Mall entrance, seen from the 2007 Lifestyle Center addition
|Location||Freehold, New Jersey, United States|
|Opening date||August 1, 1990|
|No. of stores and services||237 (As of 2019)|
|No. of anchor tenants||6|
|Total retail floor area||1,669,000 square feet (155,055 m2)|
|No. of floors||2 (3 in Macy's and Nordstrom)|
|Public transit access||NJ Transit bus: 67, 836, 838|
Freehold Raceway Mall is a super-regional mall in Freehold, New Jersey, United States. The mall's anchor stores are JCPenney, Lord & Taylor, Macy's, Nordstrom, Primark, and Sears. The mall is owned and managed by The Macerich Company, having purchased the mall from developer Wilmorite in 2005, and has 1,669,000 square feet (155,055 m2) of gross leasable area, making it the second largest shopping mall in New Jersey. An outdoor lifestyle addition, begun in January 2007, added 100,000 square feet (10,000 m2) of additional retail space. On November 23, 2011, the mall was ranked in a Weather Channel news article titled "The Most Congested Malls for Black Friday". The Freehold Raceway Mall ranked third in the nation.
Construction on Freehold Raceway Mall commenced in 1987, across the street from the Freehold Raceway on land used for stables. The stables still exist, connected by a small pedestrian/horsecart bridge over Route 9, but they can only be accessed via mall entrance road. In preparation for the mall's opening, the Freehold Circle was eliminated and rebuilt into an at-grade intersection with traffic lights and jughandles. A traffic light and jughandle for the mall entrance road from Route 9 was also constructed due south of the intersection of U.S. Route 9 and Business Route 33.
The mall officially opened on August 1, 1990; the public opening was preceded by a private "preview" gala and fundraiser for CentraState Medical Center which included papier-mâché racehorse centerpieces and a fabric replica of the food court's carousel, which had not yet arrived from Italy. The mall originally had two anchors: Sears and Lord & Taylor with construction already underway on JCPenney (originally planned to be Hahne's, but the company was merged into Lord & Taylor), which later opened in 1991 as well as Nordstrom, which later opened in 1992. A fifth anchor, Macy's, was opened on October 7, 1998.
The mall was not initially successful. Vacancies were imminent, and many of the spaces were filled with non-traditional mall tenants, such as municipal services. Local photography clubs displayed their photos on the mall's empty walls, while other areas sported photos of the raceway and the fire that occurred in 1984. The only evidence of the mall from Route 9 was the monument sign approaching the mall entrance, as the satellite big box stores were not yet built. Customers could also easily travel to the nearby Monmouth Mall, Seaview Square Mall, Brunswick Square Mall, or the Manalapan Mall. Once Nordstrom opened, Freehold Raceway Mall now had a store that was sure to be a success due to the fact there was not another Nordstrom around for 30 miles (48 km). The crowds eventually came, the vacancy rate at the mall significantly dropped, and led to the downfall of Manalapan Mall closing in 1999 and Seaview Square Mall, which redeveloped into a power center.
The Freehold Raceway Mall was expanded in 2007, and construction began in January. The expansion was built in the space between JCPenney and Sears/Primark in the upper floor parking lot. The addition included a strip of outdoor stores along the J.C. Penney side of the mall, occupied by 13 to 15 stores, two restaurants, a promenade, an area for community events and a valet parking station.
In April 2007, the mall's first renovation project was underway. The renovation replaced the flooring, changing the brown and green tile to a beige stone tile, it replaced the green paint on the ceilings and ironwork with a more beige/earthtone, the brass rails were replaced in favor of wooden rails, new lighting under the skylights and along/under the columns was added, the globe lighting along the skylights, pillars and ironwork was replaced, a new escalator next to Sears was added, soft, carpeted seating areas were added and the large center court fountain was replaced with a smaller fountain, and a soft seating area. The completed outdoor expansion opened for the general public on November 9, 2007 at 10:00 am and the majority of the renovation was completed by the 2007 holiday season. The new spherical sculpture fountain and the replacement of the brass rails with wooden rails brought about an end to the renovations in February 2008.
New additions include single- and two-story retail spaces, and two new parking lots which were built on site to replace those that were lost. They are located along the Raceway Mall Drive entrance and on the opposite side of the ring road next to Nordstrom.
Since July 16, 2016, Primark leases the second floor of the Sears building.