Wayne Towne Center
The Wayne Towne Center is a regional shopping center located in Wayne, New Jersey, located adjacent to Willowbrook Mall along Willowbrook Boulevard. As of 2008, the mall had a gross leasable area of 653,000 square feet (60,700 m2). The center formerly operated as an indoor shopping mall from the time of its building as the West Belt Mall in the 1970s until 2008, when the last of the mall's secondary tenants closed. The inner portion of the mall has since been demolished.
The center currently has three anchor stores. In addition to JCPenney, which is the sole surviving anchor of the indoor mall, Dick's Sporting Goods and Costco Wholesale are located on the property. A DSW Shoe Warehouse serves as a secondary anchor with TGI Friday's, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Panera Bread restaurants along the perimeter and a Firestone Complete Auto Care Center located in JCPenney's parking lot.
In January 2008, the Borders Books and Music, which replaced Last Call, was one of three North Jersey locations closed by the chain. The portion of the mall that housed the Borders store was demolished in Fall 2008.
Later in 2008, the mall began undergoing what is referred to as "de-malling", which refers to a process where an enclosed shopping center slowly begins a transition to a more traditional shopping center. In order to accomplish this, the remaining stores in the mall were closed one a time as were two of its anchor stores, Old Navy and Loehmann's. The TGI Friday's restaurant that was located in the mall was replaced by a freestanding location in the parking lot, and the remaining two anchors (JCPenney and Fortunoff) sealed off their mall entrances. The TGI Friday's in the frontmost parking lot was joined by Olive Garden and Bahama Breeze restaurants and a DSW Shoe Warehouse store, while a Chipotle Mexican Grill location was added in the JCPenney rear parking lot. Fortunoff went out of business in 2009, thus costing the mall its second anchor, and construction on other buildings stalled when Dick's Sporting Goods chose to pull out temporarily.
In a deal closed on December 28, 2010, the mall was purchased by Vornado Realty Trust for $12.1 million from Wells Fargo, along with annual lease payments of $2.5 million for the land. A Vornado spokesman said that the company planned to revamp the property, as Vornado had previously done at The Outlets at Bergen Town Center in Paramus, New Jersey.
In March 2014, construction began again in earnest and accelerated. The 215,000 square foot Fortunoff store, after undergoing asbestos abatement, was demolished. Dick's Sporting Goods reconsidered its decision to leave and in November 2014, a two-level store was opened adjacent to JCPenney. It was also announced that Costco, which had done business in a former Price Club location across Willowbrook Boulevard from the companies' 1993 merger, would be moving to a new building on the site of the former Fortunoff store. The move was completed in late October 2014. A Costco-branded gas station will also be on the property near DSW. Panera Bread opened in the vacant rear half of the Chipotle building.
Former primary and secondary anchors
- Neiman Marcus Last Call (closed 1993)
- Fortunoff (215,000 ft²) (closed 2009)
- Borders Books & Music (closed 2008)
- Old Navy (closed 2008)
- Loehmann's (closed 2008)
- Zany Brainy (closed 2001)
- Wayne Towne Center, International Council of Shopping Centers, backed up by the Internet Archive as of March 4, 2008. Accessed March 31, 2011.
- Braue, Marilee Loboda. "LAST CALL IS PACKING ITS BAGSDISCOUNT RETAILER TO LEAVE WAYNE MALL", The Record (Bergen County), March 11, 1993. Accessed August 16, 2007.
- Verdon, Joan. "Borders to close Wayne, Paramus stores", The Record (Bergen County) January 10, 2008. Accessed March 12, 2008
- Verdon, Joan. "To Stay Competitive, Northern New Jersey Malls Remodel, Reposition.", The Record (Bergen County), February 11, 2004. Accessed August 16, 2007.
- Tangel, Andrew. "Vornado takes over Wayne Towne Center", The Record (Bergen County), February 9, 2011. Accessed March 31, 2011.
- Verdon, Joan (October 27, 2014). "Costco says it is closing Hackensack store next year". The Record. Retrieved October 28, 2014. (last paragraph)
- Verdon, Joan (September 14, 2014). "De-malled Wayne Towne Center being overhauled". The Record. Retrieved September 15, 2014.