Property

Former K-Mart Property in Lawnside Sold For $6.6 Million

Unused for almost 10 years, the former K-Mart Property in Lawnside NJ sold last month for $6.6 Million dollars.

The news of the sale comes from an Equity Retail Brokers press release, who represented the seller. The buyer is MCG Lawnside Owner LLC.

The press release does not give much details beyond that the property was sold. It doesn’t even list the sale price.

The press release also doesn’t state what the plans are for the property, but we’ve can tell you what the buyer is most associated with.

42Freeway Puts On Their Detective Hat

It’s been about 5 weeks since the sale closed, so the records have been filed with the county, which is where we determined the sale price.

$6.6 Million. Easy enough.

Comparing property information on the sales document to the county tax maps, we learn that the attached leftmost stores are NOT part of the sale. (Oriental restaurant and Re-Store).

Even though the buildings are attached they are separate properties.

The former K-mart building and property in Lawnside NJ was sold for $6.6 million

The large parking lot in front of the former K-Mart is also included in the tax lot, but not the Church’s Fried Chicken property.

The buyer is listed as MCG Lawnside Owner LLC.

A common practice in these types of transactions is for the parent company to create a local LLC in the State they are purchasing the property. It becomes a separate entity but still controlled by the larger company.

In this case that LLC’s the registered agent of Charlotte, North Carolina.

The address is the same as Madison Capital Group… and explains the “MCG” in the New Jersey based LLC>

Madison Capital Group maintain a lovely Corporate website.

They do have a division which develops multi-family properties, but a K-mart building is not really suited to that.

And then we see they are also in the self-storage business.

The “self storage” link from Madison Capital Group’s website takes us to GOStoreIt.com

Go Store It is a large chain of storage facilities… 86 to be exact, and they have a variety of sizes and styles.

To be very clear the Lawnside press release doesn’t state that the expected for the former K-Mart is storage.

And I very openly say I shy away from rumors.

But it is clear that the company which just paid $6.6 million for the Lawnside K-Mart has a very large self-storage business. Literally the only commercial products listed on their website, are storage related.

It wouldn’t be a crazy idea as over in Mantua Township, their former K-Mart has been redeveloped into a storage facility!

Former K-Mart in Mantua New Jersey is now a storage facility (presented for comparison sake)

I know locals were looking for an exciting outcome for their former K-Mart, especially after seeing what Brixmor did with the Glassboro K-Mart, adding a LIDL, Big Lots and Ross!

But the storage industry seems to be going crazy these last few years with explosive growth. It has everyone asking “who are all these people that have so much stuff?!”

I may do a special report on Storage facilities soon!

Almost directly across the street is an existing Extra Space Storage.

And close by in Somerdale, officials have already approved a LARGE storage facility near the Walmart.

At the end of 2021, a 3-story 112,000 sq ft facility was approved in the Cooper Towne Center development (Walmart).

Specifically the Somerdale storage facility will be located on Evesham Road in the small corner lot at the entrance to the Cooper Towne shopping center (traffic light intersection)

Measured in a straight line, the two locations are only 1.5 miles apart.

We’ll report more as we learn more.

A large storage facility was approved 1.5 miles away in Somerdale NJ

The K-Mart Store That Identified as a Sears

Absolutely the best way to describe the property was as a K-Mart.

But interestingly enough.. this building just couldn’t make up its mind of what it wanted to be!

It absolutely closed as a K-mart. 9 or 10 years ago. But that was only for a few years… the SECOND TIME it was a K-mart!

Well let’s go back a few more years.

I don’t know the exact date but in the late 90s K-mart took over the property and it operated as K-Mart for maybe 20 years.

In 2005 the Sears and K-Mart brands were both feeling sales pressure from Walmart and fledgling internet retailers such as Amazon… merged to form one company. The hope was the two weakened competitors would be stronger as one.

As the merged companies tried to find the right recipe to keep sales rolling in, the Lawnside K-Mart was converted to a Sears Essentials store just a few years later.

