Laurel Square Market closed ahead of opening
BRICK – A foreclosure notice is posted on the door of Corrado Market at Laurel Square Mall, halting the grocer’s move from North Jersey to Ocean County.
The notice, dated June 8, states that “the tenants of this rental space have been evicted and the lessor has been returned to full possession”.
A “business warrant of removal” was originally signed in April by state Superior Court Judge John M. Doran in Toms River. Following a hearing on May 17, the judge signed an order on June 8, denying Corrado’s request to suspend the warrant, according to documents posted on the door.
Michael De Marco, a North Haledon attorney representing Corrado’s, said the store is appealing the judge’s order.
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“The Corrados were fully committed to opening the store by July 1,” De Marco told What’s Going There. “He had made these commitments to the owner.”
“In the end, the negotiations failed,” added De Marco.
The coming of the Corrado market was long overdue. Mid-2019, Corrado’s Market announced that the third-generation family grocery chain will open its first store in Ocean County.
He signed a lease for about 30,000 square feet at the Laurel Square Mall on Route 70, part of a store vacated in 2015 by Pathmark. The specialty grocer, founded in 1950 and with locations in Clifton, Denville, Fairfield, North Arlington and Wayne, also purchased a liquor license.
But the 2020 coronavirus shutdown and its aftermath have caused delays in needed materials and equipment, including refrigeration boxes, shelves and computers for cash registers. Initial plans to open by October 2020 Came and went. Recently, an opening date was scheduled for July 4th.
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The store also ended up in court.
In September 2021, Laurel Square owner Brixmor filed a civil suit in Toms River State Superior Court against Corrado’s Family Affair of Brick LLC, alleging the store was in default of its lease. The landlord demanded $841,099 in back rent and other charges, according to court documents.
In April, both sides agreed to dismiss the lawsuit, according to court documents.
Corrado’s had undertaken improvements inside the store, from store mechanicals to grocery store aisles, De Marco said.
“The improvements that were made inside the store were significant,” said De Marco. “From our perspective, we were weeks away from opening.”
The Corrado Market lockdown could bring township residents who hoped a grocer would replace Pathmark back to square one.
Brick Mayor John Ducey said he was “very disappointed”.
“I know so many people at The Brick were looking forward to Corrado coming,” he said. “Hearing this news really puts a damper on the weekend.”
David P. Willis, an award-winning business writer, has covered business and consumer news at the Asbury Park Press for more than 20 years. He writes APP.com’s What’s Going There and Press on Your Side columns and can be reached at [email protected] Join his What’s Going There page on Facebook for updates.