Brick Residents Ask: Can This Shopping Center Be Saved?

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    The former Pathmark store in Brick, N.J., Feb. 2018. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
    The former Pathmark store in Brick, N.J., Feb. 2018. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

    Pathmark is long gone, Kmart is in serious financial trouble and several small businesses have either closed or moved.

    The Laurel Square shopping center used to be one of Brick’s busiest commercial properties. Senior citizens from surrounding age-restricted communities came by the busload to hit the supermarket, and the Odyssey Hair Salon’s discounts led to standing-room-only waiting. Odyssey closed Dec. 24.

    With the desolate plaza beginning to lose more of the few business that hung on, Brick residents repeatedly asked Mayor John Ducey during his monthly Facebook Live talk show this week if there was any news on the horizon.

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    The quick answer: no.

    Sources have told Shorebeat that Acme and Foodtown were both in negotiations with Brixmor Property Group, the shopping center’s owner, but both abandoned talks after failing to reach an agreement. Ducey said the company was also considering a movie theater at one point.

    “Brixmor hasn’t told me anything,” Ducey told residents. “I talk to Brixmor, I call them, they don’t call me. I even get into little Twitter battles with them sometimes about being this big national company and they can’t fill a food store that’s been empty for years.”

    Ducey said he asked the company to lure a higher-end supermarket, such as Wegman’s, to the location, but Brixmor was not interested because Wegman’s plans store openings four years out.

    “Now it’s been empty for three years anyway,” he said. “It’s a nightmare.”

    The one bit of relief for taxpayers may just come in the form of what will not be built at the site. Rumors of an apartment complex being built at the site are not true, officials have stressed. The business is solely zoned for commercial entities.

    “There are no more multi-family, big housing units that will be allowed to go up anywhere,” Ducey said.

    A call to Brixmor seeking comment was not returned.