Mayor: Home Depot eyeing SB Mall

Home improvement store looking at former Macy’s location.

By: Sharlee Joy DiMenichi
   Mayor Frank Gambatese has met with the owners of the South Brunswick Square Mall and officials from Home Depot about bringing the home-improvement store to the shopping center.
   Mayor Frank Gambatese said Tuesday night that the two companies discussed bringing either a Home Depot or Villagers Hardware Store to the mall to take over the space vacated by Macy’s in 2003. The parties met Tuesday morning.
   Home Depot officials would not comment on whether the store would be added to the mall.
   Representatives of WP Brunswick Associates, owner of the mall, were unavailable for comment Wednesday.
   Mayor Gambatese, who says he has had numerous conversations with representatives of Home Depot and the mall, said building the proposed 104,000-square-foot home-improvement store would require tearing down the vacant Macy’s building and moving two of the existing businesses elsewhere in the mall. The store now is 96,000 square feet.
   Mayor Gambatese said he did not know which stores would be moved but that no storeowners would be forced out of the mall.
   Any application to fill the vacant space would need Planning Board review. Mayor Gambatese said review of any application would happen quickly because the proposed use is similar to what was there previously.
   If the Planning Board OKs the project, Mayor Gambatese said, construction would be complete in about 28 weeks.
   The mall has been short an anchor since Macy’s closed in 2003. A Grand Union supermarket also closed last year, but was replaced Feb. 5 with a Stop & Shop supermarket.
   Macy’s opened at the mall in 2001, replacing a Sterns department store owned by Federated Department Stores, the same parent company. The Sterns had opened after a seven-year vacancy caused by the closing of a Jamesway store.