben Mogil, managing director with Stifel, Nicolaus’ Toronto office. Mogil, an analyst who cover the media and entertainment industries believes that better-looking movie theaters will have a strong impact on the industry overall.

    In a Bloomberg article that ran in May 2012, AMC CEO Geraldo Lopez said the upgrades will include more Imax and 3-D screens, as well as the addition of more bars and dining options. In that same article, China Merchants Securities’ managing director Ronald Wan noted that the acquisition will assist in Wanda’s overseas expansion.

    But with the dust on this particular acquisition settled, Mogil says he doesn’t see a plethora of similar deals in the works. “You might see consolidations among the smaller players, but not of this size,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

    As to international money buying a U.S. entertainment company, Mogil says this isn’t exactly a new trend. At one point, for example, the Loews Theatre chain in Cincinnati merged with Cineplex Odeon Corp. of Canada; the combined company, Loews Cineplex Entertainment eventually merged with AMC. “The history of the industry, over the years, has had a lot of foreign owners,” Mogil adds. “A lot of people just didn’t know it.”

    According to an 8K filed Sept. 4 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), AMC was owned by funds belonging to JP Morgan Partners LLC; Apollo Management LP and Bain Capital Partners LLC, as well as funds sponsored by Carlyle Group and Spectrum Equity Investors. Furthermore, while operations of the theaters will remain the same and most of the 18,500 employees will remain with the company, the merger did lead to a change in the company’s board of directors. AMC headquarters will remain in Kansas City.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Boscov’s will do extremely well at Woodbridge Center and I’m happy to see that space will finally be occupied. Both Menlo Park and Woodbridge Center can coexist and both have been successful since the Menlo Park expansion opened in 1991.

    [Reply]

  626. New Stores Join The Mall at Short Hills

    Short Hills, N.J. — The 1.3-million-square-foot Mall at Short Hills has secured five new high-end retailers for the center.

    These will be the first stores in New Jersey for four of the tenants. Stuart Weitzman has opened a 1,445-square-foot store, joining its other New Jersey location at The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack.

    Emporio Armani and Giorgio Armani have already opened their 3,198-square-foot and 5,000-square-foot locations, respectively. Thomas Pink and Tourbillon will open this fall. Thomas Pink will operate a 1,998-square-foot store, while Tourbillon has secured 755 square feet.

    The Taubman Co. owns the center, which opened in November 1980 and includes 170 stores. Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue anchor The Mall at Short Hills.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, No surprises there. They just redid their globe fountain and also renovated two seating areas. Their Christmas decorations (the “Ice Palace”), while not to the level of the 1980s, are still very impressive!

    [Reply]

  627. Freehold Raceway Mall is getting 3 new dining/food establishments in the future: Qdoba (which I’m happy about…mall proper area or lifestyle center), Dunkin Donuts (which will help with the lines Starbucks has been getting) and Red Mango (self-serve frozen yogurt place)

    [Reply]

  628. Bobby’s Burger Palace now open at the lifestyle center, along with the Sleep Number store! Cups Frozen Yougart coming soon to the lifestyle center. Borders store still vacant.

    [Reply]

  629. Damn this forum is dead, but some updates on Newport. All 3 Gaps are closing (Men, Women, baby) by the end of May. Baby Gap is moving to Washington Street in Hoboken, Anthropologie is opening in the old Blockbuster on Washington too. G by Guess is opening next to JCPenney upstairs. Icing opened recently across from Claires and next to Macy’s. The Disney Store has been divided into Clarks (now open) and The Limited (opening July). Spencer’s will be relocating upstairs across from H&M. Red Mango is opening in the food court and Qdoba recently opened there too. Victoria’s Secret Pink is supposed to move somewhere else on the second floor in a separate location from VS, which means that the old Pink space will probably give VS a new makeover and more space. Also they opened another Sephora, but inside JCPenney, such a waste of space.

    Now that Gap is sadly closing (I wish they’d combine into a single store as half of that wretched Pay/Half), now’s the time to open J. Crew and Banana Republic for the Hoboken crowd. More and more, Newport has been catering to the Hoboken. downtown JC luxury apartment crowd and I hope this continues. With this said, a Sur La Table would be perfect for the Gap Women space.

    I’m still hoping for some new restaurants, specifically The Cheesecake Factory and Brio. These would do tremendously well here.

    Also hoping Pay/Half will finally close once and for all. A small-scale Uniqlo would work there, or better yet divide it into several restaurants all having entrances directly across from the PATH and Lightrail corridors. California Pizza Kitchen could also join TCF and Brio here.

