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What Should Take Ace's Place in Caldwell?

Almost 17,000-square-feet of retail space sitting vacant in busy business district.

This week, Caldwells Patch introduces a new regular feature we're calling "Visions for Vacancies."

Each week, Patch will pick a vacant retail space in the Caldwells and let readers weigh in on what they would like to see fill that spot. Don't worry about zoning or budget restrictions—just dare to dream. Who would be your ideal tenant? What would fill a void in the business district? 

Let's kick off with the former location of which has stood vacant for five months since the retailer closed shop last August.

The 16,900-square-foot space at 684-690 Bloomfield Ave. can be leased through Jeffery Realty, based in North Plainfield. According to the commercial broker's website, the rent is $18.50 per square foot (annual) and the location has 93 parking spaces in a rear parking lot as well as on-street parking. 

When asked if there has been any interest in the space, a spokesperson for Jeffery Realty replied Tuesday, "None whatsover."

Yet, the community is abuzz with what it would like to see come to this spot located between and . After all, it is the former home of the beloved Sealfon's and J.M. Towne department stores.

Anthony Vagnoni February 01, 2012 at 01:50 PM
I know everyone wants Trader Joe's, and they're a nice specialty market that most likely wouldn't compete head to head with Foodtown. But the parking lot there is a tad small, and there's nowhere for the overflow to go. could be a nightmare. I think they should subdivide the space, put a Starbucks in (Passaic Ave. is just too far to go for a grande) and a nice little card/gift shop along the lines of what Cohen's used to offer in the space that's now Rustillo's. Neither needs a huge amount of parking, nor would either conflict that much with existing Caldwell businesses.
Catherine Stieve February 01, 2012 at 02:20 PM
I have found these comments so fascinating and insightful. Unfortunately many of you are correct - Trader Joe's would hurt Jack's business and nobody wants that. And I am sure the proprietor of Rockin' Joe's would have something to say about a Starbucks. However, as I prepare to drive all the way to Verona to get my son some new folders for school, I realized what we really need is a Staples or Office Depot...
Cj February 01, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Not sure how many of you have been around these parts for years but a store like the old Grand Variety would be awesome. Kind of like JJ Newberrys years ago
rob February 01, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Dave and Busters has my vote! Kids play during the day, parents play at night. Best of both worlds.
SKIP PAUL February 01, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Trader Joe's is my vote!
Let's keep Caldwell safe February 01, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Bookstore, Staples, Dave and Buster(ish) type of place even if it has to be a BYOB for the adults at night.
Scott Williams February 01, 2012 at 07:59 PM
As Jimmy McMillan says, "The rent is too damn high!" http://youtu.be/x4o-TeMHys0
bbbnto February 01, 2012 at 08:12 PM
White Castle or Sonic Burger
Michael February 02, 2012 at 05:22 PM
All you people want to do is freaking eat. hey look I'm overweight just with the food places we have already. lets put something in that can actually make money and provide entertainment, especially for our displaced kids. All these kids know is go from couch to the movie theater seat, to the coffee shop seat, beyond that, an adult has to taxi them around all over the place to play some kind of organized sport or have a " play date". Remember days of Hobby Shops, Game Rooms, Bowling, Park Activities and just plain kids outside?
Frank M. February 03, 2012 at 12:10 PM
How about breaking it down sort of business condos a mini mall a little bit of everything
Bonnie February 10, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I definately think that we could use a craft or hobby store in town. Or how about both you could divde the space in half and have a craft store that would attract the ladies and kids and the other half could be a hobby store that would attract the men! This would be an idle place for both my husband and I to shop at frequently!
Teresa Akersten (Editor) February 10, 2012 at 04:21 PM
New "Visions for Vacancies" posted this morning. What should go here?http://caldwells.patch.com/articles/little-shop-of-possibilities
LB February 10, 2012 at 08:42 PM
A BIG vote for Trader Joe's!! Perhaps Jeffery Reality can reach out to them and suggest they take a look at the space.
Richard William Haynes February 11, 2012 at 02:31 PM
