The change at Garden State Plaza is a sign of changing times


There is a heavy vision; at Garden State Plaza to build dwellings and green spaces on its many parking spaces.
Tariq Zehawi and Danielle Parhizkaran, Record North Jersey

Westfield Gardening There is no innovation conflict with Westfield State Plaza.

In 1957, he opened as the first suburban center in New Jersey.

During its 62 year history, Paramus Mall is at the forefront of retailing. It gave shoppers fine food before it was fashionable. He considered high-level and mid-market retailers when his competitors thought it could not be done. He brought Nordstrom into the Garden.

Now he plans to create a space where shoppers can live on the center.

It may seem like another step for the single store attraction. However, experts say that malls around the country should focus on what is planned by the Plaza – one of the most lucrative culls in the country.

Future development was carried out at Westfield Garden State Plaza (Photo: Renders provided by Westfield Garden State Plaza) t

“You need to give people a reason to come to the center,” said Jan Rogers Kniffen, retail consultant. “You need some way to keep the traffic up, and if places like Garden State Plaza look at the parcels as a residence and a mixed use, everyone needs. The options have expired. ”

For over a year now, North Jersey has suspected what would happen to the empty space J.C. Penney at the Plaza. Last week, the Meall owners unveiled an overhaul of the Penney space but would change the parking areas to new mixed retail and residential development. The reaction from locals is mixed, but the Plaza is recommended by retail experts to be at the forefront of the retail game, again.

Online shopping and changes in consumer habits forced rivals to recreate themselves. Consumers are not going to malls to shop further, because they can shop online. Instead, shoppers go to an atmosphere as a diversion – to eat food, watch a film, even buy groceries. The change is creating a sea change at malls around the country.


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“This is a great move with the 1,200 malls around the country, taking into account how many are really in trouble,” said Chuck Lanyard, president of The Goldstein retail brokerage business, based in Paramus, and former national president of the Retail Brokers Network. “Fortunately, when we are in New Jersey and in other strong markets, they do well. But, to continue well, they have to restore themselves where Westfield is doing for Garden State Plaza. ”

The plaza is not much struggling. Experts describe it as one of the top 10 bags in the country. It is a strong sign that he chose to recreate himself, they say, that other malls must do the same.

“I was surprised when one of America's best culls was, which had risen to 10 days a week but opened it,” Kniffen said. “He tells you where we are going.

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While the transformation of the Plaza could be revolutionary in its own market, it has been created by malls elsewhere in the world that they are changing from “center” to “everyone” as a way to stay competitive, said Paco Underhill, t retail expert and executive executive of Envirosell, a market and research company.

“This is one of the evolutions for the shopping center that happened outside the United States,” said Underhill. “The recognition that the asphalt surrounding the 20th century is an asset from the 21st century, and that people want to live, work, play and recreate, all in the same place.” T

There are malls elsewhere in the world, such as Tokyo or Sydney, connected to office buildings, hotels and residential housing, said Underhill. Connecting these components is a convenience factor that values ​​shoppers, especially those working long hours.

The trend has already arisen in the US. Whole Food Market at Warner Time Mall near Columbus Circle in Manhattan is at the lower level as well as residential housing, said Underhill. It is expected that a high-end grocery will be one of the new tenants receiving the State Plaza Garden.

B&M may not be added, however, for all shopping centers, retail experts say. The Plaza has space to build a 300 unit residential complex with three acres of green space. Others may not. But any attraction who wants to stay relevant will do something different by 2020.

“People have to do things like mixed use around her. You have to see people want to increase the percentage of restaurants, "Kniffen said." You have to see them giving things you can't do online like going to an aquarium, which will be replaced for entertainment like bands or plays. "

Lanyard predicts that malls will come towards two directions. Some will provide residential or office space to create an audience in the retail outlets. It is likely that others will continue to entertain. A prime example of the latter is the American Dream complex in the Meadowlands, which is due to open in late summer, combining retail with a water park, indoor ski slope and other family friendly entertainment options.

“If malls do not create this additional component to generate traffic, they will not succeed,” said Lanyard.

History of the State Plaza Garden

Over the years, the Plaza has its own evolution.

Garden State Plaza was born as a single-level open air center in 1957, operated by R.H. Macy. Bamberger's, Gimbel's, and J.C Penney were the original anchor stores, and 90 smaller specialty shops around them. He was called “the world's largest shopping center”.

When most people talk about the early days of the center, they are often reminded of Bamberger's, said Michael Lisicky, a retail historian from Baltimore. The chain, which began in Newark, was sold by R. H. Macy in 1929, who retained the name of Bamberger.

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Macy Paramus chose his New Jersey center because of his proximity to New York City, Lisa Herrman, senior marketing director of the mall said. George Washington Bridge and Route 4 were linked to the city.

In the boom after World War II, the residents came to the suburbs, and emerged malls.

The success of urban centers such as Newark and Hackensack declined. People wanted to buy houses in the Bergen County suburbs, and the plaza, with its huge parking, was attractive.

“At that time, your dream was your own home, so a shopping center would complement that,” said Lisicky. "To have a Garden Plaza available to you," a new road system would be readily available, "made it more special."

In the early 1980s, the Mall was extended by $ 21 million. The center was enclosed, and a truck tunnel was converted into the basement of the center to a food court and more retail space.

In 1986, Westfield purchased the Mall, which was redeveloped. Over the past decade, it has added 50 new retailers and introduced its first Nordstrom to New Jersey. Between 1993 and 1996, Neiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor arrived, and two parking desks were built.

In 2007, he added a 16-screen AMC Theater. In 2014, he added the Fashion Center. In 2015, it launched its own Luxury Collection, bringing the people like Burberry and Versace. More recently, it has introduced a concierge service, and has undergone aesthetic reform in 2017.

Retail experts say that Plaza has always kept new retail trends – a testament to its owner, Westfield, and Mall management. Due to the overhaul announced last week, experts are not expecting it to change.

"It is certainly true for the last 30 or 40 years," said Kniffen, "so I see no reason to believe that this will not be the case."

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