QUAKER BRIDGE MALL
Brunswick Pike / US 1 and Quakerbridge Road
Mercer County (Lawrence Township), New Jersey

The beginnings of the Garden State's capital city shopping mall can be traced back to 1968, when R.H. Macy & Company acquired options on 102 acres, situated 6.5 miles northeast of the New Jersey State House. In April 1969, a zoning change was secured for the property. Macy's then joined with Philadelphia's Kravco Company and formed a joint venture, known as Lawrence Associates. They would develop and operate QUAKER BRIDGE MALL.

Grading commenced at the site in late 1974, with principal construction getting underway in mid-1975. A 2-level (212,600 square foot), Newark-based Bamberger's became the first operational store March 18, 1976. The mall was officially dedicated April 1, 1976. A 2-level (151,400 square foot), Newark-based Hahne's ["haynz"], and sixty inline stores, opened for business. The grand opening festivities were attended by New Jersey Governor Brendan T. Byrne (D) and Nancy Craig "Miss New Jersey 1975".

The third operational anchor at the 1,099,000 square foot shopping hub was a 2-level (151,400 square foot) J.C. Penney. The store began business July 28, 1976. The mall's 2-level (171,100 square foot) Sears was in operation by late 1976. The Quaker Bridge 4 multiplex showed its first features February 6, 1977.

Among the one hundred and thirty-five original QUAKER BRIDGE MALL tenants were Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips, Duke's Pub, Friendly's Ice Cream, Hickory Farms of Ohio, Casual Corner, Chess King, CVS Drug, Foxmoor Casuals, Jewelry Garden, Lerner Shops, Merry-Go-Round, Music Scene, Space Port video arcade, Kay-Bee Toys and 1-level F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10.

Major shopping hubs in the vicinity of QUAKER BRIDGE MALL included NESHAMINY MALL (1968) {17.7 miles southwest, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania}, OXFORD VALLEY MALL (1973) {12.5 miles southwest, also in Bucks County}, WILLOW GROVE PARK MALL (1982) {25.3 miles southwest, in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania}, FRANKLIN MILLS (1989) {19.9 miles southwest, in Philadelphia}, BRIDGEWATER COMMONS (1989) {20.4 miles north, in Somerset County, New Jersey} and NASSAU PARK PAVILION (1995) {.6 of a mile north, in Mercer County, New Jersey}.

The original anchor line up at the dual-level shopping hub lasted until October 5, 1986, when Bamberger's (an R.H. Macy subsidiary since 1929) received a bona fide Macy's banner. Hahne's was shuttered in May 1989 and re-opened, as Lord & Taylor (another May Department Stores operative), July 24, 1990.

Indianapolis' Simon Property Group had established a minority interest in the Kravco Company in the 1990s. In November 2003, they increased their stake in the company to an eighty percent share. As a result, the official name of the concern was changed to Kravco Simon Investments.

A multimillion dollar renovation and expansion of QUAKER BRIDGE MALL was first  announced in September 2005. This project was to include the relocation of J.C. Penney into a new structure at the southwest corner of the mall and demolition of the existing, circa-1976, store. A 501,000 square foot Northeast Wing would be built.

This dual-level, fully-enclosed addition was to be anchored by a 2-level (144,000 square foot) Nordstrom and 2-level (90,000 square foot) Neiman Marcus. Two parking garages were to be built, with the existing mall given a thorough interior and exterior update. A dedication date of Spring 2010 was mentioned. However, the Great Recession caused the project to be shelved.

A scaled-down renovation was announced in February 2012, with work getting underway in March. The interior of the existing mall was completely updated, with some existing tenants relocated and-or expanded into adjacent spaces. An 8-bay "Dining Pavilion" was installed on the Second Level, which replaced the mall's existing First Level Food Court.

Two outward-facing, sit-down restaurant's were added to the northeast corner of the complex. Cheesecake Factory held its grand opening September 19, 2012. Brio Tuscan Grill served its first diners November 14, 2013.

Moreover, mall floors were carpeted, with new soft seating areas, skylights, landscaping, escalators and an elevator installed. Four mall entrances were rebuilt. The updated shopping hub was officially rededicated December 11, 2013.

Whether or not the large-scale expansion proposed in 2005 will be built is unknown at the present time. If constructed, it would expand the GLA of QUAKER BRIDGE MALL to approximately 1,448,600 leasable square feet.

Sources:

Town Topics
"Quaker Bridge Mall" article on Wikipedia
www.simon.com (Simon Property Group)
www.cinematreasures.org
http://www.lawrenceville.patch.com
The Trentonian
The Lawrence Sun