Willowbrook Mall (Wayne, New Jersey)

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This article is about the shopping mall in Wayne, New Jersey. For the Houston, Texas mall, see Willowbrook Mall (Houston, Texas).
Willowbrook Mall
Location Wayne, New Jersey, USA
Opening date 1969
Owner General Growth Properties
No. of stores and services 200[1]
No. of anchor tenants 4
Total retail floor area 1,520,000 ft²[1]
No. of floors 2 (Bloomingdale's and Macy's are 3 floors)
Parking Lighted lot
Website www.willowbrook-mall.com

Willowbrook Mall is a two-level, major shopping center located in Wayne, New Jersey, United States. It is near the intersection of U.S. Route 46, Route 23 and Interstate 80. The mall opened in 1969 and was expanded or renovated in 1970, 1988, and 2006. The mall has over 200 retail establishments and a gross leasable area (GLA) of 1,514,000 ft²,[2] and is the fourth largest shopping mall in New Jersey (tied with Monmouth Mall).

Owned by General Growth Properties, the mall's main stores include Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor, Macy's and Sears. Its restaurants include California Pizza Kitchen, Cheesecake Factory, and Ruby Tuesday.[citation needed]

With blue laws in effect in Bergen County, and nearby shopping haven Paramus imposing even stricter Sunday-sales restrictions of its own, Willowbrook Mall has benefited from the spillover of shoppers on Sunday.[3]


Construction of a 100,000 ft² Ohrbach's store in 1968, joined by a Sears, were the original anchors of what was designed as a two-level, 110 store, indoor shopping mall, encompassing 1,500,000 ft².[4]

The opening of Willowbrook Mall came at a time when many shoppers were avoiding trips to downtown areas to shop over safety concerns. Early radio spots for the mall called it "the new downtown", and it featured anchors stores that were also located in nearby downtown Newark, or within the Wayne city limits (Bamberger's, Ohrbachs, and Sears). The Bamberger's branch opened in the fall of 1967 (before the rest of the mall), and with Newark just having dealt with race rioting in the summer of 1967, many shoppers defected to the Willowbrook location.[citation needed]

In 1988, Willowbrook Mall underwent a large renovation project. This renovation made many drastic cosmetic changes throughout the mall. The most dramatic being in center court: new skylights were added, the old fountain was converted into a new waterfall-style fountain (which was removed around 2003 in favor of a new customer service booth and specialty carts), escalators and a new stairway were added, the lowered seating area of center court was raised to the level of the rest of the mall, and the carousel was removed in favor of another fountain which still exists today. Throughout the rest of the mall, new skylights were added, new seating areas added, lights were replaced and added, new flooring was added and ceilings were raised to give the mall the impression of being more open and airy.[citation needed]

In 1993, Willowbrook Mall became one of the first malls in New Jersey to ban smoking on mall grounds.[5] The ban was later reversed.

Sears is the mall's only remaining original anchor store and is one of the chain's top performing stores. Ohrbach's became Steinbach's in 1987 and then became Lord and Taylor in 1997; Bamberger's became Macy's in 1986; and Stern's became Bloomingdale's in 2002. Lord and Taylor and Bloomingdale's were added in 1997 and 2002, respectively, making the tenant mix upscale.[citation needed]

The mall and its surrounding access roads and areas are sometimes closed due to flooding, either from big heavy rainfalls, nor'easters or hurricanes, by the Passaic River nearby; the mall was recently closed for several days in August and September 2011 due to such flooding from the impact of Hurricane Irene.[citation needed]


Anchors are (listed in descending order by square footage)

  • Macy's 369,000 square ft (On 3 levels; opened 1967 as Bamberger's; Converted to Macy's 1986)
  • Sears 279,000 sq ft (On 2 levels; opened 1968)
  • Bloomingdale's 278,000 square ft (On 3 levels; opened in 1969 as Stern's; converted to Bloomingdale's in 2002)
  • Lord & Taylor 98,300 square ft (On 2 levels; opened in 1968 as Ohrbach's converted to Steinbach in 1987; and then became Lord & Taylor in 1997)


An NJ Transit park and ride facility, opened in 1974, provides New Jersey Transit bus service to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.[6] Local bus service is provided by NJ Transit.

In media[edit]

Willowbrook Mall was the site of The Adventures of Pete & Pete special episode, "What We Did on Our Summer Vacation" (May 17, 1992), in which Ellen's photo booth was located in the parking lot of the mall.


  1. ^ a b General Growth Properties: Willowbrook, accessed January 17, 2011
  2. ^ Willowbrook Mall, International Council of Shopping Centers, backed up by the Internet Archive as of March 4, 2008. Accessed March 31, 2011.
  3. ^ Strum, Charles. "PARAMUS JOURNAL; On Sundays, Bergen Shoppers Rest", The New York Times, December 7, 1992. Accessed March 31, 2011.
  4. ^ "Ohrbach's Builds in Jersey", The New York Times, September 27, 1968. p. 75.
  5. ^ "2 Big Malls Ban Smoking", The New York Times, October 8, 1993. p. B6.
  6. ^ "Park-Ride Center to Open Monday at Willowbrook Mall", The New York Times, January 4, 1974. p. 64.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°53′20″N 74°15′36″W / 40.889°N 74.260°W / 40.889; -74.260