    [Reply]

  630. Coming in September to Freehold Raceway Mall: LL Bean!

    [Reply]

  631. yay!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, Haven’t sene you post in what semes like forever. Great to see LL Bean taking the old Borders space, as Macerich copies Freehold & Danbury with nearly every store signing. At this rate, expect Lovesac, BGR the burger Joint & Chipotle to open if they haven’t done so.

    I totally agree with you regarding Newport Centre as that mall is in some form of transition. at one time that mall was low/ middle end, but over the past few years it has been trending more upscale as the areas around the Jersey City waterfront on up through Hoboken become more & more desireable especially near Washington Street & along the HBLR twards North Bergen.

    As a result, there will be a demand for new retailers & restaurants. This meens that stores like Pay Half will need to make way for new entrents like Cheesecake Factory, Kona Grill, Bobby’s Burger pallace & others.

    [Reply]

    Joey Reply:

    @SEAN, Yeah it’s been a while, I’ve been to Danbury once this past Christmas season. I just wish it had a Nordstrom. It’s so strange how it’s so similar to Freehold, but it’s also different in my eyes.

    More news on Newport: Baby Gap is staying, although there’s the one in Hoboken that just opened. Half of the Gap Men’s space will become Michael Kors before the holidays. The Gap Women will be Pink and Teavana. The prom dress store near the current Spencer’s just closed. With that said and with Spencer’s moving, maybe Perfumania will close and all three spaces will combine for a better tenant. Victoria’s Secret has relocated temporarily and will open up their new store in the fall. It’s going to have the new Pink glass outside with dark Hollister-esque lighting on the inside much like Quaker Bridge’s store.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, The reason why Freehold & Danbury look so much alike, is that the latter was the design basis for the former. Most of the stores at one mall can or will soon be found at the other except for Nordstrom, Lovesac & a store here or there.

    As for Newport Centre, inch by inch that mall has been moving up market. As you said before, Pay Half & stores like it need to go.

    The best thing about Newport believe it or not isn’t the mall it self, rather it’s the walkable neighborhood that ajoins it. Take a walk on the nearby streets & don’t miss the walkways along the waters edge that have spactacular Manhattan views. The closer you get to Exchange Place the better the view especially if you enjoy the architecture of the highrises on both sides of the hudson.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, You may find this LAT article quite interesting.

    Cheesecake Factory succeeds with indulgence for the common man
    The restaurant with high-calorie menus and high-grossing locations is on the rebound. With stock near an all-time high, it’s easing back into expansion mode.
    By Tiffany Hsu

    June 15, 2013

    The Cheesecake Factory is at once an ostentatious den of dining and decorative excess as well as a homespun throwback to family tradition.

    Witness the florid murals and French-inspired checked floors, the dozens of cheesecakes in sumptuous flavors such as white chocolate caramel macadamia and the calorie-laden dishes that regularly land the chain on extreme eating lists.

    But behind the extravagant menu and interior design, there’s a classically American story involving an entrepreneurial housewife and a cheesecake tweaked from a newspaper recipe.

    The business has its roots in Detroit after World War II, when Evelyn Overton sold baked goods from her home kitchen so that she could keep an eye on her young children. A quarter-century later, she and her husband, Oscar, relocated to Southern California with $10,000 to their names.

    Inspired by their work, their son David Overton eventually opened the first Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Beverly Hills in 1978, using money that his accountant helped raise.

    “I didn’t know what I was doing,” Overton, 67, said recently over a lunch of sliders, iced green tea and a cup of tortilla soup. “And I really didn’t like the name — I thought we had so much more to offer.”

    “But in the end,” he said, “I couldn’t think of another name.”

    In its first year, the Cheesecake Factory made no money. Now 35 years old and based in Calabasas, the company earns nearly $2 billion a year in revenue. Celebrities such as Halle Berry and Justin Bieber have been known to drop in, Overton said.

    There are 162 Cheesecake Factory restaurants in the U.S., along with 11 eateries under the Grand Lux Cafe brand and one RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen.

    Cheesecake Factory locations gross, on average, more than any other chain in the U.S., Overton said. The Honolulu branch pulls in $20 million a year.

    The company made its market debut in 1992, when Overton agreed to an initial public offering — in large part because he wanted to help his mother retire. The chain enjoyed a 25% revenue growth each year through 2007.

    But when the recession hit, Overton said, he “took too long to realize that it was here to stay.”

    The company’s stock plunged from roughly $30 a share in 2007 to $5 a share in late 2008 before management moved to scale back store openings. In recent years, the chain has had to raise food prices slightly to keep up with the increase in commodity costs.

    “I should have reacted quicker,” Overton said.

