The Mall at Mill Creek; Secaucus, New Jersey

The Mall at Mill Creek in Secaucus, New Jersey

Smaller, ancillary malls have long been a favorite of mine, in a large part because they seem to be at far greater risk of redevelopment than larger malls, and also because many of them have not been substantially updated.

Another major reason is that I like the idea of a “community mall,” and am not sure why it hasn’t worked better in the United States. Suburban areas without a traditional downtown are ripe for a smaller enclosed mall that contains a mixture of stores selling essentials, such as a discount department store, an off-price fashion retailer, several restaurants, a pharmacy, service businesses (haircut places, cell phone dealers), as well as community gathering spaces like bookstores or coffee shops. When I find a mall that seems to actually achieve this balance, it’s a cause for celebration.

When I first visited the Mall at Mill Creek in Secaucus, New Jersey, in the center of the Meadowlands just 5 miles west of Manhattan, it was the summer of 2000 and the mall seemed to be doing marvelously as a smaller, community-oriented center. With about 400,000 square feet of space, it was no monster, but with anchors like Kohl’s and Stop & Shop, it drew a rather large local clientele from the geographically-isolated, inner-ring city of Secaucus and was almost completely tenanted.

Fast forward to November, when I finally went back, and see for yourself the state in which I found the mall. I wasn’t actually surprised to see it so sparse, and what seemed to be charmingly unrenovated in 2000 seems somewhat bleak and brutal in 2006. If anything, I expected this, because this is the fate that has befallen almost all enclosed malls of this size and type in the past six years. Clearly The Mall at Mill Creek is no exception: it’s pretty safe to call it a dead mall now.
The Mall at Mill Creek in Secaucus, New Jersey

There are a few interesting things I want to point out about The Mall at Mill Creek:

  1. One of its anchors is a Stop & Shop grocery store, with its lone entrance facing into the interior of the mall. Note all of the senior citizens lined up in the mall with their shopping carts in one of these photos.
  2. The mall is part of a larger complex owned by Hartz Retail, called Harmon Meadow. Across the highway from the mall (but linked via internal roadways) is a large, outdoor mixed use complex that includes several hotels, a movie theatre, restaurants, more stores, and several office buildings. This center appears to have been developed in the 1980s (or even the 1970s), long before the current “lifestyle center” craze, and at the moment appears to be faring far better than the mall itself.
  3. The demographics of both the mall and the area appear to skew somewhat older than is typical, which may have contributed to the mall’s downfall. These pictures were taken on a Saturday afternoon, and a large portion of the patrons in the mall at the time were senior citizens. Similarly, Secaucus is a classic example of one of New York City’s older suburbs, densely packed with street after street of brick row houses adorned with shiny metal awnings. It’s charming, but also very mature, and it’s possible (and even likely) that a large portion of the population is no longer the mall-going crowd.

I don’t know much about the history of the mall, so if you can fill us in, please comment away.

The Mall at Mill Creek in Secaucus, New Jersey The Mall at Mill Creek in Secaucus, New Jersey The Mall at Mill Creek in Secaucus, New Jersey The Mall at Mill Creek in Secaucus, New Jersey

The Mall at Mill Creek in Secaucus, New Jersey The Mall at Mill Creek in Secaucus, New Jersey The Mall at Mill Creek in Secaucus, New Jersey The Mall at Mill Creek in Secaucus, New Jersey

The Mall at Mill Creek in Secaucus, New Jersey The Mall at Mill Creek in Secaucus, New Jersey

70 Responses to “The Mall at Mill Creek; Secaucus, New Jersey”

  1. I stayed in the AmeriSuites in Harmon Meadow about a year or two ago, before the Wal-Mart opened up, but didn’t get to go to this mall.

    The parts of the complex I saw looked to be in good shape, if a bit dated. With all the hotels there, it seems like there should be way more happening there than there is.

    Like you said, Caldor, I think the failure of the mall has to do with it being a mature center in a mature market. There’s nothing really wrong with what I’ve seen of the entire set-up, it’s just tired.

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  2. Stop and shop was formerly Edwards grocery stores and Kohl’s was formerly Caldor.

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  3. OK, that makes sense, since the Stop & Shop doesn’t really conform to their usual layout. Stop & Shop acquired Finast/Edwards sometime in the mid-1990s. I forget the year, but I remember the changeover because we had an Edwards in my hometown.

