NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Now that Sears finally confirmed that will be shuttering its store on Route 1, developers seeking to build on that parcel will be given a "unique opportunity," said the president of the New Brunswick Development Corporation.
Sears, which stood at the pinnacle of the retail world for decades with its ubiquitous catalog that offered everything from rain boots to car tires to Barbie dolls, continued its company-wide contraction after Thursday's announcement that it was closing two more stores in the Garden State.
"After careful review, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to close the Sears stores in Livingston and New Brunswick, N.J.," according to a statement provided to TAPinto New Brunswick by Larry Costello, a spokesman for parent company Transformco. "The liquidation sales begin this week and the stores are planned to close in mid-April. We encourage customers to continue shopping on Sears.com for all their product needs."
Chris Paladino, the president of DEVCO, said that location has long been targeted by developers who have heard rumors over the years that the store was going to close.
"We've been hearing this drum beat from Sears for a number of years," he told TAPinto New Brunswick. "I know I have probably spoken with at least three or four companies that have been interested in a variety of different opportunities on the site over time. I assume now that this is official, that they will start a process that will have to include the city since it's currently zoned for a shopping center.
"And then it will be a unique opportunity. It's kind of almost in but not of the city. It's on Route 1, but has great connectivity to the downtown through the Rutgers bus system. It's in a some ways a quieter part of the city even though it's on US 1. I think it probably poses a variety of opportunities for developers to do some exciting things there."
Transformco announced last year that 51 Sears stores would close, according to a report published by nj.com. The location at the Freehold Raceway Mall will soon close. It won't be long until the final three Sears left in New Jersey will be in Hackensack, Jersey City and Rockaway.
Transformco also is in the middle of closing 45 Kmart stores nationwide.