Once a sprawling, 22,000-square-foot staple along Route 206, the space previously occupied by Cost Cutters remains a giant vacancy three years later in Hillsborough Plaza.
According to Gene Strupinsky, the township's business advocate, the large size of the location has been one of the biggest challenges to find a new tenant.
"It's a relatively large size in this down economy," he said.
There has been consideration to divide the space, Strupinsky said. Even one of the businesses in the strip mall was interested in leasing half of the space, he said.
However, dividing the store would be costly, Strupinsky said.
"Sub-dividing the unit into two units would be expensive," he said. "All the utilities, rest room facilities, etcetera, would have to be duplicated and the cost would be in six-figures. The only way this might happen is if two tenants could be lined up at the same time. The landlord won't do it for one tenant in the hopes of getting a second one."
According to Strupinsky, Ace Hardware nearly signed a lease before backing out and an Asian grocery seriously considered the space.
Panera Bread, Baja Fresh, Whole Foods, and of course, Trader Joe's were among the .
"It would have been great to get Trader Joe's, but it didn't fit their model," Strupinsky said. "A food store is still a possibility if it isn't sub-divided."
In addition to the large size of the space, the parking setup in the lot and congestion on Route 206 in the area are other challenges in filling the vacancy, Strupinsky said.
"While Hillsborough Plaza has a good deal of parking space, it is spread out and would require patrons to walk from the south end of the shopping center if a high demand retail entity were open there. In the winter, this could be a problem," Strupinsky said.
"Also with high customer volume, there is concern about traffic exiting onto Andria Avenue that would need to make a left turn onto Route 206 to go north."
Does the parking situation and traffic in the area deter you from shopping at the Hillsborough Plaza? Tell us in the comments.