    I assumed the Kohl’s was something else since, upon my visit in 2000, they were brand new to the northeast. It seems most of the Kohl’s locations here were former Bradlees or Caldor stores.

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  4. Kohl’s was confirmably a Caldor. There’s a picture of it when it was a [rectangular logo] Caldor on the Ames Fan Club linked from SiteRide. I’ll see if I can find that…

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  5. There’s a picture of what the former Caldor entrance looked like (first picture on page 18). SiteRide has a fuller set of photos from around 10 years ago when Caldor occupied the mall. You can find the gallery on their site but it’s not being totally cooperative at this time.

    http://www.amesfanclub.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=5&page=18

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  6. Stop & Shop was a Foodtown when the mall originally opened, probably sometime in the 80′s. It had always served a lower income demographic. I remember the Caldor very well. I also remember when the mall was doing pretty well, well before 2000. Another place you don’t hear much about from the retail past was a Lechemere, which could easily be considered the smaller format of what is now a Linens n Things or a Bed Bath and Beyond.

    That complex has undergone many changes over the years. An interestingly laid out now defunct The Wiz was on the other side. Also, the Red Robin, which is now a couple miles away on Route 3 in Clifton was also located on this strip. I think Red Robin went through a period of decline, and they are now expanding again. And where the current Best Buy is across the street was originally some other electronics/appliance retailer, which was known for some shoddy business practices. The nearby Home Depot was/is open 24 hours, also a rarity for NJ.

    This might be a case where the area is too saturated, with the opening of a Wal Mart/Sams Club combo.

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  7. Ancillary malls are among my favorites too. We have a few in Michigan that you might be interested in, Caldor.

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  8. WHO KILLED THE MALL AT MILL-CREEK??
    The mall at mill creek IS (almost) dead. But it didn’t die…it was killed.

    The mall opened in the early 90′s with Caldor (currently Kohl’s), Herman’s Sporting Goods (currently Modell’s) and Mayfair Super Foodtown (Later Edwards and currently Stop & Shop) It was the Meadowland’s answer to the mall we never had. There was a building boom in Hudson County and the Meadowlands in the 80′s…the Newport Mall was built in Jersey City, and the Meadowlands saw a huge boom which brought in 2 Sony Theaters, the area’s first chain-restaurants and a sh*tload of hotels and office buildings. With people…there came a need for shopping–not high-end shopping, but basic things that the outer suburbs all had for years–a discount store, a Payless, a CVS etc.. We never had any of that in the Meadowlands before Mill-Creek. I guess maybe because all the towns had (and still have) such strong downtowns, and also due to the fact that there was not much room for sprawl.

    The Caldor was originally planned and built as a Jamesway store (Jamesway’s headquarters was about a mile away from this mall in Secaucus) but the company ran into trouble, and Caldor was more than happy to take over the lease.

    The mall has always done exceedingly well–and is especially loved by the office workers of the area and residents of the high-rise apartment buildings. It’s more-or-less some of the only shopping in the area.
    If you notice, the food court in the mall is disproportionally big for such a puny mall. That is because the busiest time of day in the mall was lunchtime, when workers needed a place to grab lunch and maybe a few groceries from Foodtown and a toy or video at Caldor.

    Kids from the outer suburbs like Wayne and Paramus would always make fun of Mill Creek cuz (in Jersey–the land of malls) any mall with Caldor and Foodtown as anchor stores with an Olive Garden thrown in the parking lot was definitely not trying too hard to be anything it wasn’t. Yet location was always the best thing Mill Creek had going for it…people friggin flocked to Millcreek….especially people from the surrounding urban areas–North Bergen, Jersey City, Union City and Secaucus.

    As time went by, some stores changed hands when they were acquired. Foodtown became Edwards and then Stop & Shop came…but lots of the anchors which were there when the mall opened were still there and happy to be there up to last year–the Hallmark store, the ticketmaster place, CVS, Sam Goody, Mandee, Modell’s, the guido Men’s store, KB Toys Casual Male…

    The reason the stores all left Mill Creek was not because they didn’t want to be there…but because their leases were not renewed. It’s the same old, tired story. Stop and Shop wants to be a Super Stop & Shop…and people don’t shop at enclosed malls anymore, so the mall is being re-developed into an open-air center. Kohl’s, Modells and the supermarket are all staying… But it will be kind of sad once the cookie-cutter Super Stop & Shop is built, and all the Mill-Creek neon is all gone for good cuz then this place will just be like everywhere else.