    The company has since embraced caution. It has no plans to spin off Grand Lux and RockSugar as separate public companies, and offers few bargains or advertisements across its restaurants. Overton said his business only participates in social media because “that’s the future.”

    But with the stock now near an all-time high at $41.46 a share, Cheesecake Factory is slowly easing back into expansion mode. It opened its first licensed international location in Kuwait last year, recently launched an eatery in Dubai and has several more on the way in Asia.

    Barring remote states such as Alaska and the Dakotas — where the chain “probably won’t go” — Overton said the Cheesecake Factory is also growing in the 40 states with current locations. Many of the new openings are in the suburbs, where stores smaller than the customary 10,000-square-foot urban restaurants are “working out well,” he said.

    These days, the Cheesecake Factory offers more than 200 menu items and more than 30 cheesecakes. It’s a far cry from opening day, when the menu was two pages and featured a dozen cheesecakes.

    “When I trust my own taste buds, that’s what people like,” he said. “I’m not a gourmet and I don’t try to be. The common man likes my taste.”

    Often, that means heaping portions drenched in salt and butter.

    The Cheesecake Factory regularly ends up on the Xtreme Eating list compiled by the nonprofit advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest. This year, its Bistro Shrimp Pasta entree was called out for being crammed with 3,120 calories and 89 grams of saturated fat — equal to three orders of classic lasagna and a slice of tiramisu from the Olive Garden, according to the group.

    The average adult should cap daily consumption at 2,000 calories and 20 grams of saturated fat, the group said.

    The restaurant chain has recently tried to be more welcoming to scale-watchers, launching a so-called Skinnylicious menu two years ago with 52 dishes featuring less than 590 calories each. There’s also a gluten-free menu in the works with more than 70 items.

    But, at its core, the Cheesecake Factory is an indulgent brand, Overton said.

    “It’s hard to make delicious food without some calories,” he said. “Going out to a restaurant like this is very celebratory. The hard- core guest wants what they want, they have their favorites and that’s what they order.”

    Another factor in the chain’s appeal: its ambience.

    The solid wood countertops are inspired by the Victorian details around San Francisco. Overton hasn’t been to Egypt — a planned store opening there this year was put off due to political unrest — but the columns holding up Cheesecake Factory ceilings look like they are from a Luxor temple. Other inspirations include Florentine churches and New York bathhouses.

    Now, though, the decor is becoming more muted and modernized, as the Cheesecake Factory seeks to update its riotous looks.

    “You’ve always got to change and move into the future,” Overton said.

    He’s also deeply involved in the music selection at the restaurants, picking each song instead of relying on packaged lists, usually weeding out “thumpy” tunes and hip hop.

    Before the restaurants, before the thrill of running a business, music was Overton’s “first love.”

    His first job was drumming in a band at the age of 15. In the 1960s, he dropped out of law school at UC Hastings College of the Law to become a longhaired rocker, supporting himself by working as a substitute teacher in Oakland.

    He lived a block off the famed Haight-Ashbury intersection during San Francisco’s hippie heyday, running into the likes of Jimi Hendrix. Once, he drummed on the same concert bill as Janis Joplin.

    Now, however, Overton lives what he calls “a pretty normal lifestyle,” traveling for work and attending classical jazz and New Age world music concerts.

    He and his wife have three grown sons — none of whom works in the food business — and live in the same Benedict Canyon home they have occupied since 1989. They also have a Malibu beach house.

    Overton doesn’t watch much television. And he certainly doesn’t tune into “Big Bang Theory,” the popular CBS sitcom in which the main female character works at a Cheesecake Factory in Pasadena.

    “They did it and they didn’t ask us,” Overton said of the show runners’ decision to feature the chain. “But although there’s no real connection to us in any way, shape or form, we’re happy that there’s a character who works at the restaurant.”

    tiffany.hsu@latimes.com

    [Reply]

  632. more updates on Newport:

    http://www.myhudsoncounty.com/shopping-nj-northern-new-jersey-hudson-county/new-stores-set-debut-newport-centre-jersey-city

    It’s about 6 years too late to be opening up a Zumiez and a Sketchers

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, Not exactly sure what you mean by six years too late.

    [Reply]

    Joey Reply:

    @SEAN, I feel like both of those stores should have opened years ago. They don’t seem to be “flavor of the week” stores as of late such as Michael Kors, Pandora, Vans, Icing, etc.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, Pandora is a known brand, but there own stores are a way to expand the brands reach. Icing actually is a devision of Claire’s & is mostly in higher end malls like Freehold or Short Hills.

    As for your below comment on H & M closing in Danbury, that is a bit surprising since cheep sheek brands like them along with XXI & Uniqlo are all hot right now.

