Friday, October 9, 2009

Secaucus Acme: Abandoned

The Former Acme in Secaucus NJ, Part 3 of 3

And now for Part 3—the abandoned Acme of Secaucus NJ. The 80's remodel in all it's glory...

Now for the interesting twist to the story... Acme did not wish to leave this location. In fact, they were planning an expansion and massive remodel. Plans for the improvements were submitted to the landlord who balked at Acme's desire to evict other tenants for their expansion. Acme revised the plans to only include renovations to the space they were already occupying. The landlord refused to even look at the plans and informed Acme that their lease would not be renewed.

Shortly thereafter, it was announced that CVS would be moving into the space. It's not clear when CVS entered the picture and if their interest influenced the landlord to kick Acme out. CVS wound up getting a whole lot more than it bargained for with this location. For starters... the building was essentially sinking as it was not constructed to withstand the swampy conditions in Secaucus. The floor of the Acme was always on the lumpy side. Your shopping cart would even roll away from you in parts of the store. You can see, in some of the pictures above, wooden blocks underneath the support polls throughout the store which may have been used to accomodate the sinking floor. The blocks don't appear to be under the support polls to the rear of the store.

And as if a sinking store isn't enough of a problem, the building was soon found to have asbestos. It was quickly sealed with plastic and the asbestos was removed. Articles at the time implied that CVS was getting stuck with much of the costs for this unexpected work. Not sure if that's true, but if nothing else, CVS's opening was greatly delayed.

Today, many of the stores in the shopping center sit empty. The CVS is a big draw as well as the Bagel Buffet. A farmer's market type store moved in right next to CVS and appears to be hugely successful. The only other supermarket in Secausus has closed as well. The Stop and Shop in the Mill Creek Mall, which was once and Edwards, closed down claiming the couldn't weather the disruptions from the conversion of the mall into a "Big Box" retail center. It's sad to think how Acme could have gone on to thrive in Secaucus if only given
the chance.

The Acme was the large section that stands further out than the rest of the stores. The backroom area extended into the section the upper left had corner of the building–the section with the lighter roof. A store occupied the front half of this area–the section with the darker roof. The Acme may have had an entrance and exit on both sides of the front of the store. Notice the very limited parking lot.

Here you can see the lack of loading docks at the back of the store.

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