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  9. I just noticed that the words “Modell’s” and “Sporting Goods” are in different colors. You don’t suppose that the “Sporting Goods” part holds over from when it was Herman’s World of Sporting Goods?

    And really, someone should stop that kind of crap from happening… intentionally not renewing leases in a mall just so it can be torn down for a big cookie cutter development.

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  10. I think that, for all we know, its definately possible that the Modell’s possibly could’ve been Herman’s at one time. The font size of both the “Modell’s” and “Sporting Goods” signs do differ in size, after all.

    ‘Course, I dunno though, since I’ve personally never been to that mall, or New Joor-sey myself :)

    I also agree with you about your disappointment of mall owners not renewing leases. It’s just likely a sign that a mall owner probably wants to tear down and redevelop the land the mall sits on, which is unfortunate(I fear this may be currently happening at Machesney Park Mall in the Rockford, IL area, which was recently covered on this blog late last year, and currently is all but a dead mall).

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  11. Wouldn’t be so bad if too many developers these days would rather make the quickest, fastest buck instead of making something original with some sense of vision like they used to in the mid 20th century. Just because it’s a “shopping center” doesn’t mean it needs to be bland and basic looking like this era of big box retail.

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  12. I recall (and could be very wrong about this) that Mill Creek was one of the last surviving locations of the former Meyer Brothers junior department store chain from Patterson, N.J. before that company closed in the 1990s.

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  13. Here’s some older shots of the Caldor era Mall at Mill Creek courtesy of SiteRide. http://www.siteride.com/srpl/p_snapshot.pl?lm=listing&resbox=1168664809&subNum=50220000126

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  14. How do you find these things on SiteRide? I can’t find this mall by going to their main page.

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  15. Without some sort of username/password, you can’t access the database. However, there’s many links that still access these lost pages on the Ames Fan Club forums by my fellow posters.

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  16. Do you know how to register for an account on siteride.com, by any chance?

    Man, I’d SO LOVE to be able to access their entire database, especially if by some chance, they did have any older pics of malls I’d been to before(though I’m not sure if their site only covers malls in the northeast, or if it does include malls in the Midwest or South).

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  17. Never mind my question(lol), I concede that its probably one of those private sites where you have to have a private username through the company to access it(since I haven’t lucked out on finding a page that allows you to register for an account on that site). And despite that it’s probably a NYC/NJ/CT only site, its still a very interesting site to browse around anyway.

    Only thing I’ve lucked out on figuring out after playing with the site is that you can find profiles of certain retailers that list their (vacant?) stores via doing this: http://siteride.com/srpl/tenrepinfo.pl?mode=view&id=??

    Of course by the 2 question marks at the end of that URL, just erase the question marks, and type a random 2-digit number to replace them. So far, the most interesting ones I’ve found are Dunkin’ Donuts(by typing 47), and Kmart(43). Heck, there’s even a listing of Kmart stores that closed in the 1st round of Kmart closures when they filed for bankruptcy around 2001/2002(though it strangely doesn’t include stores that closed in their 2nd round of closures). The list of store closures, in itself, is quite fascinating(and includes some I remember going to years ago!).

    This, OTOH, allows you to see all the locations of a certain restaurant chain or retailer that are listed on this site: http://siteride.com/srpl/propsearch.pl?qtype=by-retailer&prop=true&q=??
    (and like before, replace the question marks with the name of the retailer/restaurant, and obviously, use the + symbol for spaces if the name of a retailer/restaurant is more than one name)

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  18. Do u live in New Jersey?
    This mall is so cool I go their all the time!
    What is ur fave store?!!

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  19. Yea I live in Secaucus and the rumor I keep hearing is that Mill Creek will either be torn down to make way for a major housing project, or all the smaller stores, (the ones left, Gamestop, Verizon, Footlocker, RadioShack, Claire’s etc.) will be closed to make way for a large store like Macy’s or something. Only Kohl’s and Stop & Shop would survive the second rumor…Either way I don’t care cuz that mall has always sucked.

