Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Former Jersey Shore Acme,
Seaview Square Mall — Ocean Township NJ

Location: 2405 Route 66, Ocean Township NJ

The former "Seaview Sqaure" Acme seen above in it's current state. Now home to the Monmouth County Division of Social Services. Not much to see in this photo. Fortunately some of the satellite images continue to show the building as an abandoned Acme...

As Andrew7239 recently informed us in a comment to the Atlantic Highlands post... the building had an entrance on both sides with the Acme being on one side and a JC Penney Catalog center and drug store on the other. The Acme closed in 1993.

Zoomed in close-up of the Acme entrance. Compare this store to the old one in the Granite Run Mall. Nearly identical set-up...

Acme Granite Run Mall
This photo is from mrambojr's photostream on flickr. Both stores appear to be window-less Acme's. The Granite Run Mall store is located at 1067 West Baltimore Pike Media, PA 19063, and has since been extensively renovated. Back to Seaview Square...

The Acme side faces out to Route 35 but is barely visible from the road with all the trees in between the two. You can only enter the former Acme from the southbound lane of Route 35. The rear side here faces the mall complex but it too is not easily seen while looping around the mall's roadways. 

The former JC Penney side. The Acme extended out of the left side. 

From this angle, the satelite imagery shows the builing in it's currnent state. Acme delivery docks still intact. 

A look at the current state of the Seaview Sqaure Mall and surrounding area as it is today. I'm assuming the Acme was not remodeled in the 80's due to it's closing date, hence the fish-eye logo here. A "World Class" ShopRite is located across the Route 66. It's arrival may have doomed the Acme. This was the original site of Sears prior to the store relocating to the mall in 1976. Ames eventually moved into a portion of Sears' former store. Today it is occupied by TJMaxx, Home Good and an IHOP among others.

Back over to the mall... the Sears remains in it's original spot to this day. Value City occupies the former Steinbach Department store. The portion of the Mall connecting the two anchors was torn down in 2000 and a Target Greatland and a few smaller stores now were built it's place. A Sterns Department store was a third anchor which extended south of the Target. A planned forth anchor to the north side of Target was never built largely due to the having never become a great success. Wikipedia has all the details of the history of the mall. It's a very interesting read. 

The drama continues here at Seaview Square... the Lowes store is currently abandoned due to the unstable ground which it was built upon. Cracks began appearing in it's foundation and the store had to be closed. More details of the Lowes situation can be found here. (The article reports that the Lowes store is 15,000 sqaure feet which is clearly not correct.)

Update 8.15.11: A Burlington Coat Factory has opened in 1/3 of the former Lowe's space. The Value City building remains abandoned since the company went under in 2008. I have the store shown as a Value City Furniture store which is not the case. Thanks to matchjames for the correct info left in the comments section!

Taking a look at the evolution of the mall over the years...



Click here for a directory of stores at the mall around this time. Big name retailers few and far between.

Seaview Square Mall before demolition
A photo from flickr showing the original entrance to the mall. 


Some close-ups of the Acme...

Looks as though a bank may have been located here as well. You can see the drive through lanes in the upper left corner. That structure is not there today.

The Acme is gone. Possible all tenants gone at this point. 

Asbury Park sits between the mall and the ocean. The construction of the mall was in part spurred by the riots in Asbury in the early 70's as the many retail stores began leaving the troubled the town. Once a huge Jersey Shore destination, Asbury Park sunk into abandon and despair in the 70's. Planned redevelopment throughout the 80's and 90's failed to see fruition. The 2000's has seen some significant progress, especially along the ocean front. The town itself still has a long way to go reestablish much of it's former glory. 


  1. The Acme at Seaview Square was considered quite something when it opened in 1977. The prior year a similar store opened at Granite Run and proved to be and still is very successful. The old Acme in Neptune at Colies & Logantown Road for many years was one of the highest volume stores in the Newark division, so there was high hopes for Seaview Square. As indicated above, Sears moved to the mall, and within a few years Foodarama, now Saker ShopRites, opened their World Class ShopRite on the old Sears site. That clearly doomed the Acme. I clearly remember visiting the store in 1983, and it had just closed, but still had all the fixtures and registers in place. The only thing removed were the groceries. The metal grating was down, but you could see right through it, and the lights were mostly on. Across the hall was the Thrift Drug Store, and the Catalog store, both were owned by JC Penney at that time. It was sad to see such a magnificent store closed. And yes, the sign was the fish-eye. Meanwhile across the highway, ShopRite was booming.

  2. I could be wrong, but I thought that this store got the 80s remodel.

    The ShopRite opened right around the time that the acme closed. The Acme might have even closed in anticipation of the ShopRite. That Shoprite was much larger than any other Shoprite built before. I think it was close to 100,000 sq ft.

  3. Also, the former Sears was a Caldor in the 90s.

  4. The Seaview Square Mall... nowhere close to the sea! Since this and Granite Run are always listed as the two examples of this kind of store, I'm going to assume they're the only examples ever built? Too bad the exteriors were so homely but then if it always works for Pathmark, why not Acme? Speaking of which, seems that Acme cribbed the idea from Pathmark, who was building stores with mini malls attached to them... you could enter from either side and walk down a center aisle- Pathmark on one side, smaller stores on the other.

