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Willowbrook Mall (New Jersey)
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Location Wayne, New Jersey, United States
Coordinates 40°53′20″N 74°15′36″W / 40.889°N 74.260°W / 40.889; -74.260Coordinates: 40°53′20″N 74°15′36″W / 40.889°N 74.260°W / 40.889; -74.260
Address 1400 Willowbrook Mall
Opening date September 24, 1969; 51 years ago (September 24, 1969)
Developer The Rouse Company
Management Brookfield Properties
Owner Brookfield Properties
No. of stores and services 148
No. of anchor tenants 5 (4 open, 1 vacant)
Total retail floor area 1,520,000 sq ft (141,000 m2)
Parking Parking lot with 8,000 spaces
No. of floors 1 with partial upper level (2 in Dave & Buster's, Lord & Taylor, and former Sears, 3 in Bloomingdale's and Macy's)

Willowbrook Mall is a one-level shopping center with a partial second floor located in Wayne, New Jersey. It is near the intersection of New Jersey Route 23, U.S. Route 46, and Interstate 80 in the New York metropolitan area. The mall opened in 1969 and was expanded or renovated in 1970, 1988, 2006, and 2015. It has over 140 retail establishments and a leasable area of 1,518,006 square feet (141,027.4 m2) and is the fifth-largest shopping mall in New Jersey. The mall's anchor stores are Macy's, Dave & Buster's, Lord & Taylor, and Bloomingdale's with one vacant anchor last occupied by Sears.

With blue laws in effect in neighboring Bergen County, and nearby shopping haven Paramus imposing even stricter Sunday-sales restrictions of its own, Willowbrook Mall has benefited from the spillover of shoppers on Sunday. The mall and its surrounding access roads and parking areas are prone to flooding in rainstorms. The Passaic River flows near the mall and one of its tributaries, the Pompton River, runs behind it.

History

Construction of Willowbrook Mall began in 1966 with the groundbreaking of a Bamberger's store. and by 1968 the construction included an Ohrbach's and a Sears. The mall was originally planned as a 110-store indoor shopping mall, encompassing 1,500,000 square feet (140,000 m2). It opened on September 24, 1969. A second phase opened on August 12, 1970, consisting of 47 specialty stores on two floors, and a Stern's department store. Upon its opening, Willowbrook Mall become the largest enclosed shopping mall in the world.

In 1993, Willowbrook Mall became one of the first malls in New Jersey to ban smoking on mall grounds.

Sears was the mall's only remaining original anchor store until it closed in September 2019. The Bamberger's store has been open without interruption for the mall's entire existence, but was rebranded as Macy's in 1986 after its corporate parent decided to rebrand its entire northeastern United States operation under its namesake marque. Ohrbach's came under new ownership and was rebranded as part of the Steinbach chain, which went out of business in 1996. The building was gutted and expanded for its new tenant Lord & Taylor, which opened in 1997. Stern's closed its doors in 2001 after its parent company, Federated Department Stores, retired the brand; the store was converted to its sister brand, Bloomingdale's, which opened in late 2002.

In 2015, it was announced that the mall would undergo a two-year, $23 million renovation. The renovation entailed new ceilings in the Sears & Macy's wings, an overhaul of the food court, new flooring throughout the mall, additional seating, and a two-story streetscape theme for the Bloomingdale's wing.

Also in 2015, Sears Holdings spun off 235 of its properties, including the Sears at Willowbrook Mall, into a new company named Seritage Growth Properties. In 2017, Sears shrunk its square footage and subleased the unused portion to Dave & Buster's, which opened on Valentine's Day 2018. Seritage closed and demolished the Sears Auto Center for a Cinemark movie theater, becoming the second movie theater within the mall area limits (after a 14-screen AMC Theatres, formerly Loews Theatres). On July 15, 2019, Sears announced that it will be closing its store at the mall in mid September 2019. The store shut down on September 15, 2019.

In August 2018, Macy's added a Macy's Backstage outlet in a portion of its store. A P.F Chang's opened within the Bloomingdale's store on January 22, 2019.

On August 2, 2020, it was announced that Lord & Taylor would be closing as part of a plan to close 19 stores nationwide. On August 27, 2020, it was announced that Lord & Taylor would be closing all remaining stores. The store will close in February 2021. This will leave Bloomingdale's and Macy's as the only traditional anchors left.

In October 2020, it was announced that BJ's Wholesale Club is planning to open a warehouse store and gas station. The warehouse store would open in the former Sears, while the gas station would be north of the mall's parking lot.

Public transportation

The mall and its parking lots serve as a transportation hub for the surrounding area. A NJ Transit park and ride facility, opened in 1974, provides bus service to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.

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