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  20. I work in one of the office bulidings next to the mall and were were told Kohl’s, Stop & Shop & Modells are staying and they are going to add Babies R Us, Old Navy & the Gap. The food court vendors have signs up that they are not going anywhere but i don’t know about that. Sounds to me like a strip mall not an enclosed mall.

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  21. I can cofirm 2 things:

    Dave is right about the Mall at Mill Creek being murdered. As recently as last year this mall was 3/4 subscribed with some large stores that were supposed to fill the remainder that never materialized for some reason.

    Wal-Mart was part of the equation, but the real Mall Killer is the Xanadu Project going on close to the Continental Airlines Arena. Hartz Mountain (the company that owns the property) has been complaining about how Xanadu would essentially be a “Mega-Mall” and probably decided the days of this Mall were gone.

    The second thing I can confirm (from memory only unfortunately) is that the Modells was in fact a Herman’s Sporting Goods previously.

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  22. on february15,07, THE DEAD MALL has indeed surpassed its well described name and the mall it actually a “deadest” mall, i noticed some stores had signs informing what a few left customers that they are here to stay, after inquiring about those signs, i was told that it is an deliberate attempt by the landlord to have the mall vacated, such an unconsidered landlord, considering that those are the same tenants made the mall the success it was so proud of. Furthermore, i inquired what about the for lease signs, it was told it is just to put a “front” and not to make anything out of it. i will like to say to the landlords, “SHAME ON YOU” . There is a right thing to do and a wrong thing to do, but it seems like there is a new term for the lordlord, it is downright dispicabl, and a shameful act from the landlord, i invite any one to go and see the mall today and to judge for themselves,
    please give feedback

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  23. I just walked over there to Mill Creek Mall today at lunchtime (27th March 2007). And I was surprised to see some stores open (Modell’s, Radio, Shack, jewelry store, Foot Locker (they were literally packing up), McDonalds, Subway, Kohls, StopShop, poster/frame shop, nail salon, temporary tax store…I think that was it. I was surprised as in Nov2006 a guard told me the were closing everything except for Kohls and StopShop and building just 2 or 3 large stores. I guess the landlords are waiting out the few tenants. The place does look pathetic but let’s be honest. This place never, ever had 100% occupancy and I grew up in the area. I remember the Bergenline store owners complaining when they were building this place. The Harmon Plaza has the same pathetic story (other side of Turnpike). Now it’s worse than ever. Most stores are crap, if open. Some retail space has actually been taken over by Ernst & Young for a computer room. But Hartz was never big into re-investing in their property unless a tenant was eager to co-invest. If they did, this place could be booming. Look at Edgewater.

    Terry

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  24. Interesting story on this mall. I remember when it opened back in the mid ’80s. This mall definitely is in a mature area.

    Mayfair Foodtown, and later Edwards, had a reputation for running shabby (if not dirty) supermarkets, so I’m sure it is a positive that they rebranded to Stop & Shop. Mayfair was the largest owner of Foodtown supermarkets in NJ, and the way they ran their stores led to the demise of the co-op company that led Foodtown as a whole. But I digress…

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  25. OH MY GOD — Blast from the past! I remember vividly when this mall opened up in the 80′s. There was a Foodtown, Caldor, CVS, Sam Goody, FootLocker, & Hermans to name a few of the stores. It was always such a chore to find parking at this plaza on weekends and christmas holidays. OMG. The lines at Caldor I remember would run for hours and hours because the stores were so busy .. Very sad to see now in ’07 the mall is a ghost town except for Stop and Shop and Kohls. I worked at the Mayfair/Foodtown for 5 years from 91-96. I can say this much. During the 5 years I worked at Foodtown, the mall was ALWAYS busy. Later the Mayfair/Foodtown chain was bought by Edwards and the deal closed in 96, and the store because a crap hole (and ultimately i quit). Lots of our regular customrs had also left, and I honestly believe this was the start of the death of the mall (well that and caldor having been out of business on or around the same time)…..What a shame.

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  26. It may not look like much but i found another one of these community malls-at a condo complex of all places.

    Galaxy Towers in West New York on Boulevard East
    totaly screams 70s
    No chain stores just local businesses for locals & residents of the 5 building complex.

