LAWRENCE: Remaking the mall

By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer
   Food-lovers have much more to love at the Quaker Bridge Mall this week, as the Cheesecake Factory restaurant and Teavana, a store that focuses on loose-leaf teas, opened their doors for business.
   The Cheesecake Factory, which is a full-service restaurant, held its grand opening Wednesday —close on the heels of Teavana, which opened for business Sept. 14.
   The restaurant occupies a newly built space attached to the mall. It features an 8,644-square-foot dining room, plus a 1,517-square-foot outdoor dining patio. The tea store is located in a renovated space inside the mall.
   In the coming weeks, more new stores will open their doors, said Marian Kapp, the mall’s director of marketing.
   Michael Kors, which is a high-end fashion store, has already moved into its new space at the mall, she said.
   Next month, Brighton Collectibles will open for business, Ms. Kapp said. Brighton Collectibles features women’s clothing and small leather accessories — from belts, handbags and wallets to small accessories such as jewelry, gifts and sunglasses.
   In November, the Quaker Bridge Mall will welcome H&M, Sephora and Sur La Table, as well as Pandora. H&M is a fashion retailer, while Sephora emphasizes cosmetics and Pandora focuses on jewelry — charms, bracelets, rings, earrings and necklaces.
   Sur La Table, as its name implies, is all about cookware, bakeware, cutlery, serving pieces, small electronic kitchen appliances and assorted kitchen tools and gadgets.
   Several existing stores in the mall have been relocated, said Ms. Kapp.
   Footlocker has moved, as well as Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, she said. Some retailers, such as Claire’s, Cohen’s Fashion Optical, Kay Jewelers and Old Navy, have also relocated or renovated their spaces.
   But it’s not just new stores — it’s a newly renovated mall. Work is progressing on interior renovations, which “we hope will be done by Black Friday,” Ms. Kapp said. A new food court is expected to be in place by November.
   The interior and exterior renovations consist of redesigned handrails that include contemporary glasswork, plus new carpet and flooring throughout the mall, she said. The common areas of the mall will be redesigned with new ceilings and new lighting. New skylights will be installed.
   The escalators outside Macy’s in the mall are slated to be replaced, and new escalators will be installed in the mall outside J.C. Penney. There will be a new elevator outside the Lord & Taylor store, she said.
   Once the interior and exterior renovations are completed, the new stores have opened and the existing ones have relocated, a grand re-opening celebration will be on tap, Ms. Kapp said.
   Beginning Nov. 17 and continuing for the next six weeks, there will be weekly events that celebrate the mall’s reopening, she added.
   ”These new stores (and relocated ones) will not only enhance the shopping experience by offering unique, high-end products, but also complement the rest of the renovations. The changes coming to the Quaker Bridge Mall will position it as a premium shopping destination for central New Jersey,” Ms. Kapp said.