Willowbrook Mall (New Jersey)

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Willowbrook Mall
Willowbrook Mall logo
Willowbrook Mall - Wayne, New Jersey.jpg
LocationWayne, New Jersey, United States
Coordinates40°53′20″N 74°15′36″W / 40.889°N 74.260°W / 40.889; -74.260Coordinates: 40°53′20″N 74°15′36″W / 40.889°N 74.260°W / 40.889; -74.260
Address1400 Willowbrook Mall
Opening dateSeptember 24, 1969; 51 years ago (September 24, 1969)
DeveloperThe Rouse Company[1]
ManagementBrookfield Properties
OwnerBrookfield Properties
No. of stores and services148[2]
No. of anchor tenants5 (4 open, 1 vacant)
Total retail floor area1,520,000 sq ft (141,000 m2)[2]
No. of floors1 with partial upper level (2 in Dave & Buster's, former Lord & Taylor, and former Sears, 3 in Bloomingdale's and Macy's)
ParkingParking lot with 8,000 spaces[2]
Public transit accessBus transport NJ Transit NJ Transit Bus: 11, 28, 191, 193, 194, 195, 197, 198, 704, 705, 712, 748, 871, 874

Willowbrook Mall is a one-level shopping center with a partial second floor located in Wayne, New Jersey. It is near the intersection of New Jersey Route 23, U.S. Route 46, and Interstate 80 in the New York metropolitan area. The mall opened in 1969 and was expanded or renovated in 1970, 1988, 2006, and 2015. It has over 140 retail establishments and a leasable area of 1,518,006 square feet (141,027.4 m2)[3] and is the fifth-largest shopping mall in New Jersey. The mall's anchor stores are Macy's, Dave & Buster's, Shopper's Find and Bloomingdale's.[4] Upcoming in vacant anchor spots will include BJ's Wholesale Club.

With blue laws in effect in neighboring 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.[5] The mall and its surrounding access roads and parking areas are prone to flooding in rainstorms. The Passaic River flows near the mall and one of its tributaries, the Pompton River, runs behind it.[6]


Construction of Willowbrook Mall began in 1966 with the groundbreaking of a Bamberger's store.[7] and by 1968 the construction included an Ohrbach's and a Sears. The mall was originally planned as a 110-store indoor shopping mall, encompassing 1,500,000 square feet (140,000 m2).[8] It opened on September 24, 1969.[9] A second phase opened on August 12, 1970, consisting of 47 specialty stores on two floors, and a Stern's department store. Upon its opening, Willowbrook Mall become the largest enclosed shopping mall in the world.[10]

In 1993, Willowbrook Mall became one of the first malls in New Jersey to ban smoking on mall grounds.[11]

Sears was the mall's only remaining original anchor store until it closed in September 2019.[12] The Bamberger's store has been open without interruption for the mall's entire existence, but was rebranded as Macy's in 1986 after its corporate parent decided to rebrand its entire northeastern United States operation under its namesake marque.[13] Ohrbach's came under new ownership and was rebranded as part of the Steinbach chain, which went out of business in 1996. The building was gutted and expanded for its new tenant Lord & Taylor, which opened in 1997. Stern's closed its doors in 2001 after its parent company, Federated Department Stores, retired the brand; the store was converted to its sister brand, Bloomingdale's, which opened in late 2002.[14]

In 2015, it was announced that the mall would undergo a two-year, $23 million renovation. The renovation entailed new ceilings in the Sears & Macy's wings, an overhaul of the food court, new flooring throughout the mall, additional seating, and a two-story streetscape theme for the Bloomingdale's wing.[15]

Also in 2015, Sears Holdings spun off 235 of its properties, including the Sears at Willowbrook Mall, into a new company named Seritage Growth Properties.[16] In 2017, Sears shrunk its square footage and subleased the unused portion to Dave & Buster's, which opened on Valentine's Day 2018.[17] Seritage closed and demolished the Sears Auto Center for a Cinemark movie theater, becoming the second movie theater within the mall area limits (after a 14-screen AMC Theatres, formerly Loews Theatres). On July 15, 2019, Sears announced that it will be closing its store at the mall in mid September 2019. The store shut down on September 15, 2019.[18][19]

In August 2018, Macy's added a Macy's Backstage outlet in a portion of its store.[20] A P.F Chang's opened within the Bloomingdale's store on January 22, 2019.[21]

On August 2, 2020, it was announced that Lord & Taylor would be closing as part of a plan to close 19 stores nationwide. On August 27, 2020, it was announced that Lord & Taylor would be closing all remaining stores. The store closed in February 2021. This left Bloomingdale's and Macy's as the only traditional anchors left.[22]