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  27. I just passed by today (September 14, 2007) and noticed a sign on the Mall doors saying that effective October 1, 2007, the center of the mall will no longer be accessible (nor its doors). However, Kohls and Edwards will still have their entrances at either end of the mall.

    Terry

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  28. What? What about Stop and Shop? That’s horrible!

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  29. i stand corrected..the Stop&Shop will be open at one end…not Edwards.

    The Kohls will be open at the other end.

    Tery.

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  30. You mean to tell me there are not enough people to suport a local mall like this? Even with harmon cove towers & town houses, what a shame!

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  31. Judging from what Terry said, this mall is on it’s last days. Shame because if it was renovated and had more stores that catered to the middle-age and elderly crowd it could’ve been a small but valuable mall.

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  32. 1. Is that a super stop & shop?

    2 T the marshalls store doesn’t have a mega shoe store or any other specialized departments unlike East Rutherford or Jersey City. Tough to stay in business that way.

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  33. Did the Olive Garden start out as a different restaurant? The original Olive Garden building was not like any other Olive Gardens around. It has since been torn down and rebuilt as their “Tuscan Farmhouse” format.

    The Mill Creek Mall has officially closed as of Oct 1. Modell’s is gone even though previous posts said they were staying. They have since opened a new store a few miles up Rt 3 in Clifton. Perhaps they will be returning once the mall is re-developed. They have set up construction trailers in the parking lot so it’s just a matter of time before the mall is gone. Other than what’s mentioned here on this post, I can’t find any info about what’s to become of this mall. The only certainty seems to be a Super Stop and Shop.

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  34. Sean asked:
    1. Is that a super stop & shop?

    No. It appears to be pretty unchanged since it’s days as a FoodTown. The layout wasn’t changed when it was converted from Edwards to Stop and Shop. They updated the look of the interior decor the same way they did with other Edwards and former Grand Unions. The store is kept very clean and well stocked but there is nothing special about it all.

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  35. 4 Tenants remain open in the mall and are fighting it.
    I owned business in the mall and Hartz’s mismanagement forced us into default of our very long lease and out of the mall.

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  36. I visited this mall on its “last weekend” which apparently wasn’t its last after all. Virtually no foot traffic between the Kohl’s and Stop and Shop, it was really eerie. Even if they end up staying, I can’t imagine those few remaining stores being able to turn a profit with so few customers (though the Kohl’s seemed rather busy).

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  37. Thanks jazlow, maybe stop & shop will expand, not a bad idea. They did that in North White Plains on route 22.

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  38. A few months back we went to the Harmon Meadow complex. I saw the mall but didn’t go inside. It’s a very bizzare place. We were meeting someone at the AMC loews, but there are two (an 8 screen and a 6 screen). They couldn’t find it so we had a woman in a patrol car tel them directions on the phone (she says every day she’s on someone’s phone giving directions because the place is so confusing).

    The theater was from another time and ugly. Frankly, i’m not surprised the mall declined. Here are some pics of the place: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shaneyoyeah/sets/72157594316656222/

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  39. Both Loews theatres will be closing in the not to distant future & will be replaced with a 24-screen Muvico mega plex in the new meddowlands mall whatever it’s name is now.

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  40. I dont know how far the meadowlands is from Harmon Meadows but i wouldnt think that the theater would replace these two. Mybe they should tear them down and build a megaplex to compare with the Meadowlands one.

    And the mall at the meadowlands will be called the Meadowlands Xanadu & will be the largest in Jersey. It sounds cool.

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  41. The Modell’s was definitely a Herman’s Sporting Goods. I used to work at Herman’s from 1988 (the mall opened I believe in either 1986 or 1987, though it didn’t get filled up and booming until 1989-1900)

    This mall was always booming…back in day the crowds were unreal. I actually worked in a few of the stores throughout high school…CVS, Designs by Levi’s – which closed in like 91 or so I think. This was THE place to go back then…you couldn’t walk around without seeing people you knew from surrounding North Bergen, Union City, West New York. I live in Florida now and it’s been about 8 years since I’ve been to Secaucus. I can’t believe they killed this mall.

