Retail Vacancy Rate Improves on Route 18

Vacancies in central New Jersey still near the 10-year high set last year.

Credit: Getty
Credit: Getty
By Kaitlyn Anness 

The retail vacancy rate in central New Jersey hit a 10-year-high last year, but empty small businesses have offset the big box store highs this year, according to real-estate brokers R.J. Brunelli & Co., LLC. 

"Improvements on Routes 1 and 18 were countered by rising vacancies along Routes 9 and 35," a news release said.

A study which evaluated shopping centers and freestanding buildings larger than 2,000 square feet excluded malls and centers which are under construction.

"Even as a still-too-high big-box inventory continues to shrink, that positive trend is being countered by growing numbers of smaller-store vacancies up and down 
the region’s corridors," said Richard J. Brunelli, president.

Route 18

Route 18's five-mile stretch of East Brunswick businesses had its vacany rate drop for the third-year, to 11.4 percent from 12.9 percent, according to the news release.

Hibachi Grill moved into a 14,000 square foot property which had been empty after Car-Khuff's Furniture closed. 

Route 1

North Brunswick's former Pathmark remains empty, but R.J. Brunelli & Co., LLC said the 30-mile stretch of road "continues to improve."

Vacancy rates declined for the fifth consecutive year, to 6.7 percent from 7.9 percent. 

Big Lots entered the empty Linens 'n' Things site in Woodbridge, but Mandees in North Brunswick shut its doors. 

There were vacancies in 29 of the 127 retail sites included in the survey.

Route 9

The study pointed to two big wins for the Route 9 corridor, filling two empty Pathmark spots with Hobby Lobby in Marlboro and Lowes Express in Wall. 

Route 9's 35-mile stretch from Woodbridge to Lakewood has an 8 percent vacancy rate, up from 7 percent last year. Notable big-box stores in Route 9 this year include Tuesday Mornings in Howell and Big Lots and Woodbridge Crossing.

Closures, however, included a large Lowes in Old Bridge and A.C. Moore in Howell. Within the next year, Kmart will also close in Howell.

"Over the last 10 years, the highway’s vacancy factor ranged from a low of 3.6 percent in 2008 to a high of 7.6 percent in 2009," according to a news release.

Sixty-three of the 245 properties reviewed on the corridor had vacancies.

Next year, the anticipated Marlboro Commons will begin opening doors to Whole Foods, Ethan Allen and more in a 100,000 sq. ft. shopping center, where 95 percent of the leases are signed, according to leasing agent R.J. Brunelli. 

Route 35

The Pathmark Space in Middletown on Route 35 remains empty, adding to the highway's vacancy rate this year, along with Borders on Route 35. 

The study revealed small businesses closing took over the progress big-box stores had made on the vacancy rate, on the 25-mile Aberdeen to Brielle stretch. The rate rose to 13 percent from 11.2 percent.

Big box store closures included Fashion Bug in Hazlet, which is now leased by Planet Fitness, and Sears in Eatontown, which closed three locations in the region this year.

“Looking ahead, the Eatontown area could see its biggest surge in new space in years as proposed redevelopments of Fort Monmouth and a site currently occupied by a golf course on Route 36 could potentially add 500,000 square feet of retail in conjunction with new housing, office space, hotels and  other uses being considered for the sites,” Brunelli said. 

Also in Eatontown, DSW is currently leasing a large space, and the Route 35 vacancy rate was helped by Shop-Rite in Hazlet.
John Romano September 12, 2013 at 01:45 PM
......maybe it's just me ...but the "empty" gas station sign ...looks like the old ones that Texaco used. Isn't one of the vacant gas stations on Rte 18 a former Texaco? .....does this mean that we get to look forward to having tumbleweeds too?
Norman September 12, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Once again you are spot on...I just returned from grabbing a slice at Brothers and instead of just heading back out onto Rt18 via the Burger King exit I circled around the center. It is freaking DEAD more than 1/2 empty! Scary very scary.....
FromEBNJ September 15, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Can't be Mayor Stahl says things are better. Best is NOT to send him to Trenton and vote him out next year along with his clowns council.
Wwe Tensai September 15, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Remember, this is the same Mayor Stahl who is letting the Turnpike Authority expand the entrance/exit ramps without fighting them on putting up a sound wall. So what if the homeowners (whose homes have been there since 1940's) will be worth nothing? So what if it looks like crap. No wonder all we can get into town is a White Castle and a WalMart. Oh, and the two psychics on Rt. 18 along with the check cashing place. Very nice.
PatC September 15, 2013 at 08:39 PM
In a town bookended on the north and south sides by their own respective pre-Gogo bar restaurant/smokeshop combo, I find the brand new abandoned building they put up between the kohls and lowes on 18 south to be the most telling sign of all. We should at least let our very own roving homeless man, who based on my sightings must live somewhere in the woods around harts/tices, shack up in there for the winter (its right on his route, and a stones throw from the walmart which will become his only garbage picking source once it turns the rest of 18 into a perfect set for a springsteen video


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »