Center court during Christmas 2006
|Location||Toms River, New Jersey, United States|
|Opening date||July 1976|
|Management||Simon Property Group|
|No. of stores and services||105|
|No. of anchor tenants||3 (formerly 4)|
|Total retail floor area||898,525 sq ft (83,475.7 m2)|
|No. of floors||1|
|Public transit access||NJ Transit bus: 67|
The Ocean County Mall is a super-regional mall, opened in July 1976 by Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation, located in Toms River, New Jersey on Hooper Avenue (County Route 549). The mall is accessible from Exit 82 of the Garden State Parkway via Route 37 East. The mall is managed by Simon Property Group. The mall has a gross leasable area of 898,525 sq ft (83,475.7 m2).
The mall is anchored by Boscov's, JCPenney, and Macy's. There is also a vacant space from Sears that plans to be redeveloped. It also contains several eateries, and a small food court. The Ocean County Mall is the only enclosed mall in Ocean County. It is a popular destination for tourists in the Toms River area during the summer season.
In the 1970s, the Toms River area, although growing quickly, was still relatively rural. The closest malls were the Monmouth Mall in Eatontown, and the Shore Mall in Egg Harbor. With the growing need for an enclosed mall, the mall was originally planned to be at the intersection of Route 37 and the Garden State Parkway. However, the mall opened in July 1976 at its current location at Hooper Avenue and Bay Avenue, with 3 anchors (Sears, JCPenney and Bamberger's, now Macy's) and a cinema (General Cinema).
In 1988, a small expansion was built which included a Stern's. When the chain went out of business, it was turned into Boscov's. Around the same time, the General Cinema quietly closed down due to competition from the AMC-Loews across the street at Seacourt Pavilion. The Cinema's main mall entrance near Applebee's was sealed off for years, while the small side hallway near Sears remained locked and dark.
In 2003, the mall received a complete renovation, which added new signage, flooring, lighting, seating areas, and lighting in the parking lot. The renovation was partially sponsored by the Deborah Heart and Lung Center, which donated seating & lounge areas, in part to encourage mall walking. To accommodate, there is a stretch of discolored tile around the perimeter of the mall with numbers engraved marking walking distance.
On January 4, 2018 it was announced that the Sears would be closing in early April of that year as part of a plan to close 103 stores nationwide.
Sears closed on April 8, 2018. Simon plans on redevelop the space to include more retail, restaurants, and fitness by 2020. Its one of the five malls owned by Simon that had Sears closed planned to be redeveloped.