    To answer some of the questions above…

    The “first” Olive Garden was originally built as an Olive Garden. It was the first Olive Garden in that part of NJ…built in probably 1990-1991. That Tuscan facade that the Olive Garden now has is a relatively new design concept that they have rolled out in the last 5-6 years. They have remodeled a lot of their locations to this style but if you see some older Olive Gardens (there’s one near my house) you’ll see they are similar.

    Contrary to comments above, the mall was mostly at 100% occupancy in the earlier years..every space was used. They even squeezed a tiny bank in there next to a cookie shop (which I think was called Gimme Jimmy’s). If you had more than 5 people on line at that bank..they would be standing out in the mall…literally.

    Caldor’s-which always had a “Wal-Mart-esque” feeling if you ask me- started out pretty well but it was regarded about as well as Kmart. Cheap and crappy pretty much. =) When they closed up shop (I think 1992-1994ish) nobody was surprised. The place went downhill pretty quick.

    Just Shirts, Pants Place, Enter Laughing, Rave, Waldenbooks, Ormond, Stride Rite, Mandees…all of these were there. I can remember some other stores who’s name I don’t recall but were long time tenants…like that Hallmark shop across from the food court, the perfume place, a Fotomat type of place, etc.

    The Food Court once had (again, many years since I’ve been there) Bravo Pizza, a Chinese place, Haagen Dazs, a hot dog type place (owned by the same guy who had Bravo and Haagen Dazs), McDonalds, a gourmet potato place (this WAS the 90s!), a Taco joint and one other place which changed genres a bunch of times. The food court was rather large for a mall this size and yet…try finding a spot to sit on a Saturday sometimes.

    Anyway, if there’s anything you want to know about this mall prior to 1992…I can probably answer it. Spent every day working there for many years and I knew everybody. =)

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  42. I also worked at this mall but during the late 90′s at the Modell’s. This place was always packed and very lively. I don’t think this mall died because of lack of interest, but because of the politics behind it. As someone said before the owners started to force the businesses out for one reason or another. It could be because they want to re-do the mall and have bigger higher end stores, who knows.

    But to tell you the truth this wasnt the best mall around but it served its purpose as a local mall and quick drive or walk for nearby residents. During Christmas time this place would be a madhouse and Caldor/Kohl’s would need to hire extra help, my dad even worked there alittle for some extra cash. The biggest thing to ever happened at that mall however was the appearance of The Rock(Dwayne Johnson) this too place around 1998/99 when Caldor closed down and the new Kohl’s was being built. They had an area set up in the Kohls entrance to the mall where he came in did his “Finally The Rock has come BACK to…Secaucus!” schitck and signed autographs for about 4 hours. There was a line that day that went from the table set up in front of Kohls going outside through the mall exit right next to it and wrapping out side the mall down the Olive garden and then to the back all the way to Stop and Shop.

    Its too bad that this mall died I spent alot of time in that place as a kid growing up and later working there. Hopefully something better will take its place.

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  43. Does anyone know what is going on with it now? I have been going there since I was a kid, and now work right across the street! I would love to know what new stores are going in and when the construction is supposed to start.

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  44. Found an interesting article on Mill Creek…

    http://www.northjersey.com/business/realestate/Judge_says_Hartz_can_evict_Mill_Creek_holdouts.html

    Mostly about how Hartz got rid of the remaining tenants who didn’t want to leave. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to stay as foot traffic at the mall was virtually non-existent in the months leading up to it officially closing. The Stop and Shop is clearly suffering from the mall shutting down. The big revelation in this article is that four new big-box retailers will be moving into the renovated mall. But no names have been given. As mentioned in other posts here, it would seem logical that the Stop and Shop would become a Super Stop and Shop. I wonder if they will stay at the far end of the mall or relocate closer to Kohls making it a more convenient stop from Rt. 3.

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  45. New Jersey doesn’t need “community malls”. We have downtowns. When I want to get my hair done or have a cup of coffee with a friend, I head to Bloomfield Ave in Montclair. I’m certainly not heading to the tired Mall at Mill Creek.

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  46. I was up in Secaucus on Saturday and drove past The Mall at Mill Creek and noticed that the indoor portion between Kohls and Stop and Shop has now been completely demolished. Business is going on as usual otherwise in the plaza.

