The Outlets at Bergen Town Center

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The Outlets at Bergen Town Center
Bergen Town Center.JPG
The Bergen Town Center as seen in 2012.
Location Paramus, New Jersey, USA
Opening date November 14, 1957 (outdoor plaza)
September 16, 1973 (enclosed mall)
August 25, 2009 (Major Renovation/Expansion)
Developer Allied Stores
Owner Vornado Realty Trust
No. of stores and services 100
No. of anchor tenants 1
Total retail floor area 917,129 sq ft (85,204.1 m2)
No. of floors 1 (4 in Old Sterns/Macy's Bldg, Now occupied by Home Goods/Bloomingdale's-The Outlet Store(1), Century 21(2,3), and Lincoln Tech (4)
Parking 8,600 spaces
Website Mall website

The Outlets at Bergen Town Center, known as Bergen Mall until 2006 and Bergen Town Center until 2010, is located in Paramus and Maywood, New Jersey, United States, and opened in 1957 as an outdoor shopping center.[1] It is the second-oldest mall in New Jersey.[2] The mall offers a gross leasable area (GLA) of 917,129 sq ft (85,204.1 m2).[3] The mall is located at the junction of Route 4 and Forest Avenue, and includes a separate shopping strip, south of Route 4 connected to the rest of the property via a pedestrian bridge. The mall has over the years included community spaces, including a chapel, theater for live dramas, post office, auditorium, ice rink,[4] bowling alley and a children's amusement ride area, and is the current location of the Bergen County Museum. The Bergen Mall was designed by John Graham of New York City. The mall is subject to Bergen County's blue laws, which requires the mall to be closed on Sundays.[5]


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 sq ft (28,000 m2) Stern's store and two other 150,000 sq ft (14,000 m2) department stores as part of the initial design. Allied's chairman B. Earl Puckett 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 be built nationwide.[6] The mall opened on November 14, 1957 with great fanfare, as Dave Garroway, host of The Today Show served as master of ceremonies.[7]

A 135,000 sq ft (12,500 m2) Ohrbach's location was added, opening on August 17, 1967.[8]

The mall was enclosed in 1973.[9][10] The newly enclosed mall opened on September 15, 1973, part of a wave away from outdoor malls, a trend that the nearby Westfield Garden State Plaza joined in the following decade.[11] Despite some changes through the years, the mall still looked largely the same until its 2007 renovations. The Ohrbach's location was converted to a Steinbach and was later repurposed as a Value City after Steinbach went out of business. Stern's was converted to Macy's in 2001 following owner Federated Department Stores' decision to fold the brand into Macy's, but the company elected to close the store in March 2005 to focus its business on its two other locations in Paramus (one at the aforementioned Westfield Garden State Plaza and the other at Paramus Park). In the early 90's the mall was repositioned as a value-oriented center that included a Marshalls, Gap Outlet, Value City and a Saks 5th Avenue Off 5th outlet.

A strip mall that was part of the mall property existed across Forest Ave and was connected with an auto and a pedestrian bridge. The most recent occupants were Chuck E. Cheese's (opened in the 80s, closed 2010, relocated at The Malls on IV, opened late 2011), Spa 2 (closed 2005), and ShopRite which left in 1998 when they moved to their current location on Route 4. The former Shop Rite was finally demolished in 2011 with the rest of the building now being renovated. It is confirmed that REI sport store will be located in the building of former Spa 2.[citation needed]. Later, a Red Robin and Cups Frozen Yogurt were built in place of the former Chuck E. Cheeses and Shop Rite sites.

The Bergen Mall was the target of a lawsuit by nuclear-freeze advocates who challenged the mall's 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."[12]

The Carmelite Chapel of St. Therese was located in the basement section called "The Village" since 1970, modeled after the Carmelite location in Northshore Mall, also in a basement, which opened in 1960. It moved to the upper level in 2007 when the center was redesigned.[13]

Bergen Mall was also the first stop on MCA Records's "The Beautiful You: Celebrating The Good Life Shopping Mall Tour '87" starring teen pop sensation Tiffany as an alternative way to promote her debut album.

In 2003, the mall was sold by Simon Property Group to Vornado Realty Trust, which began plans to convert the mall's format, with high profile stores, and changes in the looks of the mall.

In one of the first changes planned for the mall, Century 21 opened on August 10, 2006, taking 67,500 sq ft (6,270 m2) the space formerly occupied by Macy's (which had previously been Stern's). Century 21 occupies the middle two floors of the four story building (1&2), while Home Goods/Bloomingdale's-The Outlet Store occupy the Lower Level (LL) and Lincoln Tech occupies the 3rd floor (3).[14]

On November 30, 2006, the Paramus Planning Board approved a series of changes that would bring the mall up to 1,500,000 sq ft (140,000 m2) at a cost of $171 million. The mall was renamed to Bergen Town Center, and was planned to include 872,000 sq ft (81,000 m2) of renovated mall retail space and a 167,000 sq ft (15,500 m2) freestanding big-box store across Forest Avenue in Maywood, Lowe's which opened in January 2011. A total of 4,339 parking spaces, including a five-story parking garage, will be provided.[2]