    [Reply]

  633. The H&M at Danbury Fair has closed. I’m shocked. Hopefully, they’ll renovate and relocate?

    [Reply]

  634. Just announced: Newport is getting a Starbucks right next to Michael Kors. This will bring down Gloria Jean’s for sure. With these new store selections, Newport is reminding me of the new Quaker Bridge. All Newport needs now is a J. Crew or Banana Republic, Apple, and The Cheesecake Factory.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, As I said recently, Newport Centre is moving up market all be it slowly. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the names you mentioned open locations there.

    As for Starbucks, there are 4 existing locations in Jersey City. One of them is a few blocks away from the mall on Pavonia Avenue @ 111 Town Square Place & another is at 15 Exchange Place about a mile away.

    [Reply]

    Joey Reply:

    @SEAN, Yeah make that 5 existing locations in Jersey City. There’s one in Target down the street.

    There’s only two problems with Apple at NC:

    1.) Jersey City’s UEZ makes 3.5% sales tax everywhere. This would make an Apple extremely successful, making people from surrounding areas and counties flock to Newport to pay less taxes on their iPad or MacBook. However, this would take away business from successful locations in Paramus, Short Hills, and the dozens in NYC.

    2.) Some of the people that shops at Newport come from not so great areas of Jersey City and every now and then, there is crime at the mall. I feel like Apple would be the victim of several robberies.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey,
    Forgot about Target.

    I understand your concern about Apple, but remember three simple words regarding Newport… NO FREE PARKING. Even transit users need to pay a little something to get to & from there.

    [Reply]

  635. I happened to stop into Quaker Bridge Mall yesterday and wow – so impressed with the changes that were made! While I’m not overly impressed with the second floor carpeting, the remodel makes the mall a lot brighter and gives it an energy that it was lacking. I like the newly built two level seating area in center court! Yesterday also happened to be the grand opening of the Apple Store, so there were extra crowds in the mall. The new Apple Store, located downstairs near JCPenney is rather large and will be a nice addition to the mall!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Do you know what ever became of the Quakerbridge Mall expantion with Neiman Marcus & Nordstrom? It’s been a few years since that idea was thrown around.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, The whole project was delayed a few years because of the recession., They finally completed the renovation and I think Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom are on hold.They’re probably in a waiting pattern to see the results of the renovation (and expansion, due to the Cheesecake Factory and Brio) When things pick up, I would think they’d want to locate there and then the expasion can be resumed.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Thanks for the info, so basicly Neiman Marcus & Nordstrom are in a holding pattern. Sounds like Newark Airport to me.

    Have you noticed the rapid expantion of Brio Lately? They seme to be in lockstep with Cheesecake Factory around here. The onle noted exception was at Palisades where Bravo it’s brandname cousin was replaced by Yardhouse. Infact Yardhouse took the entire side around to Barns & Noble. That space was rather large to begin with, but it is gigantic now.

    The next time you go in there, walk by the restrooms & you can watch them brewing & distributing the beer. That is what all the exposed piping is for & why the restaurants are so large.

    As a footnote, they are owned by the same company as Red lobster & Bahama Breeze. Mentioned the latter in a recent post on the Willowbrook page.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Freehold, Quakerbridge and Willowbrook have all gotten Brio recently. Noticed them at Millenia in Orlando when I was there last December (think it was there for a while). In a recent trip to PA, I did notice Bravo opened at Willow Grove Park, and am surprised they didn’t go into King of Prussia (on said PA trip, I also happened to visit KoP – still impressive and did notice the work to connect the two malls has not begun)

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, There’s no difference between Bravo & Brio, I asked about that recently.

    As for KoP, from what I was told from the Lovesac store there, construction was halted for some reason & there is no current news from Simon or the local media as of this post.

    [Reply]

  636. Something very interesting I found:

    I looked at the latest lease plan for Bridgewater Commons. A Uniqlo is taking over the failed Joe Fresh/Zara spot.

    http://www.ggp.com/content/corporate/data/siteleaseplans/BRIDGEWATER%20COMMONS-4347-LP2.pdf

    My idea is that this is a pop-up store for fall/winter. This is for two reasons.

    1.) Remember Uniqlo’s first time fail in Jersey, opening to unknowing shoppers in Menlo, Rockaway, and Freehold? How well did that go? Most Somerset County shoppers probably aren’t too familar with Uniqlo. If this is a permanent store, then they should have opened in an area that’s more familiar with Uniqlo (Willowbrook, Newport Centre).

    2.) 9,577 sq. feet is too small for a typical new Uniqlo. The store can only be one level due to the floor below and the main mall entrance and shops above it.