    Did this one close in 1983 or 1993? Hard to believe it would have lasted until 1993...

  5. It either closed in late 1993 or early 1994. When I worked in Manalapan, we got quite a few transfers from Seaview when it closed. If I remember correctly, I think that seaview was store 7238. This store was also hurt by the opening of the new Elberon store in 1989.

  6. Well, it is true that the 100,000 sq ft super ShopRite opened in 1993, so Acme must have closed in the fall of 1993. I seem to recall that it did in fact have the 1980's remodel, and really looked great! Thanks, Andrew.

  7. How many Acme stores had this look? Was it something they only used in mall settings?

  8. just a few corrections... the former Lowes' building is now 1/3 occupied with a Burlington Coat Factory; and of course the Value City (former STEINBACH) location remains vacant since their bankruptcy 2+ years ago-- ALL THREE floors. Everything else on this site is thriving however, Target and Costco in the back of the site are packed every hour they're open

  9. Thanks for the info matchjames! I'll update the post this weekend.

  10. Rob, that's right about Pathmark... they have several locations that are very similar to the Seaview Square store. 1st one that comes to mind is the Kinnelon Pathmark just off Rte. 23. On one side of this indoor mini-mall is the Pathmark which has entrances from both sides of the parking lot and the other side is small stores and a movie theatre... that particular store competed well against A&P just a short distance away w/ highway frontage and the Grand Union, and it eventually drove A&P to close. Pathmark Kinnelon has the short-lived "Go Fresh, go local" decor which was a big departure from the boring, lack of appeal departments that most Pathmarks had.
    Another mini-mall store is the Pathmark in Woodbridge, which A&P kept open as opposed to the A&P built in the early 2000's next to Saker S/R in Woodbridge on St. Georges Ave. (Rte 35)

  11. I think the Middlesex Mall Pathmark in Piscataway started out like that design as well

  12. I'm very familiar with the Kinnelon Pathmark, it's one of the few I don't find repulsive in its blandness. Maybe it's because the nearby Stop & Shop (former Grand Union) is repulsive in its own ways. So there was an A&P in the strip mall in front of the Pathmark along Route 23 south? When did that close?

  13. Rob, yes... the store to the far right in that shopping center (on the corner of Rt.23)was an A&P and it became a Sav-A-Center style A&P until it finally bit the dust in the early 1990's. Not sure of the exact year but I worked for an Ice Cream company in the late 80's and the A&P was still open at that time. I remember it was subdivided and became a Rag Shop fabric store (now out of business)and something else, maybe a pet store. The A&P was at most 30,000 sq. ft. and I'm not a fan of that Grand Union in Butler across the highway either. Not one of their better stores for sure and doesn't look like S&S has done much to improve or replace it!

  14. I remember when this Acme was still open, during the narrow window in the mid to late 80’s when the Seaview Square Mall was actually doing moderate business.

    A new mystery question has been posed for me: was the Seaview Square location intended as a replacement for the Asbury Park location??? Judging from the dates that the Acme Style Blogger and Bill Haines posted, the question is intriguing, yet problematic. It is a well-known fact in this area that many of the Department stores that had been located in Asbury Park moved to the Seaview Square mall or its immediate vicinity once Asbury Park went into decline in the 70’s. This is especially true for the Steinbach, although both locations may have coexisted for a while. The Acme seems to have found its way down the same path, as well.

    However, Acme had also been located in Asbury Park up until 1969, and then it ended up in the mall’s complex later in 1977. That leaves an eight-year gap. Perhaps we should not think of the Acme in this area as a replacement situation, when a larger, more modern location gets built right next to an older, smaller one. The riots in Asbury must have thrown Acme for a loop, and they needed time to regroup and figure out how to appeal to the shoppers that moved down the road.

    Does anyone else have any other information about this?

  15. Regarding the bank drive-in adjacent to Seaview Square Acme parking lot, that was a Provident Savings Bank (now known as Provident Bank). It was just a 3-lane drive-in, and it operated as a satellite to a main branch within the shopping mall. I worked for this bank in the early 1980's.

  16. Value City Furniture seems to be still open and doing just fine. I saw a TV commercial -- with the logo shown in the map above -- just last week. I'm not sure if it's the same Value City, but look at this website: http://www.valuecitynj.com/

  17. This store definitely survived into the 90s. I thought it was around even after 1993 for a little bit. My dad worked at a nearby restaurant and made frequent runs to this store.

  18. Looking back it's hard to imagine this store had much of a chance at all. The building is pretty much buried along a road that runs around the former mall, almost impossible to see without stopping- and that ugly exterior surely didn't get much attention from drivers passing through. The death at the hands of the nearby Shoprite was likely a mercy killing.

    If the store had survived, it still wouldn't have done well. The nearby Wegmans is a beast! And that strip mall seems to have had an A&P Centennial that's now a Staples- AND just a little ways north is another former A&P Centennial that's now a Foodtown. I can imagine one having been a replacement for the other.

  19. When I was growing up, I lived about a half hour south of this location. A nearby family we knew would travel all the way to this store because they always offered triple coupons.

  20. According to this article, closing date was Feb 26, 1994.