Freehold Raceway Mall
|Location||Freehold, New Jersey, USA|
|No. of stores and services||225 (As Of August 2016)|
|No. of anchor tenants||6|
|Total retail floor area||1,669,000 square feet (155,055 m2)|
|No. of floors||2 (Nordstrom and Macy's Have 3)|
|Public transit access||New Jersey Transit bus: 67, 836, 838|
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, Primark, and Sears. The mall is owned and managed by The Macerich Company, having purchased the mall from developer Wilmorite in 2005, and has 1,669,000 square feet (155,055 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 still exist, connected by a small pedestrian/horsecart 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 was merged into Lord & Taylor), 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 mall was not initially successful. 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. 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.
The Freehold Raceway Mall was expanded in 2007, and construction began in January. The expansion was built in the space between JCPenney and Sears (Now Replaced by Primark) in the upper floor parking lot near Johnny Rockets (now Qdoba). The addition included 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 L.L. Bean), two restaurants, a promenade, an area for community events and a valet parking station (now closed). A P.F. Chang's China Bistro was built adjacent to the addition and was free-standing (the grassy spot next to P. F. Chang's China Bistro eventually became Brio Tuscan Grille), 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. 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.
There have also been new additions such as a two-story Forever 21, H&M, Michael Kors, and ULTA. 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.
In early 2016, Sears closed the upstairs portion of their store location, and Primark moved in. It opened on July 16, 2016. Celebrities have also made appearances at the Freehold Mall for book signings and autographs.
Despite losing retailers such as The Limited, Wet Seal, Bebe, and Talbots, Zara plans to open in the lower level Nordstrom and Lord and Taylor wings of the mall. Forever 21 will downsize to the upper floor only, while Giorgios Fine Jewelry, Everything But Water, and BareMinerals will get new locations in the mall
- 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
- Primark (72,445 sq ft) - 1 floor
- Sears (80,000 sq ft)- 1 floor
- Toys R Us
- Bob's Stores
- Christmas Tree Shops
- Dick's Sporting Goods
- Home Depot
- AMC Theatres
- Ashley Furniture HomeStores
- Raymour & Flanigan
- Bob's Discount Furniture
- Big Lots
- Huffman Koos