Q uakerbridge mall in Lawrenceville recently completed a large scale renovation that began in February 2012. There are now 40 new stores in the mall, and the space has a newer look.

Jessica Picard-Cronce, second year Nursing major at Mercer said, “The mall is good, but it’s missing some stores.”

The reason why some of the stores are no longer at the mall seems to be related to the cost of renovation. Prior to the construction’s start, every store that was already located in the mall received a note explaining that they had to pay for construction in order to stay in the mall.

According to an employee who worked at the mall prior to the construction and is still employed there now, though by a new store: “Some stores, such as Charlotte Russe and Delia’s, couldn’t pay for it, which meant they had to leave. Luckily the managers got transferred to different malls, but the associates got laid off.” The employee asked to remain anonymous for fear that discussing the changes at the mall might cost her her job.

“During the construction,” the source continued, “It was an inconvenience because of all the chemicals which we had to breathe in while moving heavy items from location to location for our own store.”

But according to Mariann Kapp, Director of Marketing and Business Development at the mall, “that is not true.”

Kapp says that the construction was done to meet the demands of local consumers. She says: “In addition to the new high end stores, which was the most frequent requested tenancy, we have new tiling, landscaping, nursing room, food court, and a play area to just name a few.”

While walking around the mall with her four year old daughter, Carrie McGuire, a psychiatrist from Princeton, said, “I love what they did with the mall. Not only does it look much nicer, but they have created a safer atmosphere.”

Safety does seem to have been a central consideration in the revamp.

Another employee, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “one of the reasons for the renovation was to try and lean out shoplifting. It was a huge issue in the mall because we are near Trenton. The stores they have added so far are leaning it [shoplifting] out more and so the people who are gonna steal are the more expensive type.”

Bringing in higher end brands, such as the Apple store, may have be a good business decision, but it is also one that affects students facing leaner budgets.

“I think what they did to the mall has made it awesome,” said first year Communication major Tabbi Meszaros, “but the prices doesn’t feel very student friendly.”

While walking out of American Eagle with her friends, Lilly Williams, a third year Nursing major student from Rutgers University told the VOICE, “The interior looks better, but overall it’s too cliche. We already have enough malls filled with overpriced stores. Not only are we at a time where money is a big issue for everybody, but not all students have the ability to pay $300 for a new bag. It is far from reasonable.”

When asked what target group the mall had in mind, Kapp said, “The fashion forward shoppers. It was the consumers themselves who asked for the high end stores.”

“I like how the bigger stores are closer, and I don’t have to go all the way to Freehold Raceway mall to purchase a Macbook Air,” said Stan Sawyer, a fourth year chemistry major from Princeton University.

Waiting outside Sephora while his wife went shopping, Dylan Adler, an electrician from Hamilton said, “I have to admit that the mall looks a lot more friendly and welcoming.” Adler isn’t concerned about actual mall safety, but he is a little worried about his finances. “I no longer feel safe letting my wife come here alone,” he quipped.

 

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