New additions in 2009 include Target (Opened March 7, 2009), a Wetzel's Pretzels, Subway, Baskin-Robbins, Dunkin' Donuts, Verizon Wireless, an AT&T store, and a Whole Foods (which opened on August 19, 2009 and signed a lease for 77,000 sq ft (7,200 m2).[15]), Filene's Basement (opened October 28, 2007, since closed and replaced by Home Goods which opened in October 2013.), Lowe's, Nike Factory Store (opened March 7, 2009), Bobby Flay's Bobby's Burger Palace (opened March 31, 2009), and Nordstrom Rack (Opened March 12, 2009). A Grand Opening Celebration was held on August 25, 2009 to mark the completion of the renovation/expansion.[16] Filene's Basement filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday May 4, 2009. An affiliate of Men's Wearhouse has won the bidding process, with plans to keep approximately 20 of the chain's stores open. The five-year old Filene's at Bergen Town Center is one of six stores that closed as part of the transaction.[17] In October 2013, Home Goods opened in the space formally occupied by Filene's Basement. This is their second location in Paramus, the other being on NJ-17 near Ridgewood Ave. H&M will be opening its third Paramus location at Bergen Town Center Holiday 2013. The 27,000 sq. feet two-level store will be larger than the H&M stores at Westfield Garden State Plaza and Paramus Park and will be located at the center of the mall next to J. Crew Outlet.

Blue laws[edit]

Due to highly restrictive blue laws in effect in Bergen County and more restrictive limitations in place in Paramus, The Outlets at Bergen Town Center is completely closed on Sundays, except for Bobby's Burger Palace, CVS Pharmacy, Cups Frozen Yogurt, FrozenPeaks, Pei Wei, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Sarku Japan, Qdoba, Ulta Spa, 24 Hour Fitness, Blink Fitness, Massage Envy, Miller's Ale House, Bahama Breeze, Olive Garden, Red Robin, and Whole Foods Market.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "The Super Centers". Time. January 24, 1955. Retrieved 2008-06-25. "The new centers, scheduled for opening by 1957, are designed to serve regions (i.e., customers within 40 minutes' driving time) rather than smaller suburban areas. The first to go into operation will be the $30 million Bergen Mall at Paramus, N.J., expected to be the biggest U.S. shopping center. Puckett estimates that there are 1,588,000 customers within the 40-minute radius." 
  2. ^ a b Bergen Mall's makeover approved, The Record (Bergen County), December 1, 2006
  3. ^ International Council of Shopping Centers: Bergen Mall, accessed November 6, 2006[dead link]
  4. ^ "Ice Skating Is Nice Skating Indoors or Out", The New York Times, January 21, 1977. p. 63
  5. ^ Strum, Charles (November 3, 1993). "Sunday-Closing Law Retained in New Jersey County". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-25. "Efforts to repeal the 34-year-old ban on Sunday retailing in Bergen County, one of the country's richest shopping areas, were turned back easily today. ... Even if the county laws had been repealed, stores in Paramus would have remained closed because the community enforces its own ordinances against Sunday shopping and has vowed not to lift them" 
  6. ^ "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 Retails Centers", The New York Times, January 13, 1955. p. 37
  7. ^ "Shoppers Throng to Opening of Bergen Mall in Jersey". The New York Times. November 15, 1957. Retrieved 2007-06-07. "The 106-acre Bergen Mall regional shopping center here will open Thursday morning. The center, at which Stern's will be the principal-store, is being built by the Allied Stores Corporation at a cost of $40,000,000. It is at Route 4 and Forest Avenue." 
  8. ^ "E.J. Korvette and Ohrbach's Open New Stores; Ohrbach's Opens Paramus Store. Shoppers in Jersey Happy With Bergen Mall Addition.", The New York Times, August 18, 1967. p. 20
  9. ^ "Bergen Mall to Be Enclosed Next Year", The New York Times, July 9, 1972. p. 62
  10. ^ "Enclosure of Bergen Mall Is Progressing; A Change in Thinking Construction Began in '56", The New York Times, June 10, 1973. p. 82
  11. ^ "$1-Million Roofed Mall Opens in Bergen; Tax Case Is Pending", The New York Times, September 16, 1973. p. 93
  12. ^ "Jersey judge orders leaflet distribution in mall at any time.", The New York Times, October 21, 1984. p. A.49
  13. ^ Called Out of the Basement to Higher Ground
  14. ^ Century 21 Department Store Announces August 10th, 2006 Grand Opening of its Newest Designer Label Discount Megastore at Bergen Mall, Paramus, NJ, press release dated August 4, 2006
  15. ^ Demarrais , Kevin G. "Organic grocer to open in Paramus", The Record, August 4, 2005. Accessed August 30, 2007. "The company, which claims to be the nation's largest natural and organic retailer, confirmed Wednesday that it has signed a lease for a 77,000-square-foot (7,200 m2) store at the Bergen Mall as part of its national expansion."
  16. ^ Schoonmaker, Mary Ellen. "Called out of the basement to higher ground", The Record, August 2, 2007. Accessed August 30, 2007. "With Whole Foods, Lowe's, Filene's Basement and Target coming, the mall will be more sophisticated and more crowded."
  17. ^ Men's Wearhouse unit wins Filene's Basement bid

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°54′58″N 74°03′17″W / 40.916187°N 74.054729°W / 40.916187; -74.054729