In October 2020, it was announced that BJ's Wholesale Club would plan to open a warehouse store and gas station. The warehouse store would open in the former Sears, while the gas station would be north of the mall's parking lot.[23]

In 2021, a store called Shopper's Find opened in the former Lord & Taylor spot at the mall.[24]

Public transportation[edit]

The mall and its parking lots serve as a transportation hub for the surrounding area.[25] A NJ Transit park and ride facility, opened in 1974, provides bus service to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.[26]

In popular culture[edit]

Willowbrook Mall was the site of the Nickelodeon comedy The Adventures of Pete & Pete special episode "What We Did on Our Summer Vacation", in which Ellen's photo booth was located in the parking lot of the mall.[27]


  1. ^ "Mall merchant head predicts great future". The News. Paterson, New Jersey. September 25, 1969. p. 49. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Willowbrook Mall (NJ)". Brookfield Properties Retail Group.
  3. ^ "Retail Space for Lease in Wayne, NJ | Willowbrook | Brookfield Properties". www.brookfieldpropertiesretail.com. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  4. ^ "Willowbrook Directory & Map". Willowbrook Mall. Brookfield Properties Retail. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  5. ^ Strum, Charles. "Paramus Journal; On Sundays, Bergen Shoppers Rest", The New York Times, December 7, 1992. Accessed August 31, 2018.
  6. ^ Service, US Department of Commerce, NOAA, National Weather. "National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service". water.weather.gov. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  7. ^ "Bamberger's Building Store In New Wayne, N.J., Center". timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  8. ^ "Ohrbach's Builds in Jersey", The New York Times, September 27, 1968. Accessed August 31, 2018.
  9. ^ "Ohrbach Names Executive". timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  10. ^ "12 Aug 1970, 48 - The Record at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  11. ^ "2 Big Malls Ban Smoking", The New York Times, October 8, 1993. Accessed September 3, 2017.
  12. ^ "Sears Closing Wayne Willowbrook Mall Store". Wayne, NJ Patch. 2019-07-15. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  13. ^ Ervolino, Bill. "Then and now: A name change cost Bamberger's its regional flair", The Record (Bergen County), January 28, 2017. Accessed September 3, 2017.
  14. ^ Combs, Heath E.; and Lillo, Andrea. "Stern's closing puts focus on Macy's, Bloomies", Home & Textile Today, February 12, 2001. Accessed September 3, 2017. "The Stern's locations in Willowbrook and Bridgewater, NJ, will be converted to Bloomingdale's stores."
  15. ^ Verdon, Joan. "Willowbrook Mall in Wayne to get a facelift", The Record (Bergen County), June 4, 2015, backed up by the Internet Archive as of September 20, 2016. Accessed September 3, 2017.
  16. ^ "At Willowbrook Mall | Seritage".
  17. ^ "Willowbrook Dave & Buster's gives millennials a reason to go to the mall", North Jersey Media Group, February 13, 2018. Accessed October 15, 2019.
  18. ^ Anzidei, Melanie (July 15, 2019). "Sears in Wayne to close by mid-September — and liquidation sales have already begun". northjersey.com. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  19. ^ Sears & Roebuck at Willowbrook and Staten Island to Close on Sunday, September 15th, 2019, retrieved 2019-10-08
  20. ^ Verdon, Joan (July 3, 2018). "Macy's to open Backstage outlet store at Willowbrook Mall". North Jersey Media Group.
  21. ^ "P.F. Chang's officially opens at Willowbrook Mall in Wayne". North Jersey. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  22. ^ Willis, David P. (August 27, 2020). "Lord & Taylor closing all stores, including Freehold Raceway Mall location". Asbury Park Press. Archived from the original on December 9, 2020.
  23. ^ DeVencentis, Philip. "BJ's Wholesale Club could be next anchor at Willowbrook Mall in Wayne". North Jersey. North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  24. ^ "Shopper's Find in Wayne, NJ | Willowbrook". www.willowbrook-mall.com. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  25. ^ System Map Passaic County, NJ Transit. Accessed January 4, 2018.
  26. ^ "Park-Ride Center to Open Monday at Willowbrook Mall", The New York Times, January 4, 1974. p. 64. Accessed July 14, 2017.
  27. ^ Milici, Lauren. "The Adventures Of Pete & Pete: Paying Tribute To A Quirky Nickelodeon Classic The legendary show gets its due.", Birth.Movies.Death., June 12, 2017. Accessed September 19, 2019. "The photo-booth-turned-command-center that Ellen worked at in the 'What We Did On Our Summer Vacation' special was housed in the parking lot of the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, NJ."

External links[edit]