Community Life

Back When The Mall at Short Hills was Out in the Open

ba4acddf56e838433f8a_30f21fe41210319c57de_OpenAirMall.jpg
The Mall at Short Hills started out as an open-air mall Credits: Millburn-Short Hills Historical Society
fc5c7cdb54febfbf2e68_34744ca6690ed6e09b33_MallAtSHWalkwayToLot1962Sm.jpg
The Mall at Short Hills had a walkway to the parking lot in 1962 Credits: Millburn-Short Hills Historical Society
4533491abc492abdd0db_8441c15c67269893fa9f_IMG_3646.JPG
Artist rendering of B. Altman and Company Credits: Millburn-Short Hills Historical Society
ba4acddf56e838433f8a_30f21fe41210319c57de_OpenAirMall.jpg

DID YOU KNOW....

The Mall at Short Hills was originally an open-air mall? And that in the late 1960s the NJ Symphony Orchestra performed on the mall for an audience of more than 5,000 lawn chair-carting fans?

It all began in 1949 when the Prudential Insurance Company of America purchased the land where the mall now sits, including a parcel that is now part of the Canoe Brook Country Club. Seven years later, B. Altman & Company, an upscale department store chain, relocated its East Orange store to the Mall property. In 1961 Bonwit Teller became the second anchor store. Stauffer’s Restaurant along with 35 smaller stores including FAO Schwartz, Brentano’s, Jug Hill Mountain Smoke House and a branch of U.S. Post Office completed the Mall at Short Hills by 1962.

Sign Up for E-News

The mall was comprised of a landscaped, shaded campus-like setting 52 feet wide by 435 feet long. Set on two levels, stores were located in four separate air-conditioned buildings connected by sidewalks, stairways and escalators. The buildings were a light grey-beige brick, all with a uniform depth. The two department stores were three stories high and situated for visibility from the two highways passing by to the south, Route 24 and JFK Parkway.

Advertising for the new mall touted it as “5th Avenue in the Suburbs” and featured a caricature of a limo driver in uniform riding a 4-seater bike with two wealthy ladies and a young boy seated behind him.

In 1967, Bloomingdales became the third anchor store at the mall. It was Bloodmingdales’ largest branch, with one whole floor dedicated to furniture and home décor.

As the local population grew, the highway system became more developed, leaving shoppers with more options. This, coupled with competition from the new enclosed Livingston Mall that drew customers from a broader income range, caused business to suffer at the Mall at Short Hills. In the mid 70s, Prudential teamed with The Taubman Company (the current owners of the mall) to consider the feasibility of enclosing the Mall.

In 1980, after two years of construction costing $100 million, the enclosed Mall at Short Hills opened with new retailers including Gap, The Limited, Godiva Chocolatier and Black, Star & Frost. Abraham & Strauss joined as the fourth anchor store the following year. The new multi-level enclosed mall linked the anchor stores through a zigzag configuration, totaling approximately 1.2 million square feet of gross leasable space. Food operations in the new Mall were limited to restaurants serving sit-down food with re-usable plates, avoiding the food court scenario.

In 1990, B. Altman & Company filed for bankruptcy protection and closed all of its stores, including the Short Hills location.

The Mall at Short Hills began a major two-phase expansion in 1993. Phase one brought the addition of Saks Fifth Avenue, a complete renovation of Bloomingdales and the conversion of A&S to Macys. The second phase in 1995 premiered two new anchor stores, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, plus an infusion of new specialty stores including Tiffany, Fendi and Polo Ralph Lauren.

In the fall of 2016 Saks Fifth Avenue shuttered its Mall at Short Hills location and plans to open a store in the American Dream Meadowlands (formerly Xanadu) sometime in 2018. Local curiosity remains high as to what store/stores will move into the vacated Saks space. At this time, The Taubman Company has released no details about plans for that space.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Millburn/Short Hills

Millburn Recreation Accepting Memberships for Pool, Tennis and Golf

February 19, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn Township Recreation Department announced that it is accepting memberships for the township pool, tennis and golf facilities. The memberships are available to all Millburn Township residents and the applications are available online.

The membership application can be accessed at http://www.twp.millburn.nj.us/DocumentCenter/View/3258 or go ...

Millburn Police Investigate Theft by Nordstrom Employee

February 14, 2018

Press Release February 13, 2018

 

On February 6, 2018 Millburn Police Officer Royce stopped a 2009 Jaguar XKR as it exited the mall for having no front plate. The investigation led to the arrest of 50 year old Christopher Garibian of Morristown on an outstanding traffic warrant out of Morris Township. Mr. Garibian was placed under arrest, issued summonses, and released after posting ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!

 

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_6bc32732b6e5b46f0b03_f28fee57f494e6f4658c_10943684_896744083691504_4506070169799302056_n

Wed, February 21, 9:00 AM

The Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary, Short Hills

Winter Break Camp at the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum ...

Education Green

Carousel_image_6bc32732b6e5b46f0b03_f28fee57f494e6f4658c_10943684_896744083691504_4506070169799302056_n

Thu, February 22, 9:00 AM

The Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary, Short Hills

Winter Break Camp at the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum ...

Education Green

Carousel_image_6bc32732b6e5b46f0b03_f28fee57f494e6f4658c_10943684_896744083691504_4506070169799302056_n

Fri, February 23, 9:00 AM

The Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary, Short Hills

Winter Break Camp at the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum ...

Education Green

Carousel_image_4f8324cc0a175d48b73e_bbc4a05ee6841cf55043_martamcdowell-photo-by-marco-ricca

Sun, February 25, 2:00 PM

Greenwood Gardens, Short Hills

All the Presidents’ Gardens Talk & Book Signing ...

Home & Garden

Paper Mill Playhouse Announces the World Premiere of 'Unmasked'

February 18, 2018

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director), recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, announced today the world premiere of UNMASKED, which will feature some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most iconic work and the stories behind its creation, along with new music and memories from his extraordinary life and career, will open its ...

Millburn Township Republican County Committee Call for Potential Candidates

Registered Republicans interested in serving our community are encouraged to run for the single open Township Committee seat in the 2018 election.  The Millburn Township Republican County Committee invites prospective candidates to arrange an interview by contacting Chairwoman, Mary McNett, at 973-376-3345 or via e-mail at mary.mcnett @gmail.com.

Ms. McNett noted ...

Harry Connick, Jr. to Appear in the World-Premiere Production of "The Sting"

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director), recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, has announced that Harry Connick, Jr. will star as Henry Gondorff in the world-premiere production of The Sting.  The musical is based on the 1973 film, and will have its world premiere at Paper Mill Playhouse for a limited run from March ...