Freehold Raceway Mall
|Location||Freehold, New Jersey, USA|
|No. of stores and services||225|
|No. of anchor tenants||5|
|Total retail floor area||1,671,000 square feet (155,241 m2)|
|No. of floors||2, some anchors have 3|
Freehold Raceway Mall is a super-regional mall in Freehold, New Jersey, United States. The mall's anchor stores are JCPenney, Lord & Taylor, Macy's, Nordstrom and Sears. The mall is owned and managed by The Macerich Company, having purchased the mall from developer Wilmorite in 2005, and has 1,671,000 square feet (155,241 m2) of gross leasable area, making it the second largest shopping mall in New Jersey. An outdoor lifestyle addition, begun in January 2007, added 100,000 square feet (10,000 m2) of additional retail space. On November 23, 2011, the mall was ranked in a Weather Channel news article titled "The Most Congested Malls for Black Friday". The Freehold Raceway Mall ranked third in the nation.
Construction on Freehold Raceway Mall commenced in 1987, across the street from the Freehold Raceway on land used for stables. The stables are still there, connected by a small bridge over Route 9, but they can only be accessed via mall entrance road. In preparation for the mall's opening, the Freehold Circle was eliminated and rebuilt into an at-grade intersection with traffic lights and jughandles. A traffic light and jughandle for the mall entrance road from Route 9 was also constructed due south of the intersection of U.S. Route 9 and Business Route 33.
The fully enclosed mall originally opened in 1990 with two anchors: Sears and Lord & Taylor with construction already underway on JCPenney (originally planned to be Hahne's, but the company went out of business), which later opened in 1991 as well as Nordstrom, which later opened in 1992. A fifth anchor, Macy's, was added in 1998 (on a pad originally planned for Stern's and later for Abraham & Straus). The opening of Macy's was well-anticipated and the grand opening was attended by several celebrities, including singer Brandy.
When the mall first opened, it was barely getting by, almost deemed a dead mall. Vacancies were imminent, and many of the spaces were filled with non-traditional mall tenants, such as municipal services. Local photography clubs displayed their photos on the mall's empty walls, while other areas sported photos of the raceway and the fire that occurred in 1984. Many blamed the fact that it was far from roads and hidden behind trees. The only evidence of the mall from Route 9 was the monument sign approaching the mall entrance, as the satellite big box stores were not yet built. Customers could also easily travel to the nearby Monmouth Mall, Seaview Square Mall, Brunswick Square Mall, or the Manalapan Mall, which was, ironically, closed a few years later due to the eventual success of the Freehold Raceway Mall that soon followed. Once Nordstrom opened, Freehold Raceway Mall now had a store that was sure to be a success due to the fact there was not another Nordstrom around for 30 miles (48 km). The crowds eventually came and the vacancy rate at the mall significantly dropped. It is now one of the most successful malls in the area. It is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 9, Business Route 33 and County Route 537 in Freehold.
The Freehold Raceway Mall was expanded in 2007, and construction began in January. The expansion has taken up the space between J.C. Penney and Sears in the upper floor parking lot near Johnny Rockets. An interesting feature of the expansion is the fact that it is completely open-air, making the Freehold Raceway Mall the only mall in New Jersey to have both an indoor and outdoor shopping area.
The addition includes a strip of outdoor stores along the J.C. Penney side of the mall, occupied by 13 to 15 stores, a 25,150-square-foot (2,337 m2) Borders (now closed), two restaurants, a promenade, an area for community events and a valet parking station. A P.F. Chang's China Bistro was built adjacent to the addition, but is free-standing (the mall lists the grassy spot next to P. F. Chang's China Bistro as being vacant), while a Cheesecake Factory occupies a corner space in the main structure.
In April 2007, the mall's first renovation project was underway. The renovation replaced the flooring, changing the brown and green tile to a beige stone tile, it replaced the green paint on the ceilings and ironwork with a more beige/earthtone, the brass rails were replaced in favor of wooden rails, new lighting under the skylights and along/under the columns was added, the globe lighting along the skylights, pillars and ironwork was replaced, a new escalator next to Sears was added, soft, carpeted seating areas were added and the large center court fountain was replaced with a smaller fountain, soft seating area and Starbuck's kiosk.
Two new parking lots were built on site to replace those that were lost; along the Raceway Mall Drive entrance and on the opposite side of the ring road next to Nordstrom.
The completed outdoor expansion opened for the general public on November 9, 2007 at 10:00 am and the majority of the renovation was completed by the 2007 holiday season. The new spherical sculpture fountain and the replacement of the brass rails with wooden rails brought about an end to the renovations in February 2008.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (August 2012)|
- JCPenney (148,000 sq ft) – 2 floors
- Lord & Taylor (100,000 sq ft) – 2 floors
- Macy's (140,000 sq ft) – 3 floors
- Nordstrom (163,000 sq ft) – 3 floors
- Sears (144,891 sq ft) – 2 floors
- Toys R Us
- Bob's Stores
- Christmas Tree Shops
- Dick's Sporting Goods
- Home Depot
- AMC Theaters
- Ashley Furniture HomeStore