Sears To Be Demo’d, New Smaller Stores Installed

Photo by Jason Allentoff

TOMS RIVER – Early plans for the Ocean County Mall filed recently describe the Sears store being demolished and replaced by 11 stores.

The plans are scheduled for a Planning Board meeting in October. This is early in the process and a lot can happen between the creation of a plan and the time when the first shovel hits the ground.

The Sears building is proposed to be demolished and replaced with a parking lot. Five storefronts will face out from the mall, surrounding a new entrance to the mall. The stores have square footages of 2,840, 2,335, 2,425, 3,100, and 6,248.

On one side of the parking lot will be six new storefronts separate from the main mall building. On the map, they resemble a strip mall with wide, landscaped walkways. The square footages are proposed to be 34,000, 28,000, 6,940 (with the potential to add another 3,930), 10,750, 7,600, and 2,850.

The empty white boxes on the top and right side of this map show where the 11 new storefronts will go. The mall entrance is on the right. One of the boxes on the right is not a store, but an open area. On the bottom left will be BJ’s Brewhouse. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

A few months ago, the planning board approved a BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse at a pad site in the parking lot nearby. This would be a standalone building served by the new parking lot.

The resolution that approved BJ’s stated it would be an 8,000-square-foot standalone building, have 200-230 employees, and have seating for approximately 250 people.

Simon Properties, which runs the mall, was not able to comment by press time. A press release from April stated that the “transformational redevelopment” would start in 2018 and conclude in 2020.

“We are excited to redevelop the former Sears’s store with uses that will benefit the community and the existing retailers in these properties,” Michael E. McCarty, chief operating officer, Simon Malls, said in the press release.