After shutting its doors in September 2017, one of the last freestanding department stores in New Jersey is no longer standing. The Sears location in Watchung, which stood at the corner of Route 22 and Terrill Road in Watchung for over half a century after moving there from Plainfield was torn down earlier this year. However, the site is not expected to remain empty for long.
The properties that were previously occupied by both the main Sears store and the Sears Auto Center will soon become the site of the Route 22 corridor’s latest shopping, dining, and entertainment venues. Seritage Growth Properties’ plans, which were approved last year by the Watchung Planning Board, call for the former auto center site to contain New Jersey’s third Cinemark movie theater. The 10-screen facility will be situated directly across Terrill Road from the upcoming complex at the department store site, which will include nearly 88,000 square feet of commercial space.
A listing from Jeffery Realty features renderings for the proposed complex, which is described as a “prime retail redevelopment.” The company’s documents state that HomeSense, Sierra Trading Post, and Ulta Beauty will operate inside. In addition, Zinburger, the Livingston-based Briad Group’s chain of wine and burger bars, will operate a freestanding 5,025-square-foot location on the Route 22 side of the plaza.
Owned by the TJX Companies, which also runs Marshalls and HomeGoods, HomeSense and Sierra Trading Post currently have New Jersey locations in East Hanover and Ocean Township. Ulta Beauty has another location in Watchung at the nearby Watchung Square Mall, while Zinburger came last year to the Newport Centre Mall in Jersey City and will open another Somerset County location in an upcoming complex in Bridgewater.