Shopping malls in New Jersey

Shopping malls in New Jersey

Shopping Malls in New Jersey have played a major role in shaping the suburban landscape of the state following World War II.


New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the United States, and in the suburban sphere of influence of both New York City and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has a comparatively large number of notable malls throughout the state. Paramus, in Bergen County, is one of the largest shopping meccas in the country, with its four major shopping malls accounting for a significant proportion of the over $5 billion in annual retail sales generated in the borough, more than any other ZIP Code in the United States. [ Paramus 07652] , GlobeSt. Retail, October 3, 2005.] This high level of retail sales persists despite the fact that the County, in general, and the Borough, in particular, have blue laws that force the malls and other retailers to close on Sunday.

The Bergen Mall, the oldest enclosed mall in New Jersey, opened in Paramus and Maywood on November 14, 1957, with great fanfare, as Dave Garroway, host of "The Today Show" served as master of ceremonies. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Shoppers Throng to Opening of Bergen Mall in Jersey |url= |quote=Paramus, New Jersey, November 14, 1957. The $40,000,000 Bergen Mall regional shopping center opened here this morning. |publisher=New York Times |date=November 15, 1957 |accessdate=2007-06-07 ]

The mall was first planned in 1955 by Allied Stores to have 100 stores and 8,600 parking spaces in a 1.5 million ft² mall that would include a 300,000 ft² Stern's store and two other 150,000 ft² department stores as part of the initial design. Allied's chairman B. Earl Puckett confidently announced the Bergen Mall as the largest of ten proposed centers, stating that there were 25 cities that could support such centers and that no more than 50 malls of this type would ever be built nationwide. ["10 Shopping Centers Scheduled For Allied Stores Within 3 Years; Chain' s Chairman Gives Details of Biggest, 7 Miles From George Washington Span, Where Stern Will Open Branch by '57: STORE CHAIN PLANS 10 RETAIL CENTERS", "The New York Times", January 13, 1955. p. 37] [ Bergen Mall's makeover approved] , "The Record (Bergen County)", December 1, 2006.]

Cherry Hill Mall, was the first large indoor shopping center on the East Coast of the United States and attracted busloads of visitors soon after its opening in October 1961. (The Southdale Shopping Center in Edina, Minnesota, was the very first enclosed mall, beating Cherry Hill to the honor by five years). The popularity of the mall as a destination is often cited as one of the factors that led the mall's host municipality to change its name from Delaware Township, to its current name of Cherry Hill Township. [ [ Cherry Hill Township: About Us] , accessed September 4, 2006.]

Role as public square

With the shift in shopping from publicly owned Main Streets to privately-held shopping malls, the question of access to malls, and their shoppers, as a public forum has been an issue raised nationwide. This issue has become particularly relevant in New Jersey, where malls in both suburban and exurban areas have largely supplanted local downtown districts as shopping destinations, depriving individuals and organizations of a public location to reach out to neighbors for distribution of fliers and other forms of expression. While different conclusions have been reached elsewhere, New Jersey's approach has been one of the most expansive in providing groups with access to malls as a public forum, despite their private ownership.

The Bergen Mall was the target of a lawsuit by nuclear-freeze advocates who challenged the malls restrictions on distribution of literature to shoppers. On October 12, 1984, Bergen County Superior Court judge Paul R. Huot ruled that the organization should be allowed to distribute literature anywhere and anytime in a shopping mall, noting that "the Bergen Mall has assumed the features and characteristics of the traditional town center for the citizens who reside in Paramus and surrounding Bergen County towns." ["JERSEY JUDGE ORDERS LEAFLET DISTRIBUTION IN MALL AT ANY TIME", "The New York Times", October 21, 1984. p. A.49]

The New Jersey Supreme Court has been at the forefront in providing access to malls as a public forum under the New Jersey State Constitution's free-speech protections, requiring private owners of shopping malls to allow use as a forum by individuals and groups. In "New Jersey Coalition Against War in the Middle East v. JMB Realty Corp." (1994), the Court ruled that because the mall owners "have intentionally transformed their property into a public square or market, a public gathering place, a downtown business district, a community," they cannot later deny their own implied invitation to use the space as it was clearly intended. [ [ assembly on private property] , First Amendment Center, accessed August 10, 2006.] Despite the broad powers granted to those seeking to use these facilities as public forums, mall owners retain the right to establish regulations regulating the time, place and manner of exercising of freedom of speech rights on their properties. [ [ The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: ACCESS TO PRIVATE PROPERTY] , accessed August 10, 2006.]

Role as performance venue

In their role as a public forum, malls have also developed a role as a public performance venue, as an addition to theaters, arenas and stadiums. Singer Tiffany was one of the pioneers in this innovative use of malls, using the mall tour as a stepping stone to stardom. The first performance on Tiffany's mall tour — "The Beautiful You: Celebrating The Good Life Shopping Mall Tour '87" — took place on June 23, 1987 at the Bergen Mall in Paramus. The tour was sponsored by major advertisers Toyota, Clairol, and Adidas. [ [ Chronology of the Life and Career of Tiffany] , accessed August 10, 2006.] While perhaps not the first singer to do so, Tiffany established the shopping mall as a location for public performances. Britney Spears' Hair Zone Mall Tour built on Tiffany's use of the mall as a medium to reach fans. Currently, the New Jersey Youth Symphony plays annually in the Jersey Gardens Outlet Mall. This performance is known as the Playathon and occurs in March.

List of malls

The following is a list of shopping malls in the state of New Jersey (ordered by location, but click on the sort tag after each column to change the sort order):

Largest malls

The largest malls in New Jersey — those with at least 1 million square feet (90,000 m²) of Gross Leasable Area (GLA) and ranked in descending order by size — are:
#Westfield Garden State Plaza - 2,000,000 ft²
#Woodbridge Center - 1,633,000 ft²
#Freehold Raceway Mall - 1,600,000 ft²
#Monmouth Mall - 1,500,000 ft²
#Willowbrook Mall - 1,500,000 ft²
#The Mall at Short Hills - 1,342,000 ft²
#Deptford Mall - 1,300,000 ft²
#Jersey Gardens - 1,292,611 ft²
#Cherry Hill Mall - 1,283,000 ft²
#Rockaway Townsquare Mall - 1,250,000 ft²
#Menlo Park Mall - 1,232,000 ft²
#Newport Centre Mall - 1,149,147 ft²
#Voorhees Town Center (formerly Echelon Mall) - 1,140,000 ft²
#Quaker Bridge Mall - 1,102,000 ft²
#Moorestown Mall - 1,046,100 ft²
#Hamilton Mall - 1,028,500 ft²


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