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  47. I remember Mill Creek Mall ever since I was a little girl. I lived most of my life in Secaucus went to Huber and SHS, so watching Mill Creek disappear the way it did made me so sad. I had a lot of memories there. Like my school chorus singing infront of The Eatery or just hanging out there with friends. I recentley moved from my home and I miss it, so even a small change like my childhood mall dying out like that hurt me. Because I’ve always hated changes even little significant ones. Mill Creek was always close by and within walking distance, I used to have fun there and now it’s gone and left an empty lot of nothing. I wish I could go back, walk through the mall again and hear people talking and not the echo of my footsteps in an empty room. I wish things could be the same and I’m back home instead of another country. I wish things could go back to being the same. Mill Creek Mall wasn’t the best place to shop at but it was a part of my home and I didn’t think I could care so much, but being away from home really makes you think about the memories, and Mill Creek Mall is where many of those memories took place.

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  48. I read that the Stop & Shop will be closing soon. I don’t know if they will open a new store nearby.

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  49. The Stop & Shop is closing in May.

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  50. I always liked Mill Creek simply because it was a comfortable place to go and get shopping done, rather than aimlessly wandering around a big mall wondering what to buy. Being a smaller mall, the crowds were smaller too, so I’d never hesistate to run in and get something quickly if I was in a hurry. The stores weren’t high-end, but they sure were practical and useful. In particular, I’ll miss “Glory”, the little collectibles store in the middle of the mall. (but I just checked online and they’ve moved to Harmon Cove — another smaller mall I like!)

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    Secaucus Chick Reply:

    @Tom S., Harmon Cove OUtlet Center…IS CLOSED.

    It closed in early October. They have plans to convert it to a warehouse.

    Pity — there are no more stores back there — Syms is gone, Liz Claiborne is gone, anything else that was accross from that mall is history.

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  51. The store that is being built right now next to Kohls will be a huge Toys R Us/Babies R us mega stores. It is suppose to be the toy store of the future!

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  52. The first Olive Garden at Mill Creek was originally built as a seafood restaurant called Devon. The interior was very similar to the way your typical Houlihan’s looks, and if I’m not mistaken, Devon actually pre-dated the Houlihan’s that was built across the way at the Plaza. Devon stayed open a few years, but it didn’t draw anywhere near the crowds that the Olive Garden attracts. There also was a restaurant on the ground floor of the office building diagonally across from Olive Garden – which has since been converted back to office space.

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    Secaucus Chick Reply:

    @woogman, That was a TGIF

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  53. Wow, I practically grew up in this mall in the early 90s, and being from south Bergen County it was a good place to shop on Sunday. Yes, the Modell’s was originally a Herman’s sporting goods. There was a kiddie miniature train ride set up outside the store which had some theming – nothing mind-blowing, but there was a little tunnel and some astroturf and they would decorate it for holidays.
    I remember buying soft pretzels and soda at the Kernel and the Bean, which was in the small storefront next to Caldor. They used to have all these colored and flavored popcorn varieties, not sure if they were any good but as a kid pink popcorn seemed cool.
    There was a period of time between the mid 90s and September 11th where we didn’t go there much except for Caldor/Kohls, and shopping there in 2002 many of the stores were the same – maybe 50% of the tenants were there for over 10 years, in the same location and never renovated. Some longtime stores on the Caldor end of the mall included a Payless, a hair salon (Jon Giacomo), the Ashanti store, a Waldenbooks, a Lechters (later a Fabco shoes moved in), Rave, and the Big and Tall store. Pellegrino’s was a candy store that was there for many years. They had really good chocolates (our favorite was the chocolate covered gummy bears) and homemade fudge and carried practically the entire Jelly Belly line. Mandee’s and Claire’s were located strategically adjacent to each other. On the other end of the mall was the Parade of Shoes (might have originally been located near CVS and Foodtown), Foot Locker, the Hallmark store (Party Tyme), Gamestop, Radio Shack, Suncoast, and Kay-Bee (later tragically truncated to K-B). Some stores that have been gone for ages include the aforementioned Levi’s store, a Motherhood Maternity, and there was even a United Colors of Benetton located near the center of the mall. The last tenant in that space was a perfume store that was open for many years afterwards until the mall closed.
    On a slightly bizarre trivia note, there was a special appearance at the grand opening by Finola Hughes, known for her role as Anna Devane on General Hospital.

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  54. Stop and Shop is now closed.

    http://www.hudsonreporter.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19455316&BRD=1291&PAG=461&dept_id=523587&rfi=6

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  55. Was just here today, they’re about to tear down Stop and Shop, the rest is already gone, and the Babies R Us building is up.

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  56. Yeah it’s been demalled into a big-box strip mall.
    Here’s the lineup
    1st base Khols
    2nd base Toys”R”Us
    3rd base Babies”R”Us
    Outfield Tjmaxx
    And on cleanup Sports Arouthory.

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    Secaucus Chick Reply:

    @Mr.D:

    That mall is just awful.

    I do not shop in any of those stores and I do not intend to. There is just nothing there that I need.

    There is now a furniture store where the supermarket was.

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  57. Here is a blow-by-blow pictorial of what happened to Mill Creek Mall…

    http://picasaweb.google.com/mgiusto/millcreekmall

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  58. Did you take these?
    And Lol I can see Xanadouce in the background.

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  59. Whoa. Depressing shit. Like Jersey really needs another strip mall. Meanwhile, there is a Toys R Us like 2 miles away in North Bergen and a TJ Maxx 4 miles away in Lyndhurst. I guess Stop & Shop decided it wasn’t worth it…but now Secaucus has NO supermarkets at all. Ah well…there are like 3 ShopRites within 5 miles….

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  60. I met a guy from Stop & Shop corporate and he said the numbers did not justify keeping it open. Particularly has the nearby Walmart had expanded their food offerings and were cutting too much into S&S sales. Therefore, they had not choice but to close down. However, as of now (Jan2009) there is still a sign that space is available which to me implies that it is the old S&S area that has been leased. And with the economy going down I would not be surprised it it lingers empty for a while but who knows.

    I can say the Hartz did spend money on the other side of the highway in the little common area betwee the 2 Loews theater. As there is a new 12 screen theater being built. These will replace the 2 Loews and was told by employees at the Loews Ridgefield that that one is also closing (or perhaps closed already). The Pizzeria Uno is closed down a few months ago after being there from the first days of the Plaza. But there is a new one near Clifton Commons. Such is change.

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  61. So I just moved to that area and I have been driving to a stop and shop. Just yesterday I stumbled onto Mill Creek and saw a sign that said Stop and Shop, I could not find the store at all. So I jump on the internet to only find that it is gone BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

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  62. It’s all big box stores and Walmart is renovating the walmart into a superwalmart. The fact that this walmart is the closest to NYC and is open sundays is probably why. Sadly they took out the auto department which was very convient on weekend mornings for oil changes.

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  63. I was raised in Secaucus I remember that mall very well. Its a shame they knocked it down. The store that Tman was referring to before Best Buys was there was called Tops. I bought my first protable CD player from their in the 7th grade and it was$100 haha. Their also used to be a chinese restaurant next to the Pizzaria Uno that is no longer there, thats why those tiger statues were in front of the other restaurant for so long. There was a Sam Goody in the mall as well. My friend’s family used to own the chocolate shop there a long time ago before selling it.
    There was also an anime/kids store where you could buy pokemon cards, but I forget what was there before that. There used to be the music store next to the food court where a guy would air brush shirts. There also were rides when you walked into the entrance by the kohls aka caldor, with a bear phone you could call and hear stories.
    I spent a lot of nights as a teen walking around this mall. I was such a Mallrat and I’m proud of it!

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  64. 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 returns calls.

    –Elaine Misonzhnik

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  65. Does anybody have photos of the nearby Harmon Cove Outlet Center?

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  66. On a recent trip to Willowbrook Mall & downtown Montclair, I discovered another one of these community malls. Located on Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair’s CBD & a few blocks from the Bay Street NJT station, this interesting center contains several small shops & restaurants including a few mall staples such as Radioshack & is anchored by a decent sized Pathmark supermarket. The outside looks as it could use some TLC, inside however is a vertual surprise.

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  67. Did you know that Springsteen’s “Glory Days” video was filmed on site at Mill Creek Mall when it was under construction?

    That was June of 1985. He also filmed part of his video at a home in Secaucus and the rest was filmed at Maxwell’s Pub in Hoboken.

    Krajewski’s, a popular bar in Secaucus, was Springsteen’s original pick for the bar scenes in the video but the bar was not feasible since the ceiling height fell a bit short.

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