    Seasons 52 is also opening across from Bloomingdale’s main entrance

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, I think you might be mistaken regarding Uniqlo. There first US suburban store was the former Old Navy at GSP & they have opened stores in Yonkers, West Nyack & a few other locations. If Uniqlo is opening at Bridgewater, than it most likely will not be a pop up location as they compete directly with other fast fashon retailers XXI Forever & H & M.

    I can tell you right now that unless Menlo Park reconfiggures store spaces, there’s no way short of an expantion that Uniqlo will open there as the vacancy rate is almost zero right now. Woodbridge has space, but I don’t believe that would be the best center for that store, although they would do well at Freehold, Danbury & Newport Centre. Infact if H & M closed in Danbury as you noted above, that would be a great location for Uniqlo.`

    [Reply]

    Joey Reply:

    @SEAN, Actually Uniqlo was in the three mall I mentioned in 2005-07. Menlo’s was in the spot of the current Urban Outfitters and Freehold’s was on the spot of the current Charlotte Russe. I don’t know where Rockaway’s was.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, Well I sit corrected. The funny thing is that I just got back from GSP & I did visit Uniqlo. I still believe the Bridgewater location is not going to be a pop up store since that mall historicly has done well with it’s store roster & doesn’t need pop up locations to atract customers.

    Speaking of GSP, at this time there semes to be an unusually high number of vacancies. There’s an excelant chance that most of them will be occupied just in time for the holidaysm so there’s no reason to be concerned.

    [Reply]

    Joey Reply:

    @SEAN, I was at GSP last week. I’m going to go ahead and guess that the pre-2007/XXI Forever 2nd entrance is going to be an extended wing that will hold the mall’s proposed new 20 shops. They cut down the Forever 21 big time and although it’s 1 and a half floors. It’s nothing compared to the megastore it was before the parking lot expansion. The new Lululemon looks like something from space in the most crowded section of the mall.

    Anyway, I love Uniqlo GSP. I’d much rather drive a half hour to go there then commute to the city to go to the colossal, confusing, way too big flagships in the city (especially 5th Avenue). I’ve been shopping Uniqlo since 2009, but GSP’s store is simple, clean, straight to the point, and has everything I need.

    I’m shocked that Armani Exchange closed and that Tommy Hilfiger is taking its place. Who knew Tommy Hilfiger was opening stand alone stores that aren’t outlets?

    [Reply]

    Joey Reply:

    I meant to say pre-2007 Borders entrance

    [Reply]

    Joey Reply:

    I don’t want to post so much, but Uniqlo will also be opening at Staten Island Mall.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, Oh don’t worry, keep posting.

    I caught an older post at the top of this thread & it mentioned Uniqlo. I sit corrected.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, on XXI Forever, one of the store managers told me that the store did shrink but not by much. The older portion is just being remoddled to match the rest of the store. That particular XXI has a bit of interesting history to it. The older section was Child World a Toys R us type store & when the chain folded, Borders went in. When the wing that includes Grand Lux & AMC Theatres opened, Borders relocated to a somewhat smaller location. Once the book was closed on Borders, XXI chose to combine the two spaces. It took several months to complete the construction, but the results were astounding once finished. At that time, XXI was in transition moving from inline stor to taking over closed anchor spaces including the former Filene’s in Danbury. This is why seeing the GSP store shrink so soon after the recent expantion semes so odd.

    [Reply]

  637. http://racked.com/archives/2013/07/11/uniqlo-is-opening-10-stores-in-the-us-this-fall.php

    looks like Uniqlo is giving a second shot at Menlo and yes, they’re using a smaller format with these stores.

    Along with Bridgewater, Menlo and Staten Island, Trumbull CT as well as Long Island and Brooklyn will get Uniqlos! Exciting news!

    [Reply]

  638. my guess is that Old Navy is doing some serious closures. Staten Island’s will be Uniqlo, which leads me to believe the same for Trumbull and Menlo

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, This couldn’t be any more timely as I was in Trumbull today. Old Navy is getting hammered & is closing stores do to compitition from XXI Forever, H & M & the formentioned Uniqlo.

    In the case of Trumbull Shopping Park, Uniqlo is opening a rather large store in a space that has been unoccupide for at least a decade or more & yet it is in a high traffic corner on the upper level between Lord & Taylor & the up escalator from the food court that happens to also have direct outside access from the parking area. The Old Navy is in a different section of the mall & is still open.

    Uniqlo opens October 1 acording to someone in the mall office.

    [Reply]

    Joey Reply:

    @SEAN, Ahh I didn’t think about that. I know what you’re talking about as I’ve been to Trumbull several times. It’s going to be perfect next to one of the mall’s main entrances.

