The Early Days
Brunswick Square Mall, nestled in the heart of East Brunswick, New Jersey, has been a cherished shopping destination for locals since its opening in 1970. Developed by DeBartolo Realty Corp., the mall has undergone several transformations and changes in ownership throughout its existence.
From its early days as a bustling shopping center anchored by JCPenney and Bamberger’s, Brunswick Square has become a hub of retail, entertainment, and dining options.
The mall was built on the former Ostroski Farm on Rues Land, which was sold to the Macy’s Corporation in 1969 to construct Bamberger’s. After the chain was phased out, Bamberger’s later transitioned to the Macy’s name in 1986.
A Time of Expansion and Change
In 1999, Brunswick Square experienced a modest expansion, welcoming a Barnes & Noble and enlarging the movie theater to 13 stadium-seating screens. This expansion took over the space formerly occupied by McCrory’s.
To compensate for the lack of a dedicated food court, the movie theater incorporated various eateries, including Ben & Jerry’s, Nathan’s Famous, and Auntie Anne’s. That same year, Simon Property Group acquired the mall from DeBartolo.
The new millennium saw the mall’s interior underwent a significant renovation in October 2000. New ceilings, skylights, flooring, and lighting were installed, and a second main entrance was added on the mall’s west side.
In 2011, JCPenney underwent extensive renovations to refresh its look and introduce a Sephora inside the department store.
New Beginnings and Farewells
Since 2011, Brunswick Square has seen numerous stores come and go. The movie theater Mega Movies was replaced by Starplex Cinemas, which later closed the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream store due to insufficient revenue. In 2015, Starplex Cinemas was acquired by AMC Theatres.
The Subway sandwich store closed in 2015, replaced by the Pop In Cafe, which has since shut its doors.
In 2016, mall ownership changed hands as Simon Property Group sold it to WP Glimcher. As a result, Ruby Tuesday closed that same year, paving the way for Bar Louie and Red Robin. Bar Louie opened in late 2016, while Red Robin welcomed customers in August 2017.
Rainbow also relocated next to Famous Footwear, with its former storefront used for Red Robin. Adding a unique attraction to the mall, Pups of War, a Nerf blaster arena, opened its doors in June 2021.”
The Return of Toys R Us
In August 2022, Toys R Us returned triumphantly to the retail scene at Brunswick Square Mall. The beloved toy retailer found a new home within the Macy’s department store following a partnership between Macy’s and Toys R Us.
This development brought the iconic Geoffrey the Giraffe back to greet children and rekindle the nostalgic magic of Toys R Us for many locals.
|Notable Changes at Brunswick Square
|Mall opened with JCPenney and Bamberger’s as anchors
|The expansion added Barnes & Noble and enlarged the movie theater
|Major interior renovation
|JCPenney renovated, and Sephora introduced
|Starplex Cinemas acquired by AMC Theatres
|WP Glimcher became the new owner of the mall
|Red Robin opened
|Pups of War nerf blaster arena opened
|Toys R Us returned to Macy’s department store
Embracing the Present and Looking Ahead
Brunswick Square, now owned and managed by Washington Prime Group, currently boasts a gross leasable area (GLA) of 769,000 sq ft (71,440 m2). With over 60 stores and services and JCPenney and Macy’s as its anchor tenants, the mall has continued to serve the East Brunswick community as a retail and entertainment hub.
The mall has expanded its dining options, featuring Panera Bread, Tilted Kilt, GoWireless, Bar Louie, and Red Robin. This array of eateries provides shoppers diverse cuisine, satisfying various tastes and preferences.
As we reminisce about the journey of Brunswick Square, it is essential to appreciate its evolution and the memories the local community shares. From its inception as a bustling shopping center to its current status as a hub for shopping, dining, and entertainment, Brunswick Square has fostered cherished memories for generations of East Brunswick residents.
As we look towards the future, Brunswick Square will undoubtedly continue to adapt and change to meet the community’s needs. Its resilience, evolution, and nostalgic charm make it a beloved destination for longtime residents and newcomers alike.