The days of the big department stores are over, sadly. There are some that are hanging on tight, others having closed up shop.

Lord + Taylor at Freehold Raceway Mall used to be a high-end shopping destination. Now, it sits empty and it's been vacant for quite some time.

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In August 2020, The company and its parent Le Tote Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announced the closure of three New Jersey stores and plans to find a buyer.

Norstrom at Freehold Raceway Mall had closed just a few months earlier, leaving two massive openings at the mall right in the middle of the COVID pandemic.

One major need for the area, in my opinion, has been a large-scale entertainment venue. Think along the lines of Dave & Busters.

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I wasn't the only one who thought Freehold Raceway Mall would be a perfect spot for something like this.

Something of this nature was very close to being a reality at the former location of Sears until the Township of Freehold got involved. That's where things get messy.

So, Dave & Busters is not coming to the mall anytime soon to the best of my knowledge but what is being talked about for the former site of Lord + Taylor sounds very fun.

What is replacing Lord & Taylor at Freehold Raceway Mall?

What's interesting is that the new tenant wouldn't really be new at all. Instead, this retailer is looking to take its shopping experience and match it with activities for all ages.

Have you ever heard of Dick's House of Sport?

DICK'S House of Sport is an approximately 100,000+ square foot store that provides customers with the products they've come to know along with incredible in-store experiences including a climbing wall multiple golf bays with TrackManTM simulators, and multi-sport cages that can be used for baseball, softball, lacrosse, and soccer.

Dick's House of Sport
Dick's House of Sport
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Dick's House of Sport
Dick's House of Sport
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Dick's House of Sport
Dick's House of Sport
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Dick's House of Sport
Dick's House of Sport
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Dick's House of Sport
Dick's House of Sport
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Not only do customers come for recreation, but it gives any shopper the ability to test sporting goods on actual scenarios right in-store.

Some locations have a field attached to the store that can be used for open play, clinics, league space, or as an ice rink in the winter.

According to APP, the proposed Dick's House of Sport at Freehold Raceway Mall is rumored to include a field.

The Freehold Township Board is expected to review this application on November 30.

Here's what Dick's is proposing.

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Currently, these mega-centers are operating in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virgina.

If approved, this would be the first Dick's House of Sport in New Jersey.

STORES WE WANT AT FREEHOLD RACEWAY MALL

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Gallery Credit: Keri Wiginton