Rockaway Townsquare

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Rockaway Townsquare
Location Rockaway Township, NJ 07866
Opening date September 1977
Developer Copaken, White & Blitt
Management Simon Property Group
Owner Simon Property Group
No. of stores and services 180+
No. of anchor tenants 4: JCPenney, Lord & Taylor, Macy's and Sears
Total retail floor area 1,249,000 square feet (116,000 m²)
No. of floors 2
Parking Lighted Lot
Website Rockaway Townsquare

Rockaway Townsquare (commonly referred to as Rockaway Mall or Rockaway Townsquare Mall) is a two-level super regional shopping mall, located on Interstate 80 and Mount Hope Avenue in Rockaway Township, New Jersey. The mall has a gross leasable area of 1,248,000 ft² (114,000 m²). Rockaway Townsquare is currently owned by the Simon Property Group. It features a gross leasable area of 1,248,000 sq ft (115,900 m2),[1] placing it in the top ten among the largest shopping malls in New Jersey.

Mall history[edit]

The mall first opened on Labor Day Weekend of 1977. It was built on top of a wetland, which was not protected in New Jersey until 1988 with the passage of the New Jersey Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act, and the former Dover city landfill.

Upon opening, the mall contained five large sculptures by Rita Blitt.[2] Most were located on the first floor and reached up through openings to the second. A twenty-foot stainless steel and brass American flag hung from the ceiling.[3] The silhouette of one of these sculptures, the yellow Stablitt 55, became the mall's original logo. Although the other sculptures have been removed, Stablitt 55 still stands, on the corner near the three-store strip at the entrance off the main road.

A glass elevator was added to center court, as part of a larger renovation in 1995. In 2007 and 2008, renovations were made to both its interior and exterior throughout the mall. The renovations included updated flooring (carpeted upper level, ceramic tile on central portion of lower level, carpeted lower level near department stores, as well as a marble-floored center court), a remodeled and modernized food court that includes new ceilings, a rounded appearance and banquette seating, repainted ceilings in earth tones and new lighting. The mall entrances were remodeled and gained a new logo, and the parking lot received new lighting. This is the mall's 2nd renovation, which was finished just in time for the mall's grand reopening, the weekend of November 21, 2008.

In 1999, the mall was purchased by Simon Property Group. With this ownership Simon felt that this local area was growing vastly and felt it needed to open a more upscale selection of retailers. From the start upscale retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch and Ann Taylor joined the mall in 1999. A substantial number of other fine retailers went on to open later in time.

Notable stores that have since closed include: Bamberger's which was in the location currently occupied by Macy's (it was converted along with the other Bamberger's stores to the Macy's nameplate in 1986), Hahne's which was in the location currently occupied by Lord & Taylor (converted to the L&T nameplate in 1988), Child World which was occupied by Kids "R" Us after Child World went out of business in 1992, though was occupied by Office Depot after the majority of standalone KRU locations closed in 2003. (Office Depot has since closed as well; this space is currently being converted to DSW, relocating the Marketplace at Rockaway location) AMC Theatres had screens 1-6 in the location currently occupied by Forever 21 (previously F.Y.E. and Record Town) located inside the mall, as well as screens 7-12 in the location currently occupied by Best Buy in one of the many strip malls located on the perimeter road. The 1-6 screens closed in 1998 and the 7-12 screens in 2002. When the theaters originally expanded from 6 screens to 12 in February 1981, it became the first 12-screen multiplex in America.[4]

On August 25, 2009, a small plane crash-landed in the parking lot. The only injury was the pilot, who walked away and was treated.[5]

On February 20, 2010, a grease oven fire broke out at a McDonald's inside the mall, causing a brief evacuation of the mall until the fire was put out. The McDonald's is now closed.[6]

Expansion and future plans[edit]

The mall has undergone several expansions since it opened. These include a strip mall in the southeast corner of the property currently anchored by Best Buy, and occupied by Nordstrom Rack (formerly Acme Markets), Torrid (formerly Thrift Drug, later Eckerd Pharmacy and Rite Aid), Party Fair, and DSW (originally Child World and then Kids "R" Us, later Office Depot; the DSW is a relocation of the Marketplace at Rockaway location). A Hilton Garden Inn was opened next to a building that is currently occupied by Morristown Health Center. A row of three stores (Linens 'n Things [now a Christmas Tree Shops], Michaels, and Borders [now a Buy Buy Baby]) was opened next to that. The west end of the property, called Rockaway Plaza, is now occupied by Target, Dick's Sporting Goods, Pier 1 Imports, PetSmart and a new 16 screen AMC Theatres (intended to be a Loews Theatres but opened after AMC bought them out while the theatre was under construction; many Loews elements remain, and it is not connected to the original 12 [later 6] screens from earlier).

The Shops at Rockaway Mall, a strip mall developed by Transmark Company, also opened in the corner near Interstate 80 and features Dunkin' Donuts (one used to exist in the mall next to the food court), Tiff's Burger (previously Fatburger), Cold Stone Creamery, Quizno's, Sleepy's, La Salsa, FedEx Office, Carter's, Oshkosh B'Gosh, and Supercuts along with a separate Olive Garden.[7] Plans include a Banana Republic, an Old Navy, and others, but none have been built since the 2005 proposal. A Nori Sushi opened where the former Maui Wowi was located in Food Works, along with a Charley's Grilled Subs, and the former location of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service is now a newsstand. Around the mall, the HDTVs located throughout the lobby of the mall now show updated news stories from CBS News, and events at the mall, while monitors in Food Works show music videos. Inside Macy's a local pub by the name of Muldoon's Steakhouse and Pub has opened (there is another standalone location in nearby Ledgewood).


The mall is served by several bus routes:

Route Western Endpoint Eastern Endpoint Operator
880 Terminal Morristown NJ Transit
46 (off-peak hours only) Terminal Port Authority Bus Terminal Lakeland Bus Lines
80B Budd Lake PABT Lakeland
80H Howard Boulevard PABT/Midtown Manhattan/Wall Street Lakeland
80N Newton PABT Lakeland
80S Sparta PABT Lakeland

Rail proposals[edit]

The mall has been included in many rail proposals to relieve traffic on Interstate 80. However, traffic has become increasingly worse and backups are common as far as Netcong.

If a rail station had been built when the mall was constructed, it probably would have sat unused until 1982 when the Comet II passenger cars arrived as any electrification would have been to the current that was going to be used on the Morris & Essex Lines and wasn't placed in service along with the Arrow III MUs until 1984.

The Comet I cars were equipped with low-doors and since most trains might have been sent via the Morristown Line providing for management concerns about diesel noise and exhaust from the U34CH locomotives near the mall.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°54′25″N 74°33′14″W / 40.907°N 74.554°W / 40.907; -74.554