Fashion Center

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The Fashion Center is a shopping center located in Paramus, New Jersey. From the time of its opening until 2009, the Fashion Center was a traditional indoor shopping mall, but in the years prior had slowly undergone changes known as "de-malling" where portions of the mall were closed off and each store was given its own entrance.

The property is owned by Willner Realty of Pennsylvania. It has a gross leasable area of 446,000 sq ft (41,400 m2)[1] and is considered small by modern standards, with fewer than fifteen storefronts at its peak.

Due to the Paramus blue laws, all retail stores are closed on Sundays except for Applebees, Blimpie, and Fairway Market.

History[edit]

Prior to the mall's construction, the area was native marsh and grassland where muskrats were trapped and sold for their fur by local residents. The mall opened on February 15, 1967 and was billed as a miniature Fifth Avenue. Hoping to capitalize on the affluent population of Bergen County, it included two anchor stores: Lord & Taylor on the north end and B. Altman and Company on the south end. The department stores were connected to each other by an indoor shopping arcade that was 1,500 feet (460 m) in length and included high-end retailers such as Rogers Peet (later replaced by Brooks Brothers), Georg Jensen, and Ann Taylor. There was also a free-standing Best & Company store in the parking lot that was built while the company was liquidating; the store instead housed a Britt's location and is now occupied by Toys "R" Us.

The Fashion Center, which was designed in a contemporary style of decor, was prosperous through the 1970s. But as the years progressed, other malls in the Paramus area, including Westfield Garden State Plaza, Paramus Park, The Shops at Riverside, and The Outlets at Bergen Town Center began to capture its local market share. By the 1980s, this growing competition, coupled with the demise of B. Altman, led to a severe decline in the mall's fortunes. Retailers gradually moved out, leaving Lord & Taylor as its only anchor store and leading some to refer to the Fashion Center as a dead mall. Outside the mall, there is a Toys "R" Us that was built in 1988 and still is standing today.

In 1996, the vacant 180,000 sq ft (17,000 m2) B. Altman space was divided up into a Bed, Bath and Beyond (first level) and a T.J. Maxx (second level). Around the same time, a Discovery Zone was also added near the center of the mall. After Discovery Zone was defunct, a Jumpin Jupiter took its place until 2001. The top level of the former B. Altman store was replaced by a Buybuy BABY as of Summer 2012 and then opened in December.

Beginning in 2001, the owners of the Fashion Center began planning for the conversion of the mall to a traditional shopping center. In 2003, as part of the chain's expansion into the New York metropolitan area, Best Buy opened a store at the Fashion Center which necessitated the closure of some of the mall's entrances and the mall entrance of the former B. Altman store. Lord & Taylor followed suit the following year. Then in late 2008, the general mall entrance next to the Applebee's restaurant was closed then renovated and reopened in 2009, and later that year the mall added Fairway Market to its lineup of stores. This completed the Fashion Center's transition from a traditional mall into a collection of separate stores with their own entrances and no interior common space. All stores can only be accessed from the outside parking lots at this time.[2]

In September 2011, Lord & Taylor opened their first home store at the Fashion Center. It later closed in 2013. [3]

Demise[edit]

The Fashion Center's slow demise as a destination center came with the re-tenanting of the B. Altman building. Bed, Bath & Beyond moved into the main floor and new escalators accessed the second level which now houses TJ Maxx. The former home store building was re-constructed as a Toys "R" Us. Meanwhile, W&J Sloane closed, and most of the other upscale tenants followed suit. The south end of the mall was further desecrated when it was removed to house Best Buy that now runs the width of the mall.

Current major tenants[4][edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°58′01″N 74°04′31″W / 40.9670°N 74.0754°W / 40.9670; -74.0754