The push to redevelop the flagging Moorestown Mall property has attracted a new apartment complex, the largest ambulatory center for Cooper University Health Care and now a liquor and wine store.

Jit Renjen of Edison has applied to the Planning Board to turn the now-closed, 22,612-square-foot Sears Auto Center on the property into a Buy-Rite Wine & Liquor Store.

Board members will hear testimony and consider Renjen's plan at a meeting on October 27 at 7 p.m. He seeks approval for a change of use and preliminary- and final-site plan approval for the property, which is in the Moorestown Mall Redevelopment Area. The Buy-Rite application is the lone agenda item for the special meeting.

The Sears Auto Center closed in 2020. The building, which was constructed about 50 years ago according to documents filed with the application, is owned by 73 Realco LLC of Monmouth Junction.

Over the last few years, the mall has lost anchor stores and other tenants and its owner, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), has sought ways to reinvent it as a successful commercial property.

In February, the Planning Board approved plans for a 375-apartment and parking garage complex on part of the parking lot near the Boscov's department store.

The board in February also approved plans for Cooper's largest ambulatory center in the former Sears store in the mall. The health care company expects to have 200 employees working on three floors.

A letter from the Planning Board engineer who reviewed the liquor store plans for the former Sears Auto Center says the pavement near the building needs to be replaced.

"Upon a site visit, it was determined that the pavement for the main drive aisle and drive aisle nearest the trash enclosure is in poor and deteriorated condition and should be repaired and/or milled and overlaid," recommended Christopher J. Noll of Environmental Resolutions Inc. of Mount Laurel.

The board's planners, Michelle and Scott Taylor of Taylor Design Group Inc. of Mount Laurel, noted in their review letter that the mall's Redevelopment Plan requires bicycle parking for commercial developments. The planners said the applicant should add bicycle parking or seek a waiver.

A proposal for blue and yellow stripes on the building would not complement "warm tones" for building faces, which is recommended, they wrote. The applicant should testify in support of its blue and yellow stripes, they wrote.

"Several existing trees are being preserved in the existing parking lot islands," the planners stated. "The health of these trees should be evaluated by an arborist with recommendations provided for any corrective measures needed or removal and replacement."


The vacant Sears Automotive Center at Moorestown Mall.