Kmart’s vanishing act continues

One closing in New Jersey, another becoming social services hub

1550 St. Georges Avenue and 605 Old Country Road (Google Maps)
1550 St. Georges Avenue and 605 Old Country Road (Google Maps)

And then there were three.

A Kmart at 1550 St. Georges Avenue in Avenel, New Jersey, is set to close on April 17, reported. That will leave only one Kmart in the state and just three in the entire country.

The Middlesex County closure follows the shuttering of a Kmart in Kearny last year, according to the website. New Jersey’s lone remaining store will be in Bergen County’s Westwood; the once mighty retailer’s other U.S. locations are in Miami and Bridgehampton, Long Island.

Sears Holding Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2018, 13 years after Sears and Kmart joined forces. Transformco purchased the assets one year later and began systematically closing underperforming stores.

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While Kmarts are vanishing, the buildings they occupied are being repurposed. One in Riverhead, Long Island, owned by the Feil Organization will soon be used as office space for the Suffolk County Department of Social Services, Newsday reported.

The department is set to move next spring to 605 Old Country Road, where the retailer vacated 108,000 square feet in 2018. The department will occupy about 39,000 square feet, leaving Feil the task of finding office, retail or medical tenants to fill the rest, according to Newsday.

The building that hosted the first Kmart ever on Long Island is also being given new life. Elias Properties Management is leading the reported redevelopment of of 1000 Montauk Highway in West Babylon, where Kmart opened in 1990. Changes will include a reduction of the building’s footprint and a redivision of space to allow for up to five tenants, potentially including retail, offices and restaurants.

[] — Holden Walter-Warner