PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Soon, things are going to be looking very different at a popular New Jersey mall.
Plans are in place to completely transform the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus, CBSN New York’s Meg Baker reported Wednesday.
The mall opened 62 years ago and the owners say it’s time for a major update.
The Garden State Plaza will no longer be just a place to shop for clothes. New plans will turn it into a mixed-use town center. That means it will feature new residential development, commercial offices, public parks, an upscale hotel and apartments, a new transit center, a grocery store, and health and wellness amenities.
“The shopping and dinning will be augmented with lush landscaping, an attractive promenade, and community gardens,” said General Manager Jay Daly. “The Brook and The Park will be an environmentally friendly focal point for community to gather and relax and have recreational activities.”
The bistro area was recently upgraded, drawing foodies to the mall with the hopes they will browse the stores after a bite to eat.
Baker spoke to a retail expert Jordan Goodman, who said there is evidence that changes like this can save malls.
“Well, the kind of experiences [people] value most in malls are entertainment, rides, 3-D, movies like IMAX, things like that, something you can’t do at home,” Goodman said. “That’s where I think you’re gonna have a new rebirth of malls, I guess you might say. Also, as a working space, medical clinics, things that in the past weren’t typically in malls, that’s what the mall operators have to attract. Because traditional retail, big box stores, is just not where the action’s going to be.”
The full plan for a residential development, commercial offices, a public park and a seasonal hockey rink, will be unveiled in 2020. Developers say public input will be welcome.