    Menlo’s Uniqlo could also go in the Fortunoff Backyard Store space if they decide to close

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, Menlo’s Uniqlo could also go in the Fortunoff Backyard Store space if they decide to close. I thaught of that as well, since the Backyard store is a rather large space & is well suted for retailers like Uniqlo.

    Believe it or not, the Rainforest Cafe space across the way maybe even better since it is both deep & long. Also Rainforest Cafe as restaurants go has lost a lot of it’s popularity unlike say Cheesecake Factory, Panera & chipotle wich are all doing amazing business.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I was in Menlo today and there is a rather large unoccupied space on the lower level of the Nordstrom wing, between the court and Nordstrom midcourt (where JJill and Lucky Jeans were located) I think Uniqlo will be opening there.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, Uniqlo’s Flashy New U.S. Stores Fall Short
    By Kyle Stock on July 11, 2013

    Fast Retailing (9983:JP), the company behind Uniqlo, is bent on becoming the world’s largest clothes seller, but it still can’t seem to get the fit right in the U.S.

    In an otherwise stellar earnings report this morning, the Japanese apparel giant said sales in the U.S. languished “stubbornly” below expectations in the recent quarter and that the unit continued to operate at a loss. It called out its three New York City stores as particularly disappointing.

    The results are troubling for Fast Retailing executives, because they included a new online store in the U.S. that wasn’t taking orders a year earlier. Nevertheless, the company plans to open 10 more U.S. stores in the fall, including an outlet in Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal shopping center, which would bring its total to 17.

    Meanwhile, Fast Retailing, which hawks a mix of affordable staples and high-tech fabrics, can do little wrong elsewhere, especially at stores closer to its headquarters. Frenzied demand in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan pushed Fast Retailing’s international revenue up 61 percent in the recent quarter, more than compensating for its struggling American business. While its sales in Japan increased 11 percent over the same quarter, that business was driven a bit by more aggressive discounts.

    Per its goal, Fast Retailing is catching up to its bigger rivals, namely Hennes & Mauritz (HMB:SS) and Inditex (ITX:SM), the parent of Zara. But at the moment, a lot of that has to do with the strength of the Asian economy. In Europe, Inditex and H&M remain dominant, and Europe was hardly mentioned by Fast Retailing this morning.

    [Reply]

  639. Hi Sean
    I have been in uniglo i am so so about that store
    They dont carry 30 length pants. I think their clothes arent that great. I take H AND M OVER UNIGLO. [Palisades floors are looking nice with the new tile. Red Robin is opening in August or early September. I also see Fairway us now hiring for all departments. Macys Nanuet better do something to that store they are keeping it as Macys it will not turn into Bloomingdales. I was at Bloomingdales on Long Island they could never do well here in Rockland too expensive. The way the mall looks parking will be tight and i here Stop and shop is getting nervous now.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, There’s nothing special about Stop & shop as far as grocery stores go. Some customers have traded down & others want to find more specialty goods. That latter group has allowed for the expantion of Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Wegmans, The Fresh Market & Now Fairway.

    Be careful with Uniqlo. What I’m referring to is not that the store is bad, rather it’s in direct compitition with other chains such as XXI Forever & H & M.

    We have already discussed the poor conditions at the Nanuet Macy’s, so I’m not getting involved in that here.

    [Reply]

  640. Sound the fandfair, Boscov’s opens at Woodbridge Center August 8 2013!

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, Same here Red Robin is opening August 9 at apalisades Mall.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, Red Robbin, yummmmmm!

    The only other locations around here I found are Country Glen Center in Carl Place near Roosevelt Field, Route 3 Cliffton & outside Woodbridge Center Applebee’s entrance upper level.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Also one on Stelton Road in Piscataway/South Plainfield, Rockaway Townsquare and Hamilton, NJ. They’re opening soon at Bergen Town Center

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, And they actually built into the mall to make Boscov’s space bigger. The store now begins at JCPenney Court.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I noticed that with Boscov’s with the wall pushed out on the lower level, with a cafe ajacent.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, It’s not pushed all the way out to the JCPenney Court, but it comes close, and I guess after all the years of seeing Hahne’s/Fortunoff start further back, it was awkward.

    Went to Boscov’s on the opening day. Store has a somewhat odd setup, as pathways are more windy than I’ve seen. They’ve opened the store up a lot more, use more selling space than Fortunoff used, and in some ways, the selling space reminded me of when that building was Hahne’s. That said, it’s one of the nicest, if not the nicest Boscov’s I’ve been in, they shipped a lot of staff from PA to help out with the opening and I noticed a significant improvement in their customer service, for which they should be commended! So far, it’s the most northerly Boscov’s in New Jersey.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I was there a week before Boscov’s was scheduled to open & noticed how the front of the store was pushed foward, ajacent to the restaurant. I thaught it was a bit odd.

    On some Danbury news… Old Navy closed it’s upper level & will expand the lower level portion of there store. H & M closed as noted above & several stores across from Ruby Tuesday are being combined into a massive & I meen a massive Red Robin Restaurant. Also DC based BGR The Burger Joint is scheduled to open, but no opening date has been anounced. It will be next to Chipotle on the lower level.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Last week, I was in Menlo and with the new vacant space, I figured out that Uniqolo will open downstairs near Nordstrom. Looks like they’re going to consolidate the former spaces of JJill, Lucky Jeans and another store.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Not surprisedJ Jill closed since they haven’t been doing well, but I wonder if Lucky Brand will relocate.

    [Reply]

  641. Hopefully there will be a Uniqlo for Danbury’s future in light of the loss of H&M!

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, That’s what I figgured as well in regards to uniqlo.

    [Reply]

  642. Freehold Raceway Mall is in the news for installing license plate readers at its entrances and exits.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I hope you read the article carefully, to justify such a move based on terrorism grounds is a slippery sloap. What’s next retna scans when you enter & exit the building?

    What’s interesting about this topic is that some malls around here cant install as system like this because several access points leed you to residential streets & not just to limited access highways. Green Acres, Broadway Mall, Bergen TC & GSP come to mind, with the first two in particular.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, While I’ve noticed license plate readers along some highways in the area (I-95 in Bucks Co comes to mind), I’m not a fan of this. It doesn’t cover everyone entering mall property and is inconsistent in its coverage. Yes, a slippery slope.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, As you could tell I’m not a fan either. They must have received grant money to install the system. Stop & scan?

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Yes, a Monmouth County and Homeland Security grant. My question is – what about those who come to Freehold Raceway Mall on the bus? How do you know they’re in the mall? Or what if it’s a carpool? (I’m probably giving them ideas…)

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I’m one of those bus riders.

    If you want to play the Homeland Security game, Newport Centre should have received such a grant, not Freehold Raceway since Newport has PATH nearby as well as several large finantial businesses within walking distance. Lets also remember the Holland Tunnel entrance is just off Newport Parkway.

    The more thaught you give this, the more rediculous this whole thing is.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, I am surprised Palisades mall hasnt done it being a much larger mall than Newporte and Freehold malls.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, Palisades could do it if they wanted since there’s only three auto access points. However as Mallguy pointed out & I atested to, what about those who use public transit to reach the mall?

    In the Newport exampleI gave yesterday, I noted the presence of large finantial businesses have offices within mere blocks of the mall & the PATH station. Companies such as Goldman Sachs have back end opperations in the Newport area.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, FYI, Arhaus will be opening a store in Danbury in 2014. I would figgure it’s going in the mall since they already have space & it’s sister property Freehold has had one when the lifestyle section opened.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, I was correct, Arhaus is taking the entire H & M space in Danbury. Speaking of Danbury, Red Robbin & a japanese bistro are going in side by side across from Ruby Tuesday & no word yet on BGR’s opening.

    Also of note is that Uniqlo will be opening a rather sizable location at Bridgewater Commons next to Bloomingdales on the main level. The store will have an interesting design querk in that the escalators at that end will be encased by the Uniqlo store.

    I haven’t been to Bridgewater Commons in almost 20-years & the mall looks like it’s in good shape with only a few empty stores scattered about.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Yes, Bridgewater Commons is in great shape! It’s continually updated. Interesting thing about that Uniqlo store – when it became Zara prior to Joe Fresh, they encased the escalator to get as much space as possible. Before that, it was a dead end wing.

    Happened to be at the Shops at Riverside last week and noticed that they have a rather large Airhaus. Also a few empty storefronts, but nothing to fret over.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Oh I see, so that’s why the escalators at the Bloomingdale’s end at BC are blocked in that way.

    I knew someone who worked at the Riverside Arhaus for a time, but she left quite recently. Her youngest daughter shares a house with a childhood friend of mine who I’m still very close to. As the song title says – “It’s a small world after all.”

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, This might interest you.

    UNIQLO Announces Plans to Open Five New Stores This Spring/Summer in the U.S.
    UNIQLO CO., LTD.

    UNIQLO USA today announced it will continue its expansion in the U.S. by opening five new stores this spring/summer. These new stores will expand the brand’s presence and mark UNIQLO’s first entry into the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area.