This was seen as a good sign for the store, as Sears had a perceived higher value in retail chains… and Sears also had signature brands such as Craftsman and large appliance sales.

Simply the thought was by converting the K-Mart to a Sears Essentials store, they would increase sales and profits.

The Lawnside “K-Mart” for a short time was a Sears Essentials store, before going back to K-Mart
(Image used with permission. Copyright Flickr Photographer John)

Well that only lasted a few years because in 2011 the parent corporation decided to reverse that decision, and convert the Lawnside store BACK to a K-Mart!

Remember that it was only 6 years prior that the two companies merged, so in that short amount of years they formulated the Sears Essentials store concept, chose Lawnside to convert over and implemented it, ran it a few years as a Sears Essentials store.. and then switched it all back again.

In just six years. For a company that wasn’t making any money, seems a bit foolhardy. But I digress.

Rickel Home Centers

“Rickel Helps… you do it better… Do it better with Rickels!”

Yes I am old enough to remember Rickels.

And Channel, and Mr Good Buys, and Hechinger.

But Rickel was the biggest and oldest national hardware store.

And they were the first tenant of the Lawnside K-Mart property.

From my memory I don’t think Rickel had the entire K-Mart building, and if you look at the building on Google satellite view you’ll see the rough is was split 1/3 on the left, 2/3 on the right.

Rickel was a large store but definitely mot a “Warehouse” store like Home Depot or Lowe’s.

But it was a one-stop large hardware store which got many an unapproving stare from the local mom and pop hardware stores.

For over 3 decades Rickel was the leading hardware, plumbing, heating and electrical retailer in our region. Everyone shopped there and then were invicible.

Still image from a 1980 Rickel TV Commercial, with their famous slogan. YouTube

And in 1992 it all changed.

Home Depot opened their first South Jersey store right in Lawnside. The next set of buildings in the parking lot connected complex.

A November 1992 Courier Post article chronical the impending turf war. The 90s kids will get the reference made by the Courier “It’s hammer time for The Home Depot in Lawnside”

Today Home Depot has over 2,300 stores.

Lawnside NJ was number 194.

This really was ground-zero in the home improvement wars, and Home Depot brought the heavy artilllery.

Rickel was 60,000 sq ft. Home Depot almost 120,000. More products, more variety.

Rickel fought back with a store remodel. Brighter lighting, wider aisles, and more product.

That was 1992. Five years later the entire Rickel chain was gone.

Home Depot crushed them and everyone else.

By the way… after witnessing first hand how Home Depot crushed the 3 decade leading home center store, ask me how much Home Depot stock I purchased along this crazy growth ride… ZERO!

But I digress.

And Before That… Hollywood!

And to close out this last step down memory lane, before Rickel there was…

an empty field.

Well there were a few houses along the White Horse Pike, and it seemed like a checkered road pattern was on the property.. but this “K-Mart” portion we are talking about was simply a field.

But next door where Home Depot is today was originally drive-in movie theater, which operated through much of the 60s.

The screen was in far right corner of the property along Atlantic Ave with the cars setup up in semi-circle rows…looking like a baseball field.

A famous remnant of that drive-in movie theater stood in place until 2014.

An iconic giant White Horse silhouette sign sat atop a many stories tall tower, initially installed in the early 60s as promotion to draw people to the drive-in theater.

The famous White Horse sign which used to be on the extended Lawnside Shopping Center.
(Image used with permission. Copyright Flickr photographer John)

The base of the tower is still there in the shopping center parking lot, located behind the Wendy’s… well actually behind the dumpster for the Wendy’s.

Today the two sections of the Lawnside Shopping centers have different owners, but looking at historic aerial images it appears that the two segments were developed around the same time.

Looking at historic images, in 1965 the drive-in theatre and rows of parking can be seen at the current Home Depot section, and 5 years later all of the core shopping center buildings were in place.

Bonus question that you can comment on Facebook.. what was the FIRST store which occupied the Home Depot building?!

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