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SouthJersey7

Malls and Shopping Centers

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Thought I'd start a topic on malls, both currently functional and those which have ceased to be. NJ didn't have the first mall, but we sure pioneered them. :)

One in particular I have always found fascinating is the former Willingboro Plaza, in Willingboro, Burlington County. I was born and lived here up until age 14 (in 1999). First, a little background about Willingboro. It was the third of the Levitt brother's major postwar suburban projects, after Long Island and Buck County PA. In 1958 the name was changed to Levittown then back to Willingboro in 1962, being so close to the other Levittown. Willingboro absorbed urban flight from Philadelphia as well as Camden and Trenton. Today it is mostly middle-class black families who call Willingboro home. Willingboro Plaza was built in the early 60's to serve the new population. There's some good information about WP at www.deadmalls.com. From what I gather, in its height in the 60's it had a 3-story Sear's, 2 grocery stores(!), a bowling alley, movie theater (the Fox, which I think closed before I was born, I remember it sitting there boarded up for years) and a good number of small retailers, as well as Woolworth's and Boscov's (originally Pomeroy's). I have looked extensively and can find NO pics from this era! I would love to have seen it back then. In my earliest memories it was a still-functioning but very anemic plaza, with the Woolworth's, Boscov's and a handful of other stores. (Fashion Bug? I can't remember now :huh: ) As the years went by I watched it slowly and painfully die. Woolworth's and Boscov's both left around 1995-96. By the fall of 1997 I can distinctly remember one remaining retailer, it was a children's clothing shop where my family went to buy school uniforms. I think they were just finally chased out of there because very soon after that a fence was put up around the entire complex and it really started falling to pieces, literally. I think some drunks/hooligans got in there and smashed things up or something. I myself managed to sneak in for a quick look around spring '99. I wish I had a camera back then so I could have taken pics of it.

So, fast forward to 2006. Most of the original Plaza is torn down, there are only a few structural remnants. The long-planned Willingboro Town Center is now nearing completion. Here's some of the things being built:

a major facility for the pharmaceutical company Merck,

W'boro's new public library

image002.jpg

A branch of Burlington County College

l_willingboro.jpg

And, coming soon I think(?) this office building:

B1466475-8B04-43BF-B377-62AF391EE0A4.JPG

Found the pic here

In addition to this there are plans for condos and new retail. More info:

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_..._47/ai_77036113

http://www.lwrengineers.com/willingboro_town_center.htm

http://www.smartgrowthgateway.org/case_willingboro.shtml

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Burlington County in general is seeing growth due to it being close enough to the NYC metro area (Exit 4 & 5 on the NJ Turnpike). The cost of living is lower there & largely rural which is why it is attracting a lot of growth from central & north Jersey as well.

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I have a great uncle in Willingboro. He says the redevlopment is making a difference so far.

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My aunt lives in northern Burlington County. Although she allies herself with Philadelphia and hates New Yorkers, the fact remains that much of the growth in her area is from central and northern New Jerseyans and New Yorkers pushing ever farther south in search of cheaper exurban living arrangements.

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Here's a link to a document with a little more info on and a map of the new Willingboro TC. It seems they didn't do all that great of a publicity job on this as info seems a bit hard to come by. There's some more links off the main page but they're all a couple years old. I wonder if this thing is losing steam? :blink: I hope not That would be such a shame - reborn and then dead again in less than 10 years!

By the way this is for all malls/outdoor shopping centers in NJ, so feel free to chime in. There's other great examples of failed suburbia similar to WP in the state and I think there's much to be learned from them.

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^Friendly in Greensboro and Cameron Village in Raleigh are doing well so lets hope Willingboro does the same

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I've heard rumors of a proposed General Growth mall near Princeton- does anyone have any info (e.g., name, location, anchors, etc.)?

Thanks.

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I've heard rumors of a proposed General Growth mall near Princeton- does anyone have any info (e.g., name, location, anchors, etc.)?

Thanks.

Just what that area needs... except not really.