    The five new UNIQLO locations to open in spring/summer are:

    • King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, PA
    • Stamford Town Center in Stamford, CT
    • Serramonte Center in Daly City, CA
    • Sunvalley Shopping Center in Concord, CA
    • Great Mall of the Bay Area in Milpitas, CA

    “We are thrilled to announce our newest store openings and eager to bring the UNIQLO experience to even more communities throughout the United States,” said Larry Meyer, CEO of UNIQLO U.S.A. and Fast Retailing Group Senior Vice President. “Our universal products, every day basics of exceptional value, world class customer service and modern, bright stores will create a brand new group of UNIQLO fans.”

    Currently there are 17 UNIQLO stores in the U.S.: 3 in New York City, 5 in New York State, 3 in New Jersey, 1 in Connecticut, and 5 in the San Francisco-Northern California area, as well as UNIQLO.com, which offers nationwide online shopping.

    In the fall of 2014, UNIQLO plans to debut its innovative, high-quality clothing in new markets including downtown Philadelphia, Boston and Los Angeles-Southern California. Details about these new markets will be announced at a later date. To staff these new stores, UNIQLO plans to hire and train several hundred full-time and part-time employees at all levels.

    In addition, UNIQLO announced it will close today the second floor of its 5th Avenue store in New York City for renovations and will reopen this section in March. Customers will be able to shop the other floors during construction.

    For more information visit http://www.uniqlo.com, or download the new UNIQLO U.S.A. app.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, I was in Macys in Nanuet yesterday that store is a pig pen and nothing of a selection and hardly any salespeople. I tell you this store should have been on the 5 store closure list. I went to Zinburger it was good but 10.00 for just a burger 5.00 for fries and 2,70 for a soda Close to 20.00. I go to Joes American Grill in GSP AND HAVE THE SAME FOR14.99 IN CHILIS FOR 13.99 AND rED rOBIN FOR 13.99. iTS A NICE PLACE i WILL NOT MAKE A REGULAR TRIP TO . JOSABANK SPORTSHIRTS 79.50 IN THEIR OUTLET STORE IN bERGEN TOWN CENTER 24.99/ i TELL YOU THESE STORES WONT MAKE IT HERE BELIEVE ME.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, It’s been well documented that you don’t like Macy’s in Nanuet, but at least you can get to nearly a half dozen locations with ease without crossing the Hudson Ocean. As for the Outlets, beware – some items or lines are made specificly for those outlets & you won’t find them in the regular stores.

    Went to Red Robin in Danbury yesterday & I thaught it was good, but I find despite the higher price point – Zin Burger has higher quality food. Now if you want to split the difference, Bobby’s Burger Palace is an excelant choice & there’s one on RT 4 at BTC.

  643. I grew up in Howell and remember going to this mall when it opened. My sister and I would get to ride the carousel and get a soft pretzel if we were good. :)

    [Reply]

  644. Sean I have been to bobbys burger they do have excellent burgers i like red robin their fries are better than zinburger. Joes americn Grill inGSP HAS GOOD BURGERS AS WELL IVE BEEN GOING THERE FOR YEARS. I JUST FEEL MACYS IS A WASTE OF A STORE . WHEN I WORKED FOR MACYS IN PARAMUS NANUET IS THE LOWEST VOLUME STORE IN THE DISTRICT..

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, Curious – what did you do for Macy’s?I think the fact that the Nanuet Macy’s is owned rather than leased plays a roll in why it remains open despite being low on the pecking order around here. Also remember the NYC metropolitan area has 50 plus locations.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, i worked in paramus until 2007 i worked in mens shoes.They can always sell it to simon, Iam saying between palisades paramus park and garden state nanuet was to lowest in volume of sales. Thats why iam saying they are wasting money operating that store even though they own it. If they close it they could place the workers in palisades or one of the two paramus stores.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, OK then, then what – Macy’s closes as you suggest. What do you do with that building? You know Bloomingdale’s won’t take it, same for Sacks, Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom. Your only relistic option would be Boscov’s & I doubt they would take a second flyer after they were bounced some years ago. Monmouth Mall regaining Boscov’s was a total fluke.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, if many request to the mall to bring Boscovs back maybe simon would consider Bonton Cenbtury 21 dept store.

    [Reply]

  645. Didn’t know where to put this, but The Cheesecake Factory has a strong chance of coming to Westfield Trumbull in CT! Ruby Tuesday ruins giving it a proper entrance though

    http://www.trumbulltimes.com/20095/cheesecake-factory-gets-town-approval/

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Joey, Hey there! – haven’t herd from you since like forever.

    I do find it odd that Cheesecake Factory would choose to open at Westfield Trumbull, but then again there aren’t any really good sites for them between Bridgeport & New Haven outside of the Yale campus area.

    [Reply]