A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Route 35 Corridor Commercial Vacancies

The Route 35 corridor between Aberdeen and Holmdel is rife with stores that Aberdeen shoppers routinely visit. The situation with commercial property vacancies along that route is bad and may be getting worse. An article about the 2008 Brunelli Survey says vacancies in Central Jersey reached 9% last year. With Drug Fair declaring bankruptcy, the positive developments related to that company adding stores here and there, which are mentioned in the attached article released in mid-March, are undoubtedly in the ash can.

My daughter noticed a sign yesterday confirming that a Super Foodtown is coming to a long vacant space in the Hazlet shopping center on Route 35 where the Elvis McDonald's restaurant, Staples, Party City, STS Tire, and other retailers are located. For those who haven't been around here very long, the space where Staples is used to be a Service Merchandise. Foodtown is renovating the space where a Rickels hardware store used to sit. The article about the survey also mentions the Foodtown coming to Hazlet.

Frankly, I'm not sure exactly why we need another grocery store with so many around or if we'll even feel the loss of Drug Fair, one of a plethora of local drug stores. Neither action will increase net sales of groceries or prescriptions in the area. I'm glad to see that Wegman's, which is buying some of Drug Fair's stores, has agreed to take in any employees who wish to join their team.

The intersection of Route 35 and Cliffwood Avenue in Cliffwood remains a ghosttown on three of its four corners. Can someone fill me in on the plans for that area? The folks at Burlew's Pizzeria told me that an improved intersection was planned but it has been years since that landmark was razed. Are the authorities waiting for Moore's Bar to leave the scene? That intersection can be pretty busy during the rush. And with the addition of the WaWa gas station entrance just off the main intersection and across from the jug handle, navigating that stretch of roadway has only gotten worse. (Note that the pallet warehouse on Amboy behind McDonald's in Cliffwood has also been vacant for a while.) Maybe the township should cover its plans for the intersection in an upcoming newsletter?


  1. Actually the sign for the Foodtown Plus was in a window front where the exit area of the Service Merchandise was located. There seem to be a number of solid walls between the Foodtown and the Staples, so I'm not sure what is filling those vacancies. The area to the side of the Staples that was once "Rickel's" lawn and outdoor area space is still a mystery.

  2. I would like to hear some input on the reconfiguration of that intersection also,I love when I sit there in the morning waiting to make a left to go north on 35 and a southbound tractor trailer tries to turn down Cliffwood Ave and you get an attitude from the driver because he can't cut that corner and he wants you to try and back up with 4 other cars behind you,I'm sure alot of people who live in the area know what I'm taking about..I am really surprised that there is no interest in the old Drug Fair on the corner it seems like a really viable retail space.the small strip mall opposite of it on 35 is truly a lost cause and would just make that intersection more dangerous with traffic trying to pull into that lot during peak driving times.It may be more feasible if they tore down the structure and put in a commuter lot since there is a bus stop right there,maybe even make it a park and ride for commuters to park and take a shuttle to Matawan train station,this too I believe could only be done if the intersection was reconfigured.

  3. I mentioned the pallet warehouse being shuttered, but I forgot to mention the auto parts store, which is also closed.

    The Eckert is another empty hulk on that corner. Whose bright idea was it to build another drug store in our community anyway? Did anyone really believe it would succeed? Why not convert it into a recreational facility for the Cliffwood kids to play indoor basketball and provide a venue for clubs like Scouting or Police Explorers? Maybe a rec center could be combined with a branch of the Matawan-Aberdeen Library? Sponsorship could come from a place like Taco Bell and/or Subway, which could build walk-up windows like a food court to serve the rec center and a consolidated drive-thru window to sell to the public. I too would like to see that intersection fixed and wonder if others think about it.