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^It may be the Route 1 @ Route 522 (Promenade Blvd) location in South Brunswick, Middlesex County; its about 5 miles northeast of Princeton. Many homeowners in this paricular area liek to give out the Princeton address rather than South Brunswick or its sections of the township like Kingston or Kendall Park.

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A thread solely devoted to malls in the New Jersey forum, it goes to show how much influence the state has from NYC and Philly, at least you all embrace it so well! :) Great info on the malls by the way, and I am hoping that the state capitalizes more on becoming an alternative to some of the crazy crap Pennsylvania and New York legislatures try to pull on us big city folk. It is nice to know a different way of life is only a bridge away some days!

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hmm dunno anything about a proposed mall near Princeton, however Quakerbridge Mall will have Nordstrom (opening in 2008 i believe).

one of the best malls in the country is in Jersey: Mall at Short Hills.

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hmm dunno anything about a proposed mall near Princeton, however Quakerbridge Mall will have Nordstrom (opening in 2008 i believe).

one of the best malls in the country is in Jersey: Mall at Short Hills.

I recently went to Short Hills for the first time. I pass it frequently on my commute along 24 but had never exited to go see it. It is indeed very upscale. I won't be doing much shopping there.

I recently moved to Montclair. I think the closest mall is Willowbrook Mall. Has anyone been? Anything to say about it?

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What's the word on the mall corridor leading from the George Washington Bridge, with Riverside Square, Garden State Plaza, some other nice stores, and then two duds- the Mall at IV and Bergen Mall. Bergen Mall seems run down and out of place- time for redevelopment?

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All I can say is that Route 17 continues to be one of the largest retail corridors in the region. For shoppers, Paramus is Mecca. The only mall in that area I've been to is Garden State Plaza. It is quite nice, I'd say almost on par with The Mall at Short Hills.

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Rte 17 is certainly a parking lot most of the day and i can only imagine how high the rent must be for the business owners! The future of Rte 1 through Middlesex and Mercer Counties will one day be Rte 17 when it eventually becomes traffic light free between New Brunswick and Trenton.

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Wow - Quakerbridge Mall is such a cruddy place - and it is getting Nordstrum? Very suprising.

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Wow - Quakerbridge Mall is such a cruddy place - and it is getting Nordstrum? Very suprising.

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:dontknow: I've never heard of that mall, but seeing where it is on a map, there's a lot of affluence there.

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I've never been there, but there was this one radio station that was always giving away gift certificates there. It was funny cause one guy phoned in and won a certificate, and he had never even heard of the place! :P

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Yes it is. I've never been in there, but I don't know how it can compete with Garden State Plaza, the really ritzy one on Rt 4 in Hackensack just down the street (can't remember the name), and even Paramus Park on Rt 17. There are just too many malls within such a small area there. Despite all that, however, I went to Garden State Plz the week of Dec 20 and it was surprisingly easy to get in and out of the mall parking decks! Granted I didn't show up until close to 10 PM.

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Yes it is. I've never been in there, but I don't know how it can compete with Garden State Plaza, the really ritzy one on Rt 4 in Hackensack just down the street (can't remember the name), and even Paramus Park on Rt 17. There are just too many malls within such a small area there. Despite all that, however, I went to Garden State Plz the week of Dec 20 and it was surprisingly easy to get in and out of the mall parking decks! Granted I didn't show up until close to 10 PM.

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Does Bergen County still have the Sunday blue law where everything is closed on Sunday??

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one of the best malls in the country is in Jersey: Mall at Short Hills.

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I spent almost three years in Willingboro in the late 60s. It was a paradise for a kid on a bike. I would go out every morning and ride around town, visiting friends, swimming in all of the local school pools ( you just showed your badge), and of course going to the Plaza.

I would go and pick up the WFIL and WIBG surveys from the Record Shack. I also bought my first record there, "Journey To the Center Of the Mind" by Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes. Here's a pic of the plaza from a postcard I bought there:

Willingboro-Plaza-1968.jpg

Here's a link to a larger image: http://tinyurl.com/39upxf

Nick Archer

Franklin, TN

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