What this area sorely needs is either a bookstore (remember them?, there were 3 when I moved here 22 years ago), a Mom & Pop video store ( blockbusters came along and put them all out of business, now blockbusters is gone leaving a hole for those who want a movie to rent THAT night, not wait 3 days), and a stationary store, not unlike a Staples, where locally can you buy office supplies? Personally I would love to see an Art Supply store ( more rare than Banks who give interest <G>), closest one is in West Orange. Can they do enough business to pay the rent? Have you ever not waited on line at Jerry's? Besides, no matter what moves in their, a supplimental online store would be a must since the parking was built for a much lower population.
LookinOutLady February 11, 2012 at 03:40 PM
We'd still wind up driving them there. It's true....no one walks or just plays in their yard or local park. Thank the computer age.
Uncle Albert February 22, 2012 at 05:36 PM
My vote is for a "indoor flea market mall". Sell space (Sq. footage) to sellers of various & different goods/ items. I could rent a small space and sell old/rare books and photos. Someone could rent a larger space and sell household items. Someone else could rent space and have a food/drinks court. Someone can sell electronics in their space, while someone else would sell office type supplies.....and so on, and so on. The rent would be determined by the amount of space they require for what they want to sell in that space. So the public could enter and walk down isles and see what each individual is selling Isle after Isle. At closing, just lock up your space (sectioned off & secured with a gate for each selling area) . Security cameras and a tape recording system would run 24/7. The building is already alarmed. Picture a indoor flea market. I have a load of old photos of my mother-in-law I would love to part with !!!!
John Loconsolo February 22, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Now that it is officially legal to homebrew beer in NJ. How about a homebrewer supply store that sells equipment, ingredients and other beer and wine-making items like the store Northern Brewer in Minnesota www.northernbrewer.com.
LookinOutLady February 22, 2012 at 09:18 PM
I was thinking the same...an indoor flea market where you could rent a spot and sell your wares? There used to be one years ago in Pine Brook that was around for ages until industry took over, plus, I believe, a fire. There is nothing like that around till the Sussex area and then Pa. or Englishtown. Could be a fun place to go and locals could sell things without paying a fortune for rental space.
LookinOutLady February 22, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Anyone want to get together to plan a flea market?
Kris February 28, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Oh my, Trader Joes, a specialty market, anything to maybe make Jacks want to spruce up the place. Looks like something from Deliverence. Ha the same goes for Franco's!!! Dusty old places. Yuck.
DS February 29, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Definitely a book store. Second choice-caft/hobby store. Third choice-Trader Joe's.
Lisa March 01, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Definitely Trader Joes!!!
Joe S March 04, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Not much of a bargain, talk to who used to be/work in Ace and they'll tell you that is what eventually crushed the business. Add in other things such as paying your employees, utils and you'll understand why there are/will be even more empty places in Caldwell.
Christine March 04, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Trader Joes!!!
peggy March 29, 2012 at 11:02 AM
I would like to see a store like Grand Variety too !!!! They had everything !!! Trader Joe's is another good idea !!
E.D. March 29, 2012 at 03:12 PM
TRADER JOE'S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
anthony j. popola March 30, 2012 at 06:48 PM
at 26 grand a month,good luck ....in my 25 years living here a lot of these properties have changed hands...newer landlords-hence the high rents
Apu Nahasapeemapetilon March 30, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Mmmm, rat burgers.
Tammy April 27, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Make this the new home for Caldwell Library and The Libray Loft. Outdoor seating in the back, Free WiFi, a Rockin' Joes II Barrista, space for small seasonal concerts or plays. This would be a great place for our kids to enjoy, do their homework, meet friends, and all to enjoy during lunchtime, weekends, with the small children, etc. A spot for creative thinkers and planners! Great spot for all.
Danelectro59 April 27, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Kris, you obviously don't remember what Foodtown looked like when Hy owned it. It looked like a perpetual construction zone. And remember the horrible yellow vinyl siding across the front? Jack spent almost $500,000 "sprucing it up" when he bought it.

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