Here’s what’s happening to five big shopping malls in NJ
New Jersey was always a mall state. For many years, this tiny state with all of its highways was the perfect environment for malls galore. And we had more in close proximity to each other than many other states.
We all know, however, that the changing times have required a big change for malls. Although online shopping had already eaten into the profit margins of so many retail stores, COVID-19 was the nail in the coffin for many of these huge shopping centers.
On the other hand, what to do with all of the land that these malls are sitting on? In most cases, it’s a redevelopment plan that transforms the malls into sort of a new type of mini “town square.”
They called these mixed-used destinations. And most of these will include rental units, hotels, restaurants, and medical facilities. Some big anchor stores will stay, many will be replaced with grocery stores. For some reason here in New Jersey we just can’t seem to have enough grocery stores. Usually, these places will also include public amenities, such as gyms, community event spaces, office buildings, parks, gardens and/or walking paths.
Sometimes, as in the case of the Paramus project, a main street will meander through the property for access to all the spaces within the new development.
An article on Re-nj.com details the plans for five New Jersey malls, including Bergen Town Center, Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, Moorestown Mall in Moorestown, Bridgewater Commons in Bridgewater, and Monmouth Mall in Eatontown.
Each of these malls has some combination of all of the above, being built into the new communities while phasing out most of the obsolete retail spaces.
Eventually, most New Jersey malls will probably go this route.
You may not love the idea of these redevelopment projects. But did you really love the malls that much anyway? At any rate, there really is no choice. These improvements are necessary to move into what we now know